I'm smoking 1 cigarette a day 2 weeks after breast lift. Will this stop my healing process?

I had a breast lift on Oct 3 2014. I had been smoking free for 5 months. After 2 weeks post operation I started to have 1 cigarette a day. Is that going to interfere with the healing? Extremely worried. I have had one cigarette a day in the third week post operation. If I stop now will my healing process her back on track? How much damage have i done?

Doctor Answers 19

Smoking and Breast Lifts

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Thank you for your question. One cigarette a day is not a disaster, but a temptation for more than 1 in a day. None is ideal, but 1 is likely not a catastrophy. You know all t he smoking lectures, and increased risk of infection is also a risk factor.l Try a gum if the desire to smoke is too strong. I hope this helps!

Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Smoking after breast lift, effect on healing?

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Using tobacco products 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. A breast lift by definition places the wound on tension. Tension is also a risk factor for wounds. Please be honest with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Together you can make a plan. The amount of time to be nicotine free, (before and after the surgery), will depend on the procedure and the individual surgeon.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Smoking and BA

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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.

Smoking and breast lift

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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. Please discuss with your surgeon what their guidelines are for your particular surgery.

1 cigarette a day 2 weeks after breast lift. Will this stop my healing process

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Two weeks postoperatively, one cigarette a day will not stop the healing process. However it could slow it down and if you are having any issues with healing, could possibly cause issues. Obviously, smoking is a poor habit. The nicotine from a single cigarette prior to surgery has been shown to severely affect the outcome of certain cosmetic surgeries. One should stop.

Smoking is extremely harmful to healing wounds

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Even just a single cigarette a day can cause irreparable damage to the healing tissues.  The carbon monoxide in smoke causes the oxygen delivery to the healing tissues to be significantly altered.  There are also up to 4000 potentially poisonous compounds in cigarette smoke. You certainly should stop now.

Smoking and A breast lift

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  • A plastic surgeon and their patient should really have a pact regarding smoking both before and after surgery. The patient has to take much of the responsibility of healing. In practical terms, your small amount of smoking probably won't have a very significant effect on your healing. I like my patients to refrain from smoking for 3 to 4 weeks after this type of surgery to maximize their chance of trouble-free healing.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Smoking is not ideal

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I ask my patients to completely stop smoking 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery (minimum).  Smoking does slow down your healing and increases risk infections, wound breakdown etc.  Now, 2 weeks after surgery it's unlikely to do much but honestly, if you can stop, why not?

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 518 reviews


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Although odds are that nothing harmful will happen, it might.  I have seen major skin loss (as i needing surgery) in tummy tuck patients who began light smoking at about 2 weeks. I would stop completely.

Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Smoking after breast lift.

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Typically it is never good to smoke if you can stop. But the reality is that most patients need to be nicotine free prior to surgery and for at least a week after. So even though it's better to not smoke you probably have not done any harm at present but I would see your doctor so he can examine how the tissue is doing. 

William J. Hedden, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 334 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.