How long should I stop smoking before tummy tuck and breast lift?

Hello I am 27. I started smoking around 3 months ago, I never though that i have to stop smoking before any surgery. no one asked if i smoke. Since i haven't been smoking for a long time, will that affect my healing? I will stop smoking today which is Aug 28th 2015. I am going to have my surgery around Sep 10. I am very anxious, Sep is my month off work and if i haven't done the surgery by then, i will have to wait till next year. I will delay my surgery if that will ruin the procedure. Thanks

Doctor Answers 25

Smoking and Healing

Smoking may affect your #healing and the end result of your surgery. It's best to call your plastic #surgeon to better clarify. It is encouraged to refrain from cigarettes prior surgery and post op in order decrease the chance of complications and promote better healing. Therefore, the farther in advance prior surgery and the more time after the procedure, you can avoid #smoking, the better it may be for your surgical #outcomes and your overall #health. It's also very important to implement healthy lifestyle choices to not only prolong your surgical results, but most importantly, to reduce your risk of illness and disease which will impact your health. If you find it difficult to quit smoking, speak to your physician who can provide information and programs that are properly designed to help you quit. 

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Smoking and BA

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.
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.
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.
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
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

How long should I stop smoking before tummy tuck and breast lift

Thank you for your question. The risks of complciations from smoking is very serious.  I would highly recommend discontinuing all nicotine products 4-8 weeks before surgery.  Best wishes.

Jeff Angobaldo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Smoking and poor healing


Ideally? give yourself as much time as possible. A minimum of one month before and after is ideal,  preferably longer. I will allow a 2 week minimum, both before and after, provided the patient's whole health picture is good.

You run the risk of healing badly/slowly and as a result of incisions slow to close and poor perfusion, infection risk is higher, risk of scarring is worse...

Talk to your Doctor about ways to help you quit. It will be worth it.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Stop smoking before tummy tuck and breast lift

It is imperative that you do not smoke for this operation. Science has shown us how dangerous cigarette smoking is to your circulation and healing. The sooner you go off cigarettes before surgery the better. Two weeks is better than nothing. Many doctors will not operate on you unless you stop smoking for at least 6 months. This is all for your own protection. Particularly in operations like tummy tuck and breast lift, where we cut the blood supply to tissue, lift it up, and then close it with tension, smoking is a particular danger.

Marshall T. Partington, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Smoking with a tummy tuck can be disastrous!

I insist on at least 4 weeks before a surgery like a tummy tuck.  It takes 2 weeks to get the nicotine out of your system (that hurts your healing) but it takes 4 weeks or more to get the crap out of your lungs so you don't cough like crazy after surgery.  You can have significant wound healing problems that can ruin your result and endanger your life!  Talk to you surgeon and be brutally honest.  You cannot smoke and have these surgeries done.  If that means rescheduling, then so be it.  It's not worth risking your health or wasting your money!

Robert S. Houser, DO
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

No nicotine 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after tummy tuck

The main issue is nicotine from any source, because it is a vasoconstrictor meaning that it constricts the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the tissues. With breast lifts, tummy tucks and similar procedures such as facelifts, the skin is put on tension in a way that stresses the blood flow. If you add the effect of nicotine, circulation can be cut off completely to some of the skin and it would then result in very serious complications. If you are not using any substitute nicotine such as patches or gum, the 2-week interval before surgery should be OK.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Cessation of smoking prior to a mommy makeover.

Most plastic surgeons would ask that you refrain from smoking for two weeks prior to elective cosmetic surgery. Some may insist on a longer interval. Smoking itself is not a contraindication to surgery but it does increase risks.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

How long should I stop smoking before tummy tuck and breast lift?

In general, the longer the time following cessation of smoking prior to surgery lowers one's risk of healing problems following certain surgeries such as tummy tuck and breast lift. It takes roughly 6 months to get down to the same risk level as a non-smoker although in many cases quitting three weeks prior to your surgery is safe. This can depend on the techniques used. Be honest with your surgeon to assess your risk with regards to this.

George Volpe, MD
Newton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Elective surgery and smoking

Hi, there.  Thanks for your question.  There are many reasons why we want our patients to stop smoking; but most relevant to surgery is that smoking decreases  tissue perfusion and increases risk for wound healing problem.  Depending on the extent of surgery, I usually ask my patients to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery and two week afterward.  Ideally, 4 weeks prior and 4 week post surgery is better.  Please make sure that your surgeon and surgical team are aware of your smoking history.  Ask for his/her recommendation.  I understand wanting mommy makeover; however, for elective procedures, you want to make sure that you are optimized for surgery and recovery.  Best wishes.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 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.