Vaping and Surgery

I want to have liposuction w/ or w/o tummy tuck, depending on cost. I quit smoking cigs on 08/15/16 because I used a vaporizer (e-cig). I have cut the nicotine level to 6mg & hope to be at 0 before January. I know smoking is a big no- no, but I'm not sure why. Is it the nicotine, or is it the other chemicals in tobacco smoke that creates the problem? Am I wasting time scheduling a consult now? Previous surgeries healed quickly (laparotomy, 2 C-sections, laproscopic).

Doctor Answers 6

Nicotine and liposuction

Smoking regular or e-cigarettes leads to absorption of nicotine which compromises blood supply to the skin. This can cause loss of skin and scarring after surgery. When considering an elective cosmetic procedure, it is best to optimize your condition to achieve the best results and minimize complications. 

Consulting with a surgeon now will help you get a better understanding of the procedure, find out what procedure is best for you, and learn how to prepare for the surgery and recovery after surgery.  You will also need to make arrangements for a ride home and for some patients this requires co-ordination with someone else - family or friends. All of this sometimes needs advance planning and a consultation with the surgeon a few months ahead can help. In addition, you may need time to consult with more than one surgeon to determine which surgeon and procedure you're most comfortable with, and have confidence in.

Cleveland Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

General Rule of Thumb

As a general rule, board-certified plastic surgeons urge their patients to stop smoking before any surgical procedure. The nicotine and other harmful chemicals found in both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes can cause health complications during and after your surgery.

However, it's never a waste of time to schedule your initial consultation. Here, you and your surgeon can get to know each other better, and you can get a better idea of what to expect for your specific procedure.

Keep up the good work and hopefully you will be smoke free (and able to get the plastic surgery you want) very soon!

Vaping and Surgery

Thank you for your question.

While cigarettes do have other chemicals that inhibit healing and are probably worse than vaping for healing and health overall, nicotine alone acts to constrict blood vessels.  Constricted blood vessels reduce blood flow to the area, and inhibits wound healing.  I don't think anybody is ever "wasting their time" with a consult, as you can start to discuss surgical options and the best timing for them, even if it's months down the road.


Dr. Dan Krochmal

MAE Plastic Surgery

Northbrook, IL

Daniel Krochmal, MD
Chicago General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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Vaping and cosmetic surgery

Thank you for asking about your vaping, liposuction and tummy tuck.

  • Great question - the nicotine itself cuts down on the blood supply in your tissues -
  • So wounds won't heal as well.
  • If you feel reasonably confident you'll be vape-free by 2017, have your consultation now.
  • Your surgeon will want you to be off vaping for 4 - 6 weeks before a tummy tuck, maybe a little less for liposuction.
  • If you can't quit, there are medicines that will help you temporarily stop smoking to have surgery.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Nicotine and Surgery

Nicotine interferes with wound healing and your goal should be to be off any nicotine 4-6  weeks prior to surgery and plan to stay off of it for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Meet with a surgeon to be sure their policy is similar. Best wishes. 

Vaping and Tummy Tuck

Thanks for the question.  Smoking cigarettes results in both an absorption of nicotine as well as an increase in carbon monoxide levels, both of which are inhibitory to wound healing.  Vaping eliminates the increase in carbon monoxide levels but still increases nicotine levels.  This is better than smoking but still has a negative effect on wound healing.  If possible, I would recommend working on lowering the nicotine level consumed with vaping before pursuing tummy tuck surgery.  A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to prepare yourself for the best tummy tuck outcome in the future. 

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.