I'm Getting a Breast Reduction, Will I Be Okay with Smoking?

My doctor told me to stop about 6 weeks before hand. Well I have a young son and new husband so I've lost track of time. My surgery is 3 weeks away. I'm afraid my doctor will cancel my surgery if I ask him,and I would have to pay a huge fee that I cant afford. But I'm 18, and I haven't even been smoking for a year. I'm healthy, I just have extremely large breasts.

Doctor Answers 9

Smoking and BA

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Most experts unanimously agree that smoking increases the rate of breast augmentation surgical complications significantly. Just about all plastic surgeons strongly recommend women to stop smoking and all nicotine products well in advance of breast augmentation with breast implants. Many plastic surgeons recommend stopping all tobacco products several months prior to surgery.
Here is the reason why: the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products (including Nicorette gum, patches, etc) is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it makes the Smoking is a significant multiplier of many potential complications following surgery and breast augmentation with implants are no exception. Nicotine from smoking causes blood vessels to vasoconstrict ( tighten up). Over time, these constricted arteries and capillaries deliver less blood to the breast tissue which is needed for normal healing. Smokers therefore have an increased incidence of higher likelihood of complications such as infection, and in particular capsular contracture (hardening and distortion of the implants). General complications of surgery such as blood clots, anesthetic problems such as pneumonia are also increased.
A scientific article in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicated that, among all forms of surgery, quitting smoking eight weeks prior was never associated with an increased risk of complications.
In young patients you will probably statistically avoid these complications, why tempt fate by increasing your odds that something bad will happen.On a long term basis, smoking also causes accelerated aging of the skin and loss of elasticity. Hopefully these reasons will help give you the will power and courage to stop smoking.

Smoking and breast reduction

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Thank you for your question. Smoking before or after your surgery can increase your risk of developing complications including infection and wound healing problems. I tell my patients that it is ideal to stop a couple months ahead of surgery and then for a couple months after surgery. Please discuss with your surgeon what their guidelines are for your particular surgery.

I'm getting a breast reduction, will I be okay with smoking?

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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 breast reduction 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. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Smoking and Breast Reduction?

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It will be in your best interest to be honest with your plastic surgeon;  I would not suggest that you undergo the procedure unless you have the nicotine free for at least one month prior to the surgery.  I would agree with other respondents that it is absolutely not worth the risk.
Best wishes.

Breast Reduction and smoking.

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Smoking and surgery do not mix.  There are some operations that are particularly sensitive to smoking, one of which is the breast reduction surgery  Not only does it increase the risk of wound healing issues, more importantly, is the risk of decreased nipple viability.  In my training, I performed more breast reductions than any other surgery and the effect that smoke has on the lift of the nipple and the skin flaps is significantly increased.  Smoke can kill the nipple and/or skin after surgery requiring weeks to months of prolonged healing. 


The longer ahead of surgery you stop smoking the better.  The number of years you have smoked also makes a difference regarding post operative complications. 

Smoking and Breast Reduction, bad combo

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Every patient that has smoked up till a breast reduction and not told me has suffered fro major skin complications due to the smoking. If you continue to smoke I will tell you that there is a 100% chance that you will have major wound healing issues, Stop today!

Jonathan Weiler, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Stop Smoking Before Breast Reduction

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You and your surgeon may become new best friends if you do not stop smoking before your reduction surgery.  If you have large areas of tissue loss due to necrosis from smoking (which can occur from a single cigarette), you are going to be seeing your surgeon frequently for weeks to months.  It simply is not worth the risk.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Stp smoking now!

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You must remember that the longer you stop smoking before surgery, the lower the risk of wound healing problems.  I advise patients to stop 3-4 weeks in advance so you should be fine.  Good luck with your surgery.


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In regards to smoking as long as you do not smoke for the next 3 weeks you should be okay. I would definitely double check with your plastic surgeon. smoking can complicate your incision. Telling your plastic surgeon would be your best option

Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

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.