I recently had an abdominal mesh wall put in me. Can I smoke a cigarette?

Doctor Answers 10

Smoking after Abdominal Mesh

Bad idea. I would urge you not to smoke following surgery. It definitely leads to tissue death for many reasons. The biggest is the effect of nicotine. So I would strongly suggest you avoid nicotine gum or patches or vaping with nicotine containing liquid. The greater the undermining of tissue, the greater the chance of fat or skin loss. So, if it was with an abdominoplasty, you're a set up for a large tissue loss. If it was a hernia repair alone, the chances of tissue loss are less, but the chance of a really bad outcome is real. So sorry. Smoking is a bad addiction, but tissue breakdown with the need for additional surgery is worse. Try your best not to smoke.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

No smoking after surgery

No. Smoking is bad for your health, period, but it will definitely adversely affect your healing process. It can lead to infection and even necrosis. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Smoking after surgery

Thank you for your question.

As a general rule of thumb, smoking or exposure to smoke will decrease the ability of the skin to heal properly resulting in unsightly scarring and higher risk for infection and more importantly, skin loss in the central abdomen, sometimes requiring a skin graft. Your best bet is to use this time not using nicotine as a springboard into possibly not smoking anymore. Best of luck to you in your recovery!

Fred Hackney, MD (retired)
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Smoking after surgery

In general, smoking is not a good idea period.  If you are going to have surgery and are a smoker, it is best to stop at least 2-4 weeks prior and to remain off for 2-4 weeks after or until you are fully healed. Best to review with your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

I recently had an abdominal mesh wall put in me. Can I smoke a cigarette?

Sorry to be a grammar hound, but of course you CAN, and NO, you shouldn't. You didn't say how far after surgery you are, but I suspect you are not completely healed, and we know definitively that nicotine causes vasoconstriction that can lead to ischemia, reduced healing, and sometimes necrosis and dead skin/tissue.

Do you really "need" a cigarette so much that you would risk infected/exposed mesh and loss of your repair?

Ask your doctor for Chantix or Zyban, but understand that nicotine patch, gum. or spray can still have the same negative effects, so these (nicotine-containing) choices are out. But stop and stay stopped. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Can I smoke after having abdominal surgery using a mesh for my abdominal repair?

Thanks for the question.  Is it known that smoking will help me heal a wound and should have no influence on me at this time, the answer is NO! If my desire is to try to heal a more difficult abdominal wound that required me having mesh used in the first place to attempt good healing, the answer is YES!  Do the right thing and try to help your doctor.

Good luck to you.

Frank Rieger M.D.  Tampa Plastic Surgeon

Smoking after surgery

thank you for your question.  Obviously smoking is bad for your general health and every surgeon has their own criteria regarding the use of nicotine and nicotine products around the time of surgery. I advise my patients to refrain from any nicotine use 6 weeks pre and postoperatively.  This is a discussion best had with your operative surgeon.

James Shoukas, MD
Lake Mary Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Can I Smoke?

Thank you for your question.  "Can" and "Should" are two very different things.  In general, you shouldn't smoke for general health reasons, and around the time of surgery it may affect healing.  I recommend contacting your surgeon to ask what your postoperative restrictions are in terms of smoking.


Dr. Dan Krochmal

MAE Plastic Surgery

Northbrook, IL

Daniel Krochmal, MD
Chicago General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Smoking after mesh

Smoking delays healing and predisposes you to other potential complications. Review your question with your surgeon.  We encourage patients to not smoke for at least one month before and after surgery but every surgeon has their own preferences.  Best wishes. 

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

I recently had an abdominal mesh wall put in me. Can I smoke a cigarette?

Depending on how long ago your surgery was performed,I would likely advise you to avoid the use of nicotine of any kind. As you likely know, nicotine is a  powerful vasoconstrictor and can reduce blood flow to any healing incision line.  Run this question by your surgeon for more specific thoughts.  Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,502 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.