How Long Will I of Had to Stop Smoking Before I Can Get Breast Implants?

Doctor Answers 26

Smoking and breast augmentation

Thank you for your question. Smoking before or after your surgery can increase your risk of developing complications including infection and wound healing problems. I tell my patients that it is ideal to stop a couple months ahead of surgery and then for a couple months after surgery.

Smoking and surgery

Here are the major points of smoking Tobacco or Marijuana before or after surgery:
1. There is nicotine in tobacco, but not in marijuana. However, most joints are rolled with marijuana and tobacco combination. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor that decreases blood flow to the tissues. This is the major problems that can cause a very bad outcome in some surgeries. In a breast augmentation, there is not a lot of risk as there are not a lot of incisions which decrease blood flow to the tissues. In a breast lift or tummy tuck, on the other hand, there is much longer and more involved incisions. The decrease in blood flow to the tissues in combination with the decrease in blood flow from the nicotine can cause tissue to die. This can cause part of the breast or nipple, or in the case of a tummy tuck, part of the belly tissue to die, resulting in a very bad outcome. Marijuana without tobacco does not cause this problem, or marijuana in an edible fashion.
2. There is carbon monoxide in both tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke. Carbon monoxide decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin in the blood. This is different from the vasoconstrictor effect, but has the same result of having the risk of tissue death in conjunction with surgeries that decrease the blood flow to tissues such as breast lifts and tummy tucks, as opposed to an augmentation alone that does not decrease blood flow to as great of an extent. Again, edible forms of marijuana do not have smoke, and thus carbon monoxide poisoning.
3. Coughing. Both tobacco and marijuana smoke disrupt the lining of the lungs and bronchi and can lead to coughing episodes. Coughing episodes can lead to internal bleeding after surgery that can lead to hematomas and complications, and again a bad outcome. Again, edible forms of marijuana does not have this effect.
4. Anesthesia effects. Marijuana can have drug interactions with certain anesthetic drugs. Thus it is important to tell your anesthesiologist about your marijuana use.
In conclusion, Smoking, whether it be tobacco or marijuana, is detrimental to your surgery outcome. Edible marijuana is much less so, but be honest about your use with your surgeon and anesthesiologist so that you can have the best outcome. In general, you should quite smoking many weeks, ideally 6 weeks before surgery, and not smoke for at least 2 weeks after surgery.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

How long will I have had to stop smoking before I can get breast implants?

Hello! Thank you for your question! The issue with nicotine is that it also acts as a vasoconstrictor, clamping down of blood vessels. Blood supply is always of great concern during any surgical procedure, but especially in such a procedure as a mastopexy where the viability of the nipple-areolar complex is obviously important. Since the vascularity to the area is already tenuous since it will be raised by cutting around the area, maximizing blood flow to the tissue is critical.

Typically, we recommend at least 6 weeks of smoking cessation prior to and at least 6 weeks after any surgical procedure. The longer, the better. Nicotine always increases the risk for infection, nipple necrosis, poor scarring, and wound complications, as well as other health consequences. The anesthesia risk is greater with general anesthesia as well as pulmonary issues/lung infections postoperatively. I would discuss this with your surgeon prior to your procedure. Some surgeons will refuse to operate on smokers and may check urine or blood levels prior.  Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Stop Smoking Two or more months prior to surgery

. Most experts unanimously agree that smoking increases the rate of  breast augmentation surgical complications significantly. Just about all plastic surgeons strongly recommend  women  to stop smoking and all nicotine products well in advance of breast augmentation with breast implants.  Many plastic surgeons recommend stopping all tobacco products several months prior to surgery.A scientific article in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicated that, among all forms of surgery, quitting smoking eight weeks prior was never associated with an increased risk of complications.

Here is the reason why: the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products (including Nicorette gum, patches, etc) is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it makes the Smoking is a significant multiplier of many potential complications following surgery and breast augmentation with implants are no exception. Nicotine from smoking causes blood vessels to vasoconstrict ( tighten up). Over time, these constricted arteries and capillaries deliver less blood to the breast tissue which is needed for normal healing. Smokers therefore have an increased incidence of higher likelihood of complications such as infection, and in particular capsular contracture (hardening and distortion of the implants). General complications of surgery such as blood clots, anesthetic problems such as pneumonia are also increased. For a tummy tuck there is increased likelihood of both an infection and loss of skin because of inadequate circulation.

In young patients you will probably statistically avoid these complications, why tempt fate by increasing your odds that something bad will happen. .On a long term basis, smoking also causes accelerated aging of the skin and loss of elasticity. Hopefully these reasons will help give you the will power and courage to stop smoking.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Cigarettes and breast implants

Dear patient,
While it is not essential to stop smoking prior to breast augmentation surgery, it is recommended to stop 2 weeks prior to surgery. The reasons being: to speed the healing process, and to avoid respiratory complications.


Smoking and breast augmentation.

I recommend for my patients to stop smoking at least 4 weeks prior to surgery if possible. Smoking will affect everything from anesthesia to healing from the operation. It is also important to know that smoking replacement or nicotine replacement therapies may need to be avoided. In particular is Chantix as it can interfere with the metabolism of many common anesthetics. Staying smoke free during the recovery period is also recommended for an additional 4 weeks. For many patients, they find that this requirement gives them a goal to stop smoking altogether. Best of luck!

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Breast Implants and Smoking

We ask our patients to avoid nicotine or nicotine products for six weeks before and six weeks after surgery to decrease infection and promote better healing.  Some surgeons feel smoking, over the long haul, contributes to capsule formation.   All the best, "Dr. Joe" Gryskiewicz

Smoking and Breast Augmentation

Any flaps like tummy tuck, facelift, and breast lift have higher complications of skin necrosis with smokers, and most Board Certified Plastic Surgeons would not do these surgery's  if you are smoking.  We do know from surgery center stats that you have a four time higher chance of infection to the surgical wound if you are a smoker.  That being said, smoking is not a contraindication for breast augmentation, and I do this surgery on smokers frequently.  But smoking will increase your risks of anesthetic complications.  There is nothing harder to quit as a habit than smoking, but it would be much better for you.

Dan Mills, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

How Long Do I Need to Stop Smoking Before I Can Get Breast Implants?

There are really only 3 operations where I insist that patients stop smoking. Facelift, Breast Lift and Tummy Tuck...Now of course, you should not smoke but for just  Breast Augmentation, you should do fine with maybe just a bit more coughing when you wake up from anesthesia. There was a rumor for years about increased capsular contracture in smokers but that may not be true.

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Smoking and surgery

I prefer that patients stop smoking about four weeks prior to surgery and remain off cigarettes for four more weeks. Preferably avoid second hand smoke as well.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 23 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.