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Does Smoking Increase the Chances of Staph Infection Following Bilateral Mastectomy?

Had a bilateral mastectomy 4/10/12 with expanders placed at the same time. Developed a severe staph infection in both breasts requiring 4 weeks of antibiotics. Left breast responded, but right breast did not. Had the right expander removed 6/25/12. Now I have a severe staph infection in left breast. PS says it is due to my smoking. I have had 8 surgeries (neck, hip, hernia, gastric bypass, etc) over the past 12 years and have NEVER had a staph infection. Is this due to the smoking or bad luck?

Doctor Answers (3)

Does Smoking Increase the Chances of Staph Infection Following Bilateral Mastectomy?


Complication rates in "flap" and "lift" surgery is greatly increased in smokers. This includes operations where a large area of skin is lifted off the underlying tissues--face lift, tummy tuck, breast lift, mastectomy.  The operation itself eliminated a lot of blood supply to the lifted skin. The nicotine further decreases blood supply by another mechanism, dramatically increasing wound healing complications. 

The other surgeries you have had would not have carried the same risks of inadequate blood supply. I think that smoking was the primary risk factor here. Best wishes . 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Smoking after Surgery


In most cases there is no direct correlation between staph infection and smoking, but there is a correlation between wound healing and smoking. Usually the wound healing is decreased by 50%, therefore it increases the chances of an open wound. once an open wound occurs then chances of a staph infection is dramatically increased.

John S. Poser, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 5 reviews


Smoking does not let your body heal at a normal rate. Having a foreign object and smoking is not a good combination. Your risks are higher then non smokers.

Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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