I'm having Labiaplasty reconstruction one week from today. I've been unsuccessful quitting smoking. Will this effect my surgery?

Hello! I am having labioplasty reconstruction one week from today. I have been unsuccessful quitting smoking. I have already paid for the surgery in full. Am I completely doomed?

Doctor Answers 7

Smokers are five times more likely to have scar issues than nonsmokers

Smoking is terrible for healing from scars. The scars at highest risk are those which involve thin skin and intersecting suture lines known as T or Y interections. These suture lines are commonly used in labiaplasty surgery and the skin is obviously thin. It takes about 6 months for the smoking effect to wash out completely and second hand smoke exposure is equally bad.

Jersey City OB/GYN
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tell your surgeon

Your recovery can be compromised if you smoke, as wounds tend to heal more slowly and the risk of infection is higher. I generally advise patients stop for at least 4 weeks prior to their surgery. I suggest you tell your surgeon that you haven't stopped. They may recommend rescheduling your surgery for your safety.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

You should ALWAYS quit smoking before any type of Plastic Surgery, including labiaplasty!

Before having any type of Plastic Surgery, you should ALWAYS quit smoking!  The reason for this is simple:  nicotine is a "vasoconstrictor", which means this drug causes significant spasm and narrowing of your blood vessels - the exact ones you need to deliver good blood flow to the tissues that are healing.

If nicotine is on board for up to 6 weeks before a surgical procedure that involves making inicisions, rearranging the tissues and healing (like a labiaplasty), then not quitting smoking puts you at increased risk of wound healing problems, infections, tissue death and increased scar tissue.  

Since nicotine is the culprit, the same restrictions apply to other forms of nicotine delivery:  the patch, nicotine gum, and even e-cigarrettes!

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Avoid Smoking With Any Body Contouring

Smoking is a risk taking activity that you can avoid to make sure you do not have a complication.  I would highly recommend you reschedule your surgery and stop smoking.  Why risk it?  Your health and well being are too important.  Good Luck

Gaurav Bharti, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Smoking and Labiaplasty

Smoking affects wound healing by causing the blood vessels to become very narrow. Fewer red blood cells can reach the wound, which means there is less oxygen for healing.

A simple cut might heal fine, but if surgery involves lifting tissue up and moving it around, then the risk is much higher of serious problems. Tissue can actually die.

Labiaplasty can be done in different ways. With a Linear Labiaplasty, the extra tissue is removed, and the remaining wound edges are sewn together. Problems healing would result in the wound falling apart. If you have a V-Wedge Labiaplasty, however, tissue is cut, moved around, and put in a new position. Smoking could result in the death of this tissue. 

Make sure to tell your surgeon that you haven't stopped smoking, as this can impact your results. As I tell my own patients, I far prefer a confession from the patient than for her to feel too embarrassed to say anything and suffer the consequences.

Heather J. Furnas, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Smoking and labiaplasty

Smoking does interfere with wound healing, but more so when skin flaps are created, such as in a facelift or tummy tuck. It is unlikely your labiaplasty healing will suffer from the smoking. however, it also increases the risk of post op bleeding, this might cause a problem ( hematoma)  which could require a second surgery.

Laura A. Sudarsky, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Smoking and labiaplasty

Smoking is very bad for your overall health but also impairs wound healing. Some studies suggest smoking increases the risk of complications by about 50%

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.