Will smoking affect my lab work test?

Will smoking affect my lab work test? I'm scared of not getting cleared for my lab work.

Doctor Answers 7


Thank you for your question. Smoking will not affect routine lab work like a chem7 or H/H( blood count). However, smoking does decrease blood flow to your skin. This can be a significant problem with certain procedures. You can check if someone has been smoking by obtaining a carboxyhemaglobin level. Also, smoking is BAD for you. You should inform your PS if you are smoking. Best of luck.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 191 reviews

Smoking and BA

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.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Smoking a lab work

Routine labs are not affected with smoking. A test may be done to confirm whether you quit smoking prior to surgery if you are proceeding with a high risk operation such as a face lift or tummy tuck. Be honest with your surgeon. Good luck

Josh Olson, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Smoking and breast implants

Thank you for your question about your breast augmentation.

  • Smoking is unlikely to affect any standard pre-operative testing.
  • Smoking is very bad for healing and you must stop at least 2 weeks before and after surgery.
  • You MUST tell your surgeon that you are smoking and how much you smoke.
  • Depending on the surgery, smoking can cause catastrophic complicatoins.
  • Smoking is really really bad for you - I would prefer to see you post-pone surgery for now, quit cold turkey and get healthy. Having been a 4 pack a day smoker in my early twenties, I know it can be done - it is the best thing you will EVER do for yourself.

Always consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews


Smoking will only affect urine nicotine and carboxyhemoglobin.  That should not prevent you from being "cleared" for surgery.  That being said, as a smoker you are at increased risk for would healing problems which vary depending on the procedure you are having done.  In my practice, I will not perform tummy tucks, facelifts, breast reduction, or breast lifts on active smokers, as the risk of skin necrosis and infection is increased. Best of luck.  

Anthony Deboni, MD
Syracuse Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Cigarettes and implants

The only lab test that would be affected would be a blood carboxyhemoglobin or a urine nicotine.  Both of these tests we use to screen people who have reported that they quit smoking.   You should be less worried about beating the tests than you are about having a safe outcome i.e not smoking.

Cigarette smoke contains 4000 toxic substances. The effects of each of these substances on the outcome of a breast augmentation has not been studied individually. The most important issues with cigarette smoke is the carbon monoxide, which compromises the oxygen delivery to the healing tissues, and the nicotine, which causes spasm of the blood vessels delivering blood to the healing wound. Anything that compromises healing can lead to an increase risk of infection, wound separation, or capsular contracture. Just because there is no scientific paper which links nicotine or carbon monoxide specifically to the development of capsular contracture, does not mean that an association exists but has not been adequately identified. Clearly eliminating the smoke is important because of the carbon monoxide poisoning of the blood. Eliminating nicotine is important as well. It would be wise to stay away from nicotine until everything is completely healed.

Gary Lawton, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 136 reviews

Will smoking affect my lab work test?

No, smoking will not necessarily affect your lab work results. However, it is important that you let your plastic surgeon know that you are smoking; the use of nicotine can have powerfully negative effects on surgical outcomes, depending on exactly what procedure is performed. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 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.