I'm having a tummy tuck and quit smoking two days before. Do I need to be concerned ?

I'm having a tummy tuck and quit smoking two days before. I'm a very healthy person and exercise daily and eat right. Do I need to be concerned that something could go wrong

Doctor Answers 27

Smoking 2 days before tummy tuck

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Smoking brings a significant risk of cancer, stroke, heat attack, etc. From a Plastic Surgery standpoint it is a vasoconstrictor. Wound healing is all about getting oxygen and needed entities to the wound. It is well known that patients who smoke have a tremendous increase in their rate of serious complications, (infections, wounds falling apart, etc.). Nicotine is the main vasoconstrictor, so getting a patch or lozenge of nicotine won't help the vasoconstriction. Best to be off the tobacco/nicotine entirely before surgery. Please be honest with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Together you can make a plan to quit and proceed with surgery. The amount of time between quitting and surgery will depend on the Plastic Surgeon and the procedure.

Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

I'm having a tummy tuck and quit smoking two days before. Do I need to be concerned ?

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Yes. We will not do a tummy tuck in a smoker unless they quit (completely and without cheating) for at least 2 months prior to surgery. The risk of severe skin loss and a prolonged recovery with open healing wounds and very bad resulting scars is just too great.

Smoking and tummy tucks

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Smoking can definitely has a negative impact on the outcome from a tummy tuck. Most surgeons would ask that you quit smoking before having the surgery. Two days is not adequate to allow the body to reverse the effects of smoking. At this point it is important to have close and regular followup appointments with your surgeon. This would allow him to intervene and begin early treatment of any potential problems.

Good luck and I hope you have a good recovery from your surgery.

Wayne I. Yamahata, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

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Concerns about smoking

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when having a tummy tuck have been outlined by the others.  From my standpoint, the biggest concerns I would have is possible coughing fits during your recovery that lead to bleeding and the need for more surgery.  But by now it sounds like this is water under the bridge and if you've already had your procedure, ambulate, breathe deeply regulars, and do not smoke again until your surgeon clears you to do so.  Hopefully nothing will happen and you will get the results that you desire. 

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Aving a tummy tuck and quit smoking two days before. Do I need to be concerned ?u

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Smoking does adversely affect wound healing. Besides, intubation during surgery will further irritate your respiratory passages. Coughing does not help muscle repair and will prolong your recovery and make it more painful. Not to mention "atelactesis" where the bases of your lungs collect secretions and shrink inviting more coughing and possibly chest infections. 
Bottomline, if you are a heavy smoker, you may have to postpone your surgery. 
Heavy smokers may need at least one month of complete cessation of smoking to be ready for their surgery. Besides, some surgeons insist on performing a drug test to confirm the readiness of the patient for surgery.
 I recommend discussing this matter with your surgeon, be transparent with him and follow his advice. 

Maan Kattash, MD, FRCS, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

I'm having a tummy tuck and quit smoking two days before. Do I need to be concerned ?

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I appreciate your question.

Yes, you should be very concerned. Smoking delays wound healing as nicotine compromises blood supply.  This can lead to unnecessary complications in your recovery.  Please make your surgeon aware and I would highly recommend you reschedule your surgery.  All my patients are required to stop smoking 6-8 weeks prior to surgery.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.
Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

I'm having a tummy tuck and quit smoking two days before. Do I need to be concerned ?

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To me, this one is a no-brainer. The short answer is YES, you absolutely need to be concerned. This is elective cosmetic surgery and there is no reason to take unnecessary risk. With procedures such as a tummy tuck, there is significant undermining of skin flaps which leads to a decrease in blood supply. If you have nicotine in your system, this can further compromise the blood supply and cause a dramatic increase in complications. I require all my patients to stop all forms of nicotine 6 weeks before surgery and to continue for at least 6 weeks after surgery. This is a minimum. Longer is better and if you are having an elective procedure, why would you want to put yourself at increased risk?

I advise you to contact your surgeon and discuss your smoking honestly. I would consider re-scheduling your procedure. 

Stay safe out there!

I'm having a tummy tuck and quit smoking two days before. Do I need to be concerned ?

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Safety should always be the primary concern in any procedure. The goal of all plastic surgeons that perform tummy tucks is to improve the appearance with minimal side effects or problems. Exposure to smoke, either directly or indirectly, or the use of any nicotine releasing products, has been shown to increase the incidence of serious complications after tummy tuck surgery and in most other cosmetic or reconstructive procedures. Most plastic surgeons refuse to perform tummy tucks on patients who are active smokers or are using nicotine in any form. It is generally recommended that all smoking or the use of any nicotine releasing products should be completely stopped at least 10- 14 days before a tummy tuck and for a minimum of 10-14 days after the surgical procedure. Many plastic surgeons would recommend no smoking for anywhere between 2-6 weeks before an elective procedure like a tummy tuck. Ideally, one should stop permanently, not just because of its effect on aging, but from an overall health perspective.

All wound healing depends on blood supply. The blood flow to the skin and underlying tissue is diminished by smoking, which constricts the small blood vessels. Smokers have a significantly higher rate of delayed healing, infection, opening of the incisions, necrosis or loss of the abdominal skin that is elevated and the underlying tissue, poor scarring, and anesthesia problems.

Be honest with your plastic surgeon who should be certified by the American Board of American Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) about your exposure to smoke and follow all instructions. Remember that you are a participant in your care.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews


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Unfortunately smokers are considered high risk for full abdominoplasty procedures. In an ideal world, we expect our patients to refrain from smoking for 4-6 weeks prior to surgery. 

Smoking and Tummy Tuck

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Smoking increases the risks and complications of surgery because it decreases the amount of oxygen in your cells and constricts blood vessels. This slows your body’s healing. If you smoke, it is recommended to quit smoking at least two weeks ahead of surgery. You should contact your Doctor's office to discuss this with them and see if they would be comfortable moving forward with your surgey. 

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.