Ask a doctor

Does Smoking Slow Down the Healing Process in Breast Reduction Surgery?

Does Smoking Slow Down the Healing Process in Breast Reduction Surgery?

Doctor Answers (12)

Smoking and Breast Reduction Surgery


Yes, smoking will affect the healing process after breast reduction surgery. I require that all of my surgical patients stop smoking at least one month before surgery. Ideally, they should not start smoking again at all but especially not sooner than 4 weeks after surgery. Smoking, among other things, impedes the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the body tissues. Without oxygen the tissues cannot repair themselves at the rate they normally do which can lead to increased recovery time, more apparent scarring and other adverse complications. Be sure to advise your surgeon about your smoking habit and follow his or her advice on smoking restrictions.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Does Smoking Slow Down the Healing Process in Breast Reduction Surgery


Yes, absolutely. Smoking affects the blood flow to the tissue. Less blood supply means less healing. Most recommend at least 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after to quit smoking to maximize healing. The longer you have smoked the less effective quitting will be.

Kurtis Martin, MD
Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Smoking and Breast Reduction Surgery: A Bad Combination



In addition to its adverse effects on general health, smoking tobacco increases the chance’s of a plastic surgery patient having complications and can negatively affect her results and that includes Breast Reduction Surgery.

Dr. Nichter at the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery would like to advise prospective patients of the dangers of smoking as they relate to plastic surgery.

A good plastic surgery result relies on good blood flow. The nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide in the blood of smokers inhibits their blood’s ability to deliver sufficient oxygen to their healing tissues. Thus, patients who smoke are at greater risk of complications and poor wound healing.

A long history of medical studies have shown revealed the risks patients take when they smoke. A 1984 study, which followed 1,100 face lift patients, “found that a smoker was 12.46 times more likely to suffer skin loss than a patient who did not smoke.”

A more recent study in 2003 reviewed 132 abdominoplasty patients. The study “showed wound healing problems in 47.9% of smokers versus 14.8% of non-smokers.”. These same risks would apply to Breast Surgery including Breast Reduction

Whether a plastic surgery candidate smokes or not is a big factor in whether a surgeon will perform surgery on that person or not. At the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery, patients will be asked about their smoking habits, if any, which will be factored into the doctor’s decisions in her/his case.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

You might also like...

Smoking can be disastrous in breast reduction surgery




Nicotine actually causes your blood vessels (arteries) to spasm. Arteries carry blood. Blood carries oxygen, antibodies, antibiotics, and all sorts of essential nutrients to help you heal. Deny your tissue of any of these...DISASTER!  A myriad of complications you don't want to even imagine!

Please stop smoking or don't have surgery. Simple as that.

Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Smoking and healing from surgery


Yes, smoking interferes with healing from any surgery. In addition to stopping before surgery, it is important to stay stopped at least for several months post-op to allow healing (and, of course, it is best if you stay stopped!) I have had a couple of patients who looked fine for the first few days after surgery and then when they started smoking, the healing stopped and they lost some tissue that had been healing normally. Do yourself a favor and stop smoking. Good luck.

Margaret Skiles, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Breast Reduction and Smoking?


Ideally, you should be free of any type of nicotine product  for at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to breast reduction.  This holds true for other plastic surgical procedures that involve flaps such as facelifting and tummy tuck surgery.
Nicotine behaves as a vasoconstrictor of blood vessels thereby decreasing blood flow to tissues ( that need to receive blood flow to heal after surgery).  A decrease in this blood flow may result in wound healing problems and/or tissue death.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 680 reviews

Smoking Causes Breast Reduction Healing Complications


There is no question that smoking can interfere with breast reduction healing and may even cause significant complications such as loss of the nipple and skin segments. For this reason, one should quit at least two weeks before before this type of elective breast surgery. If one can't make that committment then the surgery should be delayed until one can do so or not have the surgery at all.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Does Smoking Slow Down the Healing Process in Breast Reduction Surgery?


Cigarette smoke contains substances that reduce the circulation of blood in the skin.

This can have very harmful effects on healing, especially for those procedures that involve the kinds of sculpting and tissue movement that plastic surgeons often do: facelifts, breast lifts and abdominoplasties. In breast reduction, for example, the risk of death of the nipple-areolar complex is much higher in smokers.

I ask my patients who smoke (thankfully there are fewer and fewer) to stop smoking for at least 3 months before surgery. They must must not consume nicotine (colleagues: spelling alert!) from any source during that time, including patches and gum.

Patients who stop smoking well before surgery reduce their risk of tissue death, but I caution them that their risk will always be elevated compared to the person who has never smoked.

Good luck!

Eric Pugash, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Smoking is detrimental to healing after all surgery


Of course smoking will reduce tissue oxygenation and impead healing after all typs of surgery. In general though the risks after breast reduction seem to be lower than compared to so other procedures. All in all, best to quit.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Does Smoking Slow Down the Healing Process in Breast Reduction Surgery?


In our practice we ask that you stop smoking at least thirty days prior to surgery.  Smoking impedes oxygen flow throughout your body that could potentially slow down your healing process and cause secondary infections.

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