The truth about smoking and having plastic surgery. How long should you be smoke free before undergoing any plastic surgery?

 Yes, I know I should stop today forever!! However, I would just like a realistic answer.

Doctor Answers 12

Smoking and plastic surgery

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When to stop smoking depends on the type of surgery you are having. The effects of nicotine and tar will affect different surgeries in different ways. Tummy tucks, breast reductions and lift, and facelifts are particularly prone to the bad effects of smoking. I usually tell patients to stop at least a week before, though many do reccomend you stop for two. Equally important is not smoking after the surgery for at least a week!

Vienna Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Smoking and Plastic Surgery

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The truth is that we do not know the exact answer to that question and it probably varies between patients.  My thought is that we are talking about an elective cosmetic procedure so we should be very conservative in our recommendations.  Therefore, I have patients stop smoking for 3 months prior to any surgery that involves creation of a flap such as a tummy tuck, body lift, breast reduction, mastopexy or facelift.  Hopefully you will not resume smoking but waiting at least 6 weeks or so postop is a good idea.

Richard Kofkoff, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 82 reviews


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Hello dear, thanks for your question and provided information as well. I recommend you to quit smoking a month before surgery. And also, before surgery have oxygen treatments to help your skin and body get more oxygenation that your skin need after surgery. Is very important for you, because I you don't you can get skin necossis 

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 442 reviews

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Smoking and plastic surgery...

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I recommend a minimum of 4 weeks of complete smoking cessation before and after surgery (this includes nicotine products/gum/vapor/etc).  Depending upon your specific procedure, you may want to look online at pictures of it and necrosis - which can sometimes occur.  If someone can not stop smoking - then we cancel their surgery.  Simply not worth the risk.

Joseph D. Alkon, MD
Newark Plastic Surgeon

Smoking and plastic surgery

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 I like my patients to be quit for 4 to 6 weeks prior to and after their procedure. If they are unable to do this  they should avoid having surgery. Good luck.

Smoking and plastic surgery

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Smoking increases the complication rate significantly. I prefer patients to avoid smoking at least 2-4 weeks prior to surgery and 2-4 weeks after.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Smoking cessation

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The truth is that you should stop and not resume!  For major procedures such as tummy tuck, at least 4 weeks pre op and 6 weeks post op. For minor procedures, less. Keep in mind that the nicotine interferes with wound healing so, in terms of scarring, you do yourself no favor by resuming cigarette use.

No Smoking

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It depends upon the procedures-minimum 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after. This includes not using nicotine gum or patches and no second hand smoke.

Wound healing, skin necrosis, implant exposure, nipple loss, etc and blood clots/ dvt are at higher risk.

Discussion with your plastic surgeon is recommended.

Smoking and surgery

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Smoking and specifically the nicotine is the causative factor that can worsen outcomes after surgery.  The nicotine causes constriction of the blood vessels, and the blood vessels bring the blood that carries the healing cells to the incision. By limiting the cells that heal tissue and fight off infection, a smoker is placing themselves at significantly increased risk for wound complications and infection.  There is some literature that at least six weeks should be allowed between the last use of nicotine and surgery.  The longer the better to allow your body to remove the effects of nicotine and normalize wound healing ability.  All the best,

Keshav Magge, MD
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Smoking and plastic surgery

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It is not a good idea to smoke around the time of the procedure. Scars will be worse, healing slower. But procedures such as a facelift, tummy tuck, body lifts, do not smoke for at least 6 weeks or longer before or after the procedure as there is strong literature support of significant increased complications due to the smoking. There procedures require undermining or lifting of the skin and tightening it. The vasoconstriction due to smoking, is not good.

Rick Rosen, MD
Norwalk Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 28 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.