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What Are the Risks if I Stop Smoking for 3 Months Before Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift?

I have three beautiful children and love them dearly. I am really afraidI may die during surgery.I'm 38 years old. I have smoked for 20 years I know I have to stop smoking before surgery. I'm am 5'7 and weigh 174 pounds.

Doctor Answers 14

Risks of smoking before Tummy Tuck

I do not perform TT on smokers, in fact I make them quit smoking 1 month before. I have had 2 patients that lied and smoked up until surgery and developed large wounds after surgery. 1 month should be more than adequate to eliminate this risk. God luck!

Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Risks, smoking and tummy tucks

It is normal to be apprehensive before elective surgery.  If you are healthy and stop smoking 1 to 2 weeks prior to and 1 to 2 weeks after surgery, your risks would be quite low for a tummy tuck.  Make sure your plastic surgeon does your surgery in an accredited facility to lessen the chances of problems.  Also, the more weight you lose prior to surgery, the bett your results and lower your chances of complications.

Leonard T. Yu, MD
Maui Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

The longer the time between nicotine exposure and your surgery the better

Hi there-

I think the best way to maximize your safety and your happiness is to keep it simple- the longer you can go without any nicotine (gums and patches are just as bad for healing as a cigarette), the better your healing will be and the lower your risks of a complication.

My personal minimum os 3-4 weeks before surgery and 3-4 weeks after.

Even with these guidelines, it is important to know that your risks of complications are always going to be higher than the risks to a non-smoker.

What are the risks if I stop smoking for 3 months before tummy tuck and breast lift?

Hello! Thank you for your question! The issue with nicotine is that it also acts as a vasoconstrictor, clamping down of blood vessels. Blood supply is always of great concern during any surgical procedure, but especially in such a procedure as a mastopexy where the viability of the nipple-areolar complex is obviously important. Since the vascularity to the area is already tenuous since it will be raised by cutting around the area, maximizing blood flow to the tissue is critical.

Typically, we recommend at least 6 weeks of smoking cessation prior to and at least 6 weeks after any surgical procedure. The longer, the better. Nicotine always increases the risk for infection, nipple necrosis, poor scarring, and wound complications, as well as other health consequences including blood clots. The anesthesia risk is greater with general anesthesia as well as pulmonary issues/lung infections postoperatively. I would discuss this with your surgeon prior to your procedure. Quitting prior to encouraged - you would have similar risks as the non-smoker population at that time, which your surgeon will discuss with you in regards to tummy tuck.  Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

No smoking Prior Tummy Tuck Surgery

Definitely you have to stop smoking at least 1 month prior surgery, 3 month is much better. I do not perform surgery in active smokers.

Nicotine constrict the blood vessels lessening the amount of oxygen flow needed by  the manipulated tissues to heal adequately, so is very important for you to stop smoking for your results and the avoidance of complications.

Adolfo Sesto, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

For better healing after tummy tuck, no cigarettes or nicotine patches for one month before tummy tuck and one month after.

Thank you for your question.

For better healing after tummy tuck, no cigarettes or nicotine patches for one month before tummy tuck and one month after tummy tuck.  If you can quit for that long, then maybe you can quick altogther.

It is unlikely that you would "die during surgery." What is more likely is that you would get heart disease or other problems later in life from continued smoking.  This would probably shorten you lifespan and make it so that you are unable to enjoy time with grandchildren.

To be sure, see two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for a full and complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery.  I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Smoking cessation

Congratulations on kicking the habit.  Many plastic surgeons refuse to operate on active smokers because they are at increased risk for healing problems which include incisions opening up, skin necrosis, fluid collections etc etc.   For tummy tuck and breast lift procedures, I recommend smoking cessation for at least 4-6 weeks before and definitely after your procedure.  Even with smoking cessation, you still will be a slight increased risk for slow healing.  But kicking the habit now is the best thing that you can do.  See a board certified PS for your procedure.  Best of luck!

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Smoking and Body Contouring

Simply stated.  You will have healing problems!! I will not perform these procedures on smokers.  Smoking decreases the circulation which will lead to certain healing issues.

Dr. ES

Smoking is bad for cosmetic surgery

Smoking is bad for wound healing after cosmetic surgery.  So, if you have truly stopped for 3 months and you continue to refrain from smoking afterward your risks of complications are lowered.

Smoking and Tummy Tuck = Bad News/Bad Results

One of the major concerns during any lifting procedure, whether it be breast lift, tummy tuck, or facelift is blood supply to the tissues. The healing process and a successful result is dependent upon strong robust blood flow. Smoking, and nicotine specifically, constricts the blood vessels and decreases blood flow to the targeted areas. That is why nicotine patches and nicotine gum should also be avoided before and after the surgery. It takes these blood vessels time to expand back to normal size once the tightening stimulus (the nicotine) is removed. That is why I like to have my patients quit smoking for 6 weeks prior and 6 weeks after surgery. I think the goal of avoiding nicotine for 3 months is an admirable goal becuase, you know better than I do, quitting smoking is no easy task. The 3 month time frame gives you some wiggle room in case you lapse in your commitment to be still be smoke free/nicotine free for 6 weeks prior to surgery. 

While cutting down on smoking is helpful, it's vitally important that your body sees NO nicotine in the before and after period. That includes second hand smoke as well. This can also cause a profound negative impact on your ability to heal and lead to a less than successful result.

I used to think that a pack or half a pack a day smoking was not too bad, especially if the patient used to smoke 2-3 packs/day. Then I came across a powerful study that showed that just ONE cigarette decreased blood flow to the fingers by 47%.  While the fingers have some of the smallest blood vessels in the body, so do nipples, ears, and noses. During an operation, a portion of the blood flow will already be disrupted through the surgery itself. When you tack on an additional drop in HALF of the blood flow with smoking, this can lead to some disasterous results.  I am VERY passionate about having my patients quit smoking before surgery, so the above paragraph is meant to scare you some.  However, if you allow time for your body to adjust and blood vessels to reexpand after avoidance of smoking, your risk should be minimized and likelihood of a successful result should be maximized.  Good Luck.


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