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How Will Smoking Affect Fat Transfer Results?

I am getting Fat transferred to my face around my mouth/cheek areas because I have a hollow look and lots of creases.

I quit smoking 1 week ago (smoked 4 to 5-or less/day) surgery tomorrow but broke down and had 1/2 cig. Am I in trouble?

Doctor Answers (6)

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How will smoking affect Fat transfer results?


Ultimately, the "take" of any graft, be it a skin graft or fat graft ,depends on the delivery of oxygen to the tissues.

Acutely, smoking prevents oxygen delivery by shrinking the small blood vessels that deliver blood flow to the tissues while the patient is smoking. The effect of smoked nicotine is much more marked than, say, chew tobacco, because the dose of nicotine delivered is much higher as it is directly delivered from the lungs to the blood stream.

Chronically, smoking damages the blood vessels by hardening the vessels and shrinking them permanently. There is decreased blood flow to the tissues and that is why patients who chronically smoke have paler grayish skin.

Because of the stem cells that are present in fat grafts, new blood vessels can be created that actually make the skin younger. If you would like to read more about this, read the link below.

Web reference:

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Fat Transfer


Dear Nutsforlooks

Smoking delays the healing in all surgeries. The changes in the tissues/vessels is long lasting. Congratulations on stopping smoking- almost- and certainly this will help you with the healing process. The Facial tissue has a good supply of blood and it is unlikely that 1/2 a cigarette will make the survival of the fat transfer worse.

With Warm Regards,

Trevor M Born MD

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Smoking does decrease the survival of fat graft transfer (lipoinjection)


Smoking, yes any smoking, in the 4 weeks prior to surgery increases the risk of failure of graft take (survival). You must be willing to accept the risk. Put a percentage on this is impossible.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Smoking and healing


Smoking shrinks the capillaries, or end blood vessels which feed the skin and other organs. Even one cigarette will have this effect and theoretically you might have slightly less of the fat transfer survive, but it would be difficult to measure.

"It is what it is and for the particular operation you are about to undergo, my guess is that the affect of the smoking would be minimal.

Good luck.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Fat Transfer


The technique is a wonderful way to rejuvenate the face. Though I am not aware of any specific medical studies that have evaluated fat grafting success and smoking, we do know smoking does impair circulation and circulation is the key to fat grafts surviving after they have been transplanted.

Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Fat Transfer and Smoking


Hi Nuts,

The success of your fat transfer procedure depends upon the "take" of the grafted fat which is dependent upon the establishment of blood supply to the newly placed fat.

Smoking, among other things, effects the oxygenation of the blood, and adversely affects the percentage of fat that "takes". You want to maximize the chances for your fat grafts to live. Therefore it is in your own best interest not to smoke anymore while the fat is establishing new blood supply.

The 1/2 cigarette that you had probably won't make a difference, but don't smoke anymore to avoid "trouble".

It would be an ideal time for you to consider giving up smoking for good.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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