What to expect? Implant removal with anchor lift.

I am scheduled for removal with a lift January 22. Healing is my main concern. I have quit smoking x's 7 months with nicotine gum help. How long for an ex smoker to heal? Also will collagen dissolved in my liquids help with healing and scars? Thank you in advance.

Doctor Answers 11

Recovery from surgery

Congratulations on quitting smoking, but remember that it is the nicotine that causes the problems in healing. If you are still ingesting nicotine, even in the form of gum then you are still at an increased risk.  You must cease nicotine in all forms. Due to your history, your surgeon will want to follow you closely after your procedure, so be sure to keep all post operative appointments.  Make sure you eat right and listen to your surgeon's instructions.  You may want to add vitamin supplements prior to, as well as after surgery to help get an extra boost of micronutrients that aid in recovery.  Best wishes!

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Explantation and lift

Thanks for your question.
It is great that you quit smoking; however, nicotine (gum) can also affect the healing deleteriously.  Try to quit nicotine gum and try to be healthy with diet and optimize your medical condition. 
Best regards.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

What to expect? Implant removal with anchor lift.

Thank you for your question.  Nicotine is the active ingredient in cigarettes, as well as gum, that compromises wound healing with operations by limiting/restricting blood flow.  In my practice I would ask patients to stop all nicotine products at least a month before and after surgery to minimize risks.  It is important to take in enough dietary protein to promote wound healing but specific collagen is not required.  Hope that this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews


I would recommend avoiding an anchor lift if possible with your history.  We perform thousands of explants here and very rarely need to perform an anchor lift as we do an internal lift then remove skin from the lower pole and or periareolar area if needed.  This does not compromise the blood supply like and anchor lift does.  Typically ex smokers still have some risk of complications depending on the type of surgery but less than if they were still smoking in terms of wound healing.

Susan Kolb, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

What to expect? Implant removal with anchor lift.

Congratulations on your avoidance of nicotine; keep in mind, that it will be important that you avoid nicotine in all its forms. Assuming you have been nicotine free for many months, it is most likely that, with a well-planned/executed procedure, that you will do well. I do not know of any science that shows that "collagen dissolved in liquids" will help with the healing process.

Do make sure that your plastic surgeon iis aware of your remote smoking history. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Nicotine use

The longer since you have stopped smoking the better. Seven months if you have completely abstained from nicotine should be sufficient to permit surgery to be done.

I know of no evidence that suggests that collagen dissolved in oral liquids will help with your healing and scars.

Stephen E. Zucker, MD
South Bend Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews


Thank you for the question and I would go off of all nicotine products atleast 2 weeks prior to your surgery and carely follow your surgeons post operative instructions

Dr. Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

What to expect? Implant removal with anchor lift.

Dear Teeleer,
You now have about a  month before your surgery, so if you are still using the nicotine gum I would suggest that your also stop that to improve your chances of a smooth recovery. I will have my fingers crossed that you will continue this after surgery as a permanent lifestyle change, as there is not one good thing that can come from you smoking again.
I'm sure your surgeon has made recommendations regarding the anticipated shape of your breasts and need for a lift post explantation. It can be difficult to know what your breasts will look like if you have had your implants for a long time, as they may have changed significantly since your previous surgery. The shape can be tailored using a variety of techniques for the best outcome.
While I have never heard of the dissolved collagen you mention, a healthy diet and following your surgeon's post op recommendations with regard to your activities and scar care will be important.
Best of luck with your upcoming surgery and smoke free life!

Stacey Folk, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Healing after Implant Removal with Lift

Everyone heals differently and at different rates. Some patients are completely healed at 2 weeks, while others may have some raw spots that take longer to heal. Smokers do have a higher risk of delayed healing, but it is great that you quit. The other thing that you need to take into account is the amount of breast tissue you have over the implants and the doctors technique for the lift. The thinner your tissues are over the implants, and the more extensive the dissection, the higher the risk for delayed healing. The collagen in the liquid will have no benefit.

Hayley Brown, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews


Congratulations on stopping smoking! Unfortunately, nicotine can still affect wound healing so it is best to stop this prior to surgery.  Although data is spare, 4-6 weeks is probably reasonable.  I am not aware of collagen dissolved in liquids as a remedy for healing and scars.  There are some standard and tried and true methods to improve healing and scars that I would recommend you discuss with your surgeon.  Good luck!

John Y.S. Kim, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 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.