Is Smoking Completely off Limits During Recovery Period?

Doctor Answers 8

Protect your investment: Don't Smoke!

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Smoking even one cigarette will limit your blood flow and increase the chances of wound complications. Tummy Tucks require a large time and financial commitment. Don't risk your investment by smoking. Health wise, its best not to smoke at all, but it's imperative not to smoke during your recovery.

Best of luck.

Smoking during recovery period for tummy tuck

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Smoking 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. Please be honest with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Together you can make a plan to quit and proceed with surgery. The amount of time between quitting and surgery will depend on the Plastic Surgeon and the procedure.

Smoking & Recovery After a Tummy Tuck

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Smoking is detrimental to skin survival and will cause other increased problems including infection, skin loss, and pneumonias. Do not smoke.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Smoking after surgery

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Hello and thank you for your question.


In my practice, not only is smoking completely off limits, but ANY nicotine containing items are as well! That includes gum, patch, etc.  It is the nicotine that has a deleterious effect on wound healing.
Smoking may increase complications and delay healing.

Good luck to you.

Cosmetic Surgery and Smoking

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Smoking after any surgery dramatically increases the risk of complications, as the chemicals of cigarette smoke absorbed into your body through your lungs are very  toxic. The other issue is a very serious drop in oxygenation to healing tissues when you smoke, which also increases your risk of poor wound healing and infection. This drop in oxygen delivery persists for more than an hour after one cigarette and gets worse the longer you smoke.

If you are commiting time, effort and money to looking your best, why spend money to smoke and also increase your risks of a bad outcome. 

Douglas Leppink, MD
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Smoking is not good but not totally contraindicated after abdominoplasty.

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Lots of smokers have surgery. Smoking before and elective cosmetic procedures certainly wise. Cessation of smoking afterwards a good idea as well.

Smoking and tummy tuck

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Do not smoke or be around second hand smoke. The chances of skin dying or the wound separating or getting a very bad scar increase dramatically. Do not waste your money by having the procedure if you are still smoking.

Is Smoking Completely off Limits During Recovery Period?

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Easy question to answer.  Yes. 

The TT procedure, which separates the skin and fat from the underlying muscle,  deprives the abdominal skin and fat of much of its blood supply. By a separate mechanism, nicotine further diminishes blood supply and the combination can cause cell death and tissue loss resulting in a long course of dealing with complications such as open wound. 

Don't even thing about it. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.