All the experts say to quit smoking because of the many problems it may cause after surgery and recovery. What about e-cigs?

Doctor Answers 7

E cigarettes and surgery

Using tobacco products 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 16 reviews

E-Cigs Without Nicotine Before Plastic Surgery

E-cigs are fine before and after surgery...as long as you don't use liquids that contain nicotine. There are lots of flavored liquids that are nicotine-free now. But if you use e-cids with nicotine liquids, then it is just as bad for your upcoming plastic surgery as smoking.

Nicotine is the problem, not the smoke!

So e-cigs are just as bad as cigarettes, nicotine patches, gum, or sprays, and even second-hand smoke, which still delivers nicotine to your system, causing microcirulatory collapse and dead skin.

If you can't quit all forms of nicotine, please don't have surgery.

Zyban (wellbutrin) and Chantix are OK to use before and after surgery.

Please stop. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 240 reviews

E-cigarettes contain nicotine

If e-cigarettes contain nicotine then they need to be stopped prior to surgery.  Nicotine causes a release of epinephrine thus causing blood vessels to shrink down in size.  Increasing your risk of wound healing problems.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

All the experts say to quit smoking. What about e-cigs?

The reason smoking increases risks with surgery is not because of the cancer causing agents, but rather the nicotine in the smoke. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, decreasing blood flow, and increasing risks of surgery. Therefore, any product with nicotine is harmful to recovering from surgery. Thus, I tell my patients no cigarettes, no patches, no e-cigs. These are all nicotine delivery systems.

Eric Desman, MD
Alexandria Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

What about e-cigs?

Smoking does significantly increase healing risks after tummy tuck and other cosmetic procedures. Though the smoke can rob the skin of oxygen, nicotine is perhaps worse as it constricts the fine circulation so important to proper healing. Sorry, but e-cigs are not your answer. 

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

No Nicotine

It is recommended that you stop all nicotine products before plastic surgery procedures.  So no e-cigs!
Good Luck, 

Gaurav Bharti

Gaurav Bharti, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 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.