What is the least amount of days I can quit smoking before a nicotine blood test for breast reduction surgery?

Doctor Answers 4

Risks of smoking to breast reduction

The risks of smoking before breast reduction are high, that is unless one doesn't mind a higher chance of the nipple turning black and dead and falling off.  In addition, there are also risks of poor healing. Wounds that stay open for longer than expected have a higher risk of infection.  Any  of these types of complications may require additional surgery, harsh antibiotics, prolonged wound care, and a less than optimal cosmetic result.

The nicotine assessment test is designed to protect you from these complications, or at least reduce your risk of having them compared to an active smoker. 

Trying to figure out how to smoke as long as possible while still achieving a negative test, is not a productive way to look at the situation.  What you really need to know is how soon you need to quit before the negative effects of nicotine will no longer be there to affect your blood supply and wound healing.  No one can definitively tell you that  because the test only assesses nicotine metabolites, not your personal physiology. 

Most board-certified plastic surgeons will recommend that you quit smoking for at least 4 weeks prior to surgery in order to decrease your risk of complications.  Of course, we want you to quit indefinitely to protect your health and beauty! 

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Smoking and Risk of Complications


You should be more worried about nipple necrosis, skin necrosis, and poor healing rather than passing a test. You need a minimum of 2 weeks to allow carbon monoxide levels in your blood dissipate. Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

What is the least amount of days I can quit smoking before a nicotine blood test for breast reduction surgery?

Congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery; this operation tends to be one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

Recommendations will vary from one practice to another;  therefore your plastic surgeon will have the most relevant recommendations for you. In my practice, I ask patients to avoid  nicotine in all its "modalities' of delivery 6 weeks prior to surgery. It is a powerful constrictor of blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to the “flaps” used during these procedures. This decreased blood flow could potentially lead to wound healing problems and/or tissue necrosis. 

Best advice: avoid nicotine completely as long as possible prior to surgery and then do not restart.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Smoking and breast surgery

The question you should probably ask is why should I quit smoking before breast reduction. I will assume you know all the reasons not to smoke in the long run such as lung disease, heart disease, arterial disease, etc. The reason plastic surgeons have concerns about smoking around breast reduction surgery is to try to limit your chance of complications. Smoking inhibits wound healing by decreasing blood flow to the tissues. During breast reduction surgery, the nipple is routinely moved and to do so the blood flow to the nipple as well as the breast skin is altered. Combine this with the negative effects of tobacco use, the risk of wound healing and nipple complications is significantly increased. Smoking is not good for you hearth and it is expensive. Seek out a smoking cessation program and do your best to stop. Good luck.

Eric E. Wegener, MD
Jackson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.