Smoking before a Tummy tuck?

I have a tummy tuck scheduled in a few days. In the past 2 month i have smoked @3-5 cigarettes. I have been smoking for years but only @1(maybe 2) a day. I've stopped for the most part but have smoked a few in the last 2 months. Should i reschedule my surgery because of that or will I be ok? My general health is very good but have concern! Thank you!!

Doctor Answers 26

Smoking and tummy tuck

Thanks for your question. It's best to be honest with your surgeon and let him/her know. Together, you can make a decision. Tummy tuck has one of the highest complication rates in cosmetic surgery procedures, so anything that increases risks of wound healing problems is not good. Smoking increases risks of wound healing problems. If you do go forward with surgery you should be very strict for at least 2 weeks after surgery to not smoke. Best wishes. 

Austin Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

SMoking and the real world

In my real world, even the patients who say they stopped smoking completely typically are not fully forthcoming. Morning of surgery urine nicotine testing documents this. Ideally, you should stop 100% (and not gums/patches etc) for a MINIMUM of two weeks prior and after surgery. Every cigarette(s)  you have is increasing your risk of a significant (not minor) wound healing problem. I operate on smokers. I read them the riot act regarding the risks, show photos of BAD wound problems and allow them to assume the risk. If I know they have continued regularly smoking I will modify the extent of my surgery in an attempt to help counter that. I have certainly had patients who ended up having wound healing problems but they all have understood that they assumed the risk and do pretty well with the prolonged healing and extra scarring. The world in general and surgery in particular are not risk free. It needs to be a two way discussion about how much risk each party is willing to assume.

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Smoking and Surgery

Nicotine from any source can potentially interfere with the wound healing process for a number of different surgeries.  Recommendations may vary between surgeons and between different procedures.  Though the amount you have smoked is relatively low, you should definitely let your surgeon know so that together you can make an informed decision as to proceed or delay.  Hope this helps and good luck.  

Paul B. Mills, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Smoking before a tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.  Any amount of nicotine (smoking, gum, e-cigarettes, second hand smoke, etc) is detrimental to the healing process, most especially for an extensive incision like a tummy tuck.  As you have only smoked a very low number of cigarettes, your risk would be low, but still much more than if you had never smoked.  Absolutely avoid any kind of nicotine exposure after your surgery in order to avoid serious complications (wound separation, infection, etc).  You should most certainly have a candid conversation with your plastic surgeon about your smoking and come to a mutual decision as to whether to proceed with your surgery or not.  Best wishes!

Daniel Brown, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Smoking and tummy tucks don't mix

Smoking and tummy tucks don't mix... but that said if you stop with several days to go it is unlikely that the affect on blood supply will be significant.  Make sure to discuss your smoking with the anesthesiologist and your surgeon.

Dr Rodger Shortt
Oakville Plastic Surgeon
Director of Cosmetic Surgery Training &
Assistant Clinical Professor,
McMaster Univiersity

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Smoking before a tummy tuck

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.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Smoking Before Tummy Tuck

You should avoid smoking before surgery. Smoking may cause issues with wound healing and skin loss. You should discuss this with your surgeon and see how long you need to stop smoking before the procedure. I usually prefer that patients completely stop smoking for 4 weeks before an abdominoplasty.

Jeffrey Weinzweig, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Smoking Prior to Surgery

Smoking affects both the quality of healing and the time it takes to heal any surgical procedure because it reduces blood flow to tissue already compromised by the surgery.  All surgeons have their own policy regarding smoking at it is imperative you discuss this directly with your surgeon.
In my experience, smoking 1-2 cigarettes a day prior to surgery has very little affect on the average, healthy, young patient.  Other factors are actually more important.  I worry more about AFTER the procedure, when even small insults (one cigarette) to the blood supply can create healing issues.  So NO SMOKING after surgery is a must.
For those who smoke a half pack a day or more, the story is different and smoking must be stopped well prior to surgery.  The length of time depends upon the surgeon's preference as well as the patient's overall health and age.  And then the procedure may have to be modified to increase the ability of the tissues to heal.

R. Scott Yarish, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Smoking before a Tummy tuck

Thank you for your question. Smoking is bad even without surgery, with surgery it delays even the healing process after surgery. Please consult with your surgeon. Hopes this helps.Best of luck on your future cosmetic endeavors.

William J. Welsh, MD
Nebo Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 51 reviews


Thank you for your inquiry!

Before surgery, it is important to avoid alcohol, tobacco products and certain medications that thin the blood. You will also need to have some lab tests and blood work done beforehand to ensure you are healthy enough to undergo your procedure. 

Consult with your surgeon.

Best wishes!

Morgan E. Norris, III, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 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.