I Am a 29 Year Old Mother of Five and I Smoke. I Am 5'3 185 Lbs. I Am Very Busy. Would I Be a Good Fit for Surgery?

Doctor Answers 9

Do not have tummy tuck surgery if you are an active smoker

Thank you for your question. Smoking can interfere with the blood supply to the skin of your abdomen after tummy Tuck. Smoking increases your risk of necrosis or death of the skin of your lower abdomen due to the effects of nicotine on your blood vessels.

In my practice we consisted patients stop smoking for 5 weeks prior to tummy tuck surgery, and we do a blood test to make certain that metabolites of nicotine are not present in the blood before proceeding with surgery.

Smoking is not a contraindication to elective cosmetic surgery.

Active smoking definitely increases the risk of surgery. Most plastic surgeons insist on cessation of smoking for two weeks or more prior to the operation. Other by itself however smoking is not an absolute contraindication.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Am I a good fit for surgery?

Dear Dee,

It sounds like you are not a good fit at this time.  I know you heard this before, but it is very important to quite smoking.  For your health as well as for the surgery.  Also, you need to get to a place where you can relax for a few weeks, maybe have relatives take care of the kids.

Best Wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Are you a good candidate for surgery?

With your self-description, NO, you are not a good candidate for major procedures.  You should focus on stopping smoking and finding a time when you have the ability to recovery from procedures without the obligations of caring for your children.  In other words, you can't be BUSY when trying to recover from major surgery. 

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

I Smoke. I Am 5'3 185 Lbs. . Would I Be a Good Fit for Surgery?

Two issues in these few lines add significant risk and jeopardize the chances of a good result.

Smoking  All of the lifting procedures (tummy tuck, face lift, breast lift or reduction) have unacceptably increased wound healing risks. The lifting itself diminishes normal blood flow to the healing skin. The nicotine by a separate mechanism further decreases blood flow to a level so low that sometimes skin necrosis (death) can occur. (Nicotine products, such as patches or gum, used to help quit smoking may actually be worse than smoking itself.)

Weight. Many risks are elevated in patients whose body-mass index (BMI) is over 30. You would need to get to just under 170 pounds to reach that threshold. Most surgeons are reluctant to offer TT surgery to patients whose BMI's are over 30. Risks are lower, outcomes better at levels of 25 or lower.

Invest some time taking care of yourself to make the procedure safer and more effective. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Smoking and Tummy Tucks

Smoking will increase your risk of healing problems (incisions opening up, skin necrosis), seromas, and delayed healing.   It is recommended to get be tobacco and cigarette free for several weeks before and after surgery.   Patients often seek the help of their primary care physician to start formal medically supervised smoking cessation programs.  Best wishes,

Dr Basu

Houston, TX

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 213 reviews

Am I a candidate for tummy tuck surgery?

Thank you for your question. Generally, I advise all patients prior to surgery that they need to be completely off cigarettes and nicotine for at least 8 weeks. Cigarette smoking can greatly inhibit a surgical patient through delayed wound healing, decreased effectiveness of medications which can lead to infection, increased risk for DVT or blood clots, and impaired oxygen perfusion. When you decide that it is the right time to have surgery please take these factors into consideration. Also, as you were previously informed, there is downtime associated with this procedure. Being that you lead a very busy lifestyle and have small children at home this also needs to be taken into consideration. I hope this helps you and good luck. Fadi Chahin MD, FACS Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Diplomat, American Board of Surgery, Diplomat, American Board of Plastic Surgery

Fadi Chahin, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Are you fit for surgery?

Thank you for your question.  This can really only be answered with a full of medical evaluation, but there are a few clues here that can help to guide you. Smoking, unfortunately increases the risk of any surgery let alone cosmetic surgery.  Smoking inhibits blood vessels which bring the healing power of the tissues as well as the antibiotics that help minimize the risk of infection.  Smoking can lead to tissue loss.  It's always best to stop smoking before surgery.  Second, you are very busy.  While your  question does not specify which surgery you are considering you must give yourself appropriate time to heal.  I see patients make the mistake of not giving themselves the time that they need to recover safely.  If you do embark upon elective surgery it's always good to have a support system in place and have more time than you need to recover.  Better to have extra time but not need it than the other way around. Lastly, by your height and weight numbers you are slightly above your ideal weight. It is always good to be at a comfortable weight before surgery.  This does not always mean rail thin, This means a weight that you can achieve in healthy way long term, a realistic weight.  Even if you're not quite where you wish to be yet, It would be worthwhile to have a consultation.  Your surgeon can point out ways to be of help for the safest surgery possible . Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

 Thank you for the question.

The “ideal” patient for tummy tuck surgery is one who has completed pregnancies, is psycho socially/emotionally/financially stable,  has an excellent social support system surrounding him/her, does not smoke, is capable of arranging enough recovery time and who has reached a long-term stable weight.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,504 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.