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Will Smoking Marijuana Affect Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Will smoking marijuana a week before surgery affect being put under? I suffer from chronic headaches and I'm not a normal full time user of marijuana, but a week ago I did because I had such bad pain. I heard it can affect my surgery is this true? I plan to ask my doctor

Doctor Answers (5)

Marijuana and surgery

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Here are the major points of smoking Tobacco or Marijuana before or after surgery:
1. There is nicotine in tobacco, but not in marijuana. However, most joints are rolled with marijuana and tobacco combination. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor that decreases blood flow to the tissues. This is the major problems that can cause a very bad outcome in some surgeries. In a breast augmentation, there is not a lot of risk as there are not a lot of incisions which decrease blood flow to the tissues. In a breast lift or tummy tuck, on the other hand, there is much longer and more involved incisions. The decrease in blood flow to the tissues in combination with the decrease in blood flow from the nicotine can cause tissue to die. This can cause part of the breast or nipple, or in the case of a tummy tuck, part of the belly tissue to die, resulting in a very bad outcome. Marijuana without tobacco does not cause this problem, or marijuana in an edible fashion.
2. There is carbon monoxide in both tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke. Carbon monoxide decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin in the blood. This is different from the vasoconstrictor effect, but has the same result of having the risk of tissue death in conjunction with surgeries that decrease the blood flow to tissues such as breast lifts and tummy tucks, as opposed to an augmentation alone that does not decrease blood flow to as great of an extent. Again, edible forms of marijuana do not have smoke, and thus carbon monoxide poisoning.
3. Coughing. Both tobacco and marijuana smoke disrupt the lining of the lungs and bronchi and can lead to coughing episodes. Coughing episodes can lead to internal bleeding after surgery that can lead to hematomas and complications, and again a bad outcome. Again, edible forms of marijuana does not have this effect.
4. Anesthesia effects. Marijuana can have drug interactions with certain anesthetic drugs. Thus it is important to tell your anesthesiologist about your marijuana use.
In conclusion, Smoking, whether it be tobacco or marijuana, is detrimental to your surgery outcome. Edible marijuana is much less so, but be honest about your use with your surgeon and anesthesiologist so that you can have the best outcome.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD


Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Smoking Marijuana decreases the oxygen supply to your healing tissues

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Any type of smoking will diminish the oxygen supply to your healing tissues. Smoking is especially important to avoid before any surgery that involves the creation of flaps (complex segments of tissue with their own blood supplies), such as face lifts and tummy tucks.

If you were about to undergo upper eyelid blepharoplasties, routine breast augmentation, or liposuction, you would probably get away with smoking and yet still have a good result. However, I would probably cancel your tummy tuck surgery unless you are willing to undertake a significantly higher rate of complications.

Michael C. Pickart, MD
Ventura Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

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Smoking can have adverse effect on tummy tuck healing

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Smoking tobacco or marijuana can adversely affect wound healing in any type of plastic surgery, especially a tummy tuck. Smoking causes decreased blood flow to the skin and soft tissues and can lead to a higher incidence of infection, poor scarring and wound healing problems (wound could partially open-dehiscence). It is generally recommended to stop all tobacco products and smoking for at least two to eight weeks before and after elective plastic surgery procedures.

Please discuss this issue in detail with your plastic surgeon prior to scheduling any elective cosmetic procedure.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
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Smoking marijuana while having plastic or cosmetic surgery (tummy tuck)

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Any consumption of combustible products can produce carbonaceous byproducts that interfere with the lungs ability to oxygenate the blood. The effecs of smoking tobacco have been well documented and aggravated by the combination of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia that are all present. Marijuana use may not be as severe as tobacco use but it does interfere with healing nonetheless. I am not aware of the state regulations in Nevada but perhaps you could obtain a prescription pill form of THC, the reported active incredient in marijuana.

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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.