I am having surgery in 4 days. Can a smoking patch hurt me?

Ok I am having surgery in 4 days and I just got papers from pre-opt and I have questions for you doctors.. I am a smoker and I'm wearing the patch to quit my nurse said its very important to quit but no patch bit patch is better than smoking just not day of surgery.. Can patch hurt me bad on surgery table or just my healing?? Also I drink slim fast religiously but my papers say no dietary supplements do I need to drop my slim fast or is it just talking about diet pills . I don't take them..

Doctor Answers 16

Nicotine patch and surgery

Using tobacco 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

I am having surgery in 4 days. Can a smoking patch hurt me

The bad effects from smoking are due to the nicotine in the cigarettes. The patch has the same thing so no better than smoking

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Nicotine Before Surgery

Nicotine in any form (gum, patch, vape, or any other form) can have a bad effect on your healing from plastic surgery. This is especially true in surgeries like tummy tuck, breast lift, and facelift.

My advice is to have patients quit all forms of nicotine at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. Talk specifically with your surgeon about what you should do.

Best Wishes,

Dr LoMonaco

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

Nicotine patch still has nicotine!

I ask my patients to stop smoking at least 1 month before surgery. Even 1 puff of a cigarette will cause the small blood vessels to clamp down which will decrease blood flow to certain areas. In order to heal well after surgery one wants as much blood supply to the area as possible so you can imagine how smoking can delay or even negatively affect the healing process. The unfortunate thing is that nicotine patches create this same effect! The best thing to do is to call your plastic surgeon right away and inform him that you have been using the patch. See what his thoughts are. I hope this helps.

Ankur Mehta MD

Ankur Mehta, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Nicotine patches before surgery

Nicotine constricts small blood vessels and which carry oxygen, an essential element in wound healing. It is best to stop all nicotine products several weeks before surgery. This is something that should be addressed with your surgeon.
Good luck!

Brian Widenhouse, MD
Charleston Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Smoking with Surgery in a Few Days

It is impossible to give any significant advice without more information. It is way too late if either smoking or a patch will make any difference. You should have stopped both several weeks ago. Nicotine, the worst thing in smoking and the main ingredient in the patches reduces blood supply to the skin for many weeks. This markedly increases the risk of wound and healing problems and skin death especially in those procedures that significantly undermine the skin and reduce its blood supply already. I will not do these type of cases under any circumstances unless the person has been off both for at least a month. For other cases, I warn that the risks of delayed healing are significantly increased.Also increased are the problems with anesthesia and recovery with the risk of pneumonia. I, therefore, cannot answer your question. It is something you should have discussed with your surgeon a month ago. It is good, though, that you have at least thought about it now.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Safe surgery

All surgeries carry risk. In order to minimize healing complications and other possible risks, you should maintain a healthy nutritional status and avoid anything that could affect blood flow to the area of surgery. Nicotine patches cause constriction of the small blood vessels which carry the oxygen and essential building blocks to heal surgical wounds. It is important that you discuss both your diet and nutrition plan as well as your patch before undergoing surgery to avoid any potential issues. 

Johnson C. Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Using a Nicotine Patch IS Smoking

Your question demonstrates the importance of communication and understanding between a surgeon and his patient. 
The reason most Plastic surgeons avoid operating on Nicotine users (most commonly smokers) is that they frequently have serious healing complications and substandard results associated with poor blood flow caused by the nicotine. 
Consuming nicotine in ANY way be it by chewing, inhaling or by patch is the same. 
I would urge you to discuss it with your surgeon before the morning of surgery and have both of you decide what to do. 

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Nicotine Patch and Surgery

The nicotine in tobacco products as well as nicotine patches and nicotine gums impairs wound healing.  All nicotine products should be stopped prior to surgery.  You should notify your Plastic Surgeon of your nicotine patch usage.  He or she may advise you to postpone your surgery.  

Laurence Weider, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Nicotine and surgery

Thank you for your question. It is good that you realize smoking can compromise the outcomes of surgery by delaying or preventing wound healing. It is actually the nicotine in the tobacco, or nicotine in any form including second-hand smoke, nicotine patches, gum, etc, that increases the risk for complications. Most literature recommends nicotine cessation no less than 2 weeks from the time of surgery to allow the nicotine to clear. Nicotine cessation should continue throughout the healing process or at least 6 weeks. Discuss this issue with your board certified plastic surgeon for his/her specific recommendations.

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.