Will smoking marijuana before breast augmentation cause any problems during my surgery or after?

My surgery is on July 21st. I have my medical card and smoke marijuana because of chronic back pain. I was told by my surgeon I would need to quit smoking 3-4 weeks prior to my surgery but instead i quit two weeks before and decided to smoke once tonight because my back hurt so bad. I am very nervous and feel I should call my surgeons office tomorrow and let them know. I just don't want them to have to push back my surgery date. :(

Doctor Answers 13

Smoking marijuana around time of breast augmentation

Thank you for your question.  Marijuana does not contain nicotine, which is the vasoconstrictor that causes wound healing problems.  Smoking marijuana will make your lungs more reactive and your airway more reactive (mucous production, irritated, provoke coughing).  Best to quit around the time of surgery if you can.  With such small incisions with breast augmentation, it is unlikely to cause any major healing issues.  

Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 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 150 reviews

Smoking marijuana 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 generally ask patients to stop a couple months ahead of surgery and then for a couple months after surgery.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Will smoking marijuana before breast augmentation cause any problems during my surgery or after?

Hello! Thank you for your question! The issue with nicotine, or other inhalants in smoke, 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 breast surgery 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 any surgical procedure. Nicotine and others always increase the risk for infection and wound complications, as well as other health consequences, especially with general anesthesia and pulmonary issues. I would discuss this with your surgeon prior to your procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


You should call your surgeon and push back your surgery date. It's not worth the risk. 

Dr. Burnett

Carlos Burnett, MD, FACS
Westfield Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Smoking and Surgery

This is a good question that I'm asked more frequently all the time.  There is a clear link between smoking cigarettes and wound healing problems.  In my opinion it is not the nicotine in regular cigarettes that is the main offender in increased wound healing complications.  Smoke of any kind has chemical products that impair our bodies ability to function normally.  I have had many experiences of poor wound healing in smoking trauma patients that could not wait for surgery. I insist that my breast augmentation patients not smoke anything for two months prior to surgery.  If you are in doubt I would suggest you talk this over with your surgeon.

Chris Thomson, MD
Saskatchewan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Marijuana and Surgery

This is a great question. Due to your marijuana use being prescribed there should be no problem with your surgeon. I have not found any increased complications due to marijuana use. Just make sure that you are not adding any tobacco products to your marijuana. 

Rami Ghurani, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 286 reviews


I have told my patients to go ahead and smoke before and afterwards. I think for a routine augmentation the relaxation is probably helpful.

Jonathan Saunders, MD
Newark Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews


The relationship between you and your surgeon should be one of trust, and if you don't trust his judgement, you should not have chosen that surgeon. 

Assuming you are having just a breast augmentation, it is unlikely that this will cause a delay. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews


I instruct my patients not to smoke anything including marijuana before surgery. Although some anesthesiologist believe it may reduce nausea and vomiting after general anesthesia.

Stuart A. Linder, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 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.