Does Marijuana Hurt a Skin Flap? (photo)

I am going through reconstructive plastic surgery on the left side of my face, My next surgery will be a skin flap, my plastic surgeon said i HAVE to quit smoking cigarettes or she will not perform the surgery, she said she would rather me smoke marijuana(because i smoke both,), but she would still like me to quit smoke marijuana. Does marijuana constrict blood vessel, will the flap fall off, or not heal right? i know it slows down the healing process and wont heal perfect

Doctor Answers 2

Smoking and skin flap reconstruction

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You have one chance to get good results with a skin flap reconstruction and smoking anything will compromise the healing.   Also, if the flaps die, any other options for reconstruction probably won't look as good as those flaps would have.  Cigarettes are well known to cause severe problems which impair healing.  Marijuana has not been studied to the same extent, but it can't help.


I agree with your surgeon 100%.  Absolutely quit smoking cigarettes, and if you can stop smoking  entirely for 4 weeks preop and 2 weeks postop you'll make sure that you get the best chance of a good outcome.  Don't risk're young and deserve a good outcome, why risk it by smoking?

Roanoke Facial Plastic Surgeon

Smoking Cessation: Your Plastic Surgeon is Correct

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I agree with your Plastic Surgeon on both counts.  Nicotine has vasoconstrictive properties that will slow or even sabotage proper wound healing.  Although the active ingredient in marijuana (THC) does not share the same effect on blood vessels, smoking any material leads to inhalation of carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide prevents oxygen from binding to your red blood cells, and thus diminishes the oxygen carrying capacity in your bloodstream.  You don't want to take this chance with wound healing.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

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