How Does Smoking Affect Breast Reduction Surgery? What if I Smoke One Cigarette a Day?

Doctor Answers 16

Smokin and surgery

The short answer to your question is that smoking before and after surgery is bad for wound healing -- even one cigarette a day is bad.  The reason is that the nicotine in cigarettes impairs blood flow to the tissues.  Surgery will also stress the blood flow to the skin along the incisions.   The combination of both surgery and smoking will jeopardize the blood flow enough that you could have skin breakdown, skin loss, or even lose your nipple after a breast reduction surgery.  As others have already told you, please stop smoking in preparation for your surgery so that you can have the best outcome possible.  Good luck!


Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Smoking Not Recomended for any type of surgical procedure

Dear May,

Smoking one cigarette a day can be disastrous! Please do yourself a favor and abstain completely until you are a few weeks post op. Not only does nicotine deprive the tissues from blood, it also carries (along with other nutrients involved in healing) antibiotics to help fight infection. So not worth the risk!

Kind regards,

Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 209 reviews

Smoking before and after surgery

Thank you for your question. It is super important that you quit. Smoking before surgery may increase procedure risks and problems with healing. Nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict which means they decrease in their size and blood flow thorough them drops off. Nicotine can also make the blood clot more easily which can further clog small blood vessels and capillaries. These effects are extremely serious because they decrease the blood supply to the tissues, can result in wounds not healing, and can result in some devastating complications. Best option is to quit smoking over all! Best of luck!Dhaval M. Patel Double board certified Plastic surgeon Hoffman Estates BarringtonOakbrook Chicago

Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 79 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.

Smoking and breast reduction

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.

Smoking and surgery

Here are the major points of smoking Tobacco or Marijuana before or after surgery:
1. There is nicotine in tobacco, but not in marijuana. However, most joints are rolled with marijuana and tobacco combination. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor that decreases blood flow to the tissues. This is the major problems that can cause a very bad outcome in some surgeries. In a breast augmentation, there is not a lot of risk as there are not a lot of incisions which decrease blood flow to the tissues. In a breast lift or tummy tuck, on the other hand, there is much longer and more involved incisions. The decrease in blood flow to the tissues in combination with the decrease in blood flow from the nicotine can cause tissue to die. This can cause part of the breast or nipple, or in the case of a tummy tuck, part of the belly tissue to die, resulting in a very bad outcome. This is especially bad in breast reductions or face lifts. Marijuana without tobacco does not cause this problem, or marijuana in an edible fashion. Vaporizers do not decrease the amount of nicotine in tobacco, only decrease the smoke.
2. There is carbon monoxide in both tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke. Carbon monoxide decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin in the blood. This is different from the vasoconstrictor effect, but has the same result of having the risk of tissue death in conjunction with surgeries that decrease the blood flow to tissues such as breast lifts and tummy tucks, as opposed to an augmentation alone that does not decrease blood flow to as great of an extent. Again, edible forms of marijuana do not have smoke, and thus carbon monoxide poisoning.
3. Coughing. Both tobacco and marijuana smoke disrupt the lining of the lungs and bronchi and can lead to coughing episodes. Coughing episodes can lead to internal bleeding after surgery that can lead to hematomas and complications, and again a bad outcome. Again, edible forms of marijuana does not have this effect.
4. Anesthesia effects. Marijuana can have drug interactions with certain anesthetic drugs. Thus it is important to tell your anesthesiologist about your marijuana use.
In conclusion, Smoking, whether it be tobacco or marijuana, is detrimental to your surgery outcome. Edible marijuana is much less so, but be honest about your use with your surgeon and anesthesiologist so that you can have the best outcome. In general, you should quite smoking many weeks, ideally 6 weeks before surgery, and not smoke for at least 2 weeks after surgery.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

How does smoking affect breast reduction surgery? What if I smoke one cigarette a day?

Hello! Thank you for your question! The issue with nicotine 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 a mastopexy 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 and at least 6 weeks after any surgical procedure. The longer, the better. Nicotine always increases the risk for infection, nipple necrosis, poor scarring, and wound complications, as well as other health consequences including blood clots. The anesthesia risk is greater with general anesthesia as well as pulmonary issues/lung infections postoperatively. 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 24 reviews

Smoking: Don't Do It!

Thank you for the question.
 The use of nicotine (as in any form)  can lead to devastating complications after surgical procedures. Nicotine is a potent constrictor of blood vessels, preventing the delivery of oxygen etc. to surgical sites  that require good  blood flow to heal. The resulting decreased blood flow leads to potential problems with healing, tissue necrosis, open wounds,  infections…
Don't even think about the use of nicotine around the time of your surgery.
Best wishes
 

Smoking is an unnecessary risk during breast reduction

Smoking will rob the healing tissue of the oxygen needed to heal and is a risk to any surgical procedure. You should quit altogether three to six weeks before your reduction.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

No smoking after breast reduction surgery!

Tissues need oxygen from blood flow in order to survive. With a breast lift (mastopexy) or breast reduction, the tissues are rearranged in a way that reduces blood flow for a while. Nicotine from any source constricts blood vessels, further reducing blood flow. The combination of the surgery and nicotine can lead to tissue death (necrosis) even after one cigarette. It's an unnecessary risk.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 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.