Smoking Socially Post Op Breast Lift?

I only smoke socially and generally only 1 day a week and not even every week. I had a anchor incision breast lift 10 days ago. Doctor said i was healing relatively fast. ( i am 17 years old) And i was wondering if it is okay to be around people that smoke and if i could have maybe 1 or 2 cigarettes? I am just very worried about the complications. Please help! Thanks. ( and for extra information, i am pretty sure i already have some sensation in my nipples.)

Doctor Answers 11

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.


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Social smoking after breast lift

Being a "social" smoker is still smoking.  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
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Smoking and breast lift

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.

Smoking socially postop breast lift.

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 any surgical procedure. Nicotine always increases the risk for infection, nipple necrosis, and wound complications, as well as other health consequences. 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 22 reviews

Avoid Second Hand Smoke after Breast Lift

  It is best to avoid smoke of any sort for at least 6 weeks after breast lift surgery.  Although it may have little effect, why chance this?

Smoking and post-op healing

Smoking in general or even second  hand smoke can impact wound healing and should be avoided.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Smoking and surgery do not mix

Nicotine can negatively affect your body's ability for proper wound healing.  It can increase your chance for infection, and can lead to skin/tissue loss.  It is important to be nicotine free for at least 6 weeks prior to surgery and throughout your healing process.  It is not worth the risk to have even one or two cigarettes.  

Mennen T. Gallas, MD
Katy Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Let's use a choking underwater example!

You want to know if 1 or 2 cigarettes are OK? When you've been told it carries the risk of DEAD SKIN?

So, to use my example--we both know that choking you underwater for say, the amount of time it takes to smoke a cigarette and the nicotine to get out of your system, will cause you to drown, right? And you want to know if it's OK to do that "only" once or twice. Once is quite enough, thank you very much!

If you smoke even one cigarette, you COULD end up with dead skin. Maybe not, but more likely than you seem to understand. Once the skin is dead, you cannot say,"If only you had told me how important that 'rule' about non-smoking was, I would have followed it." Or, "I had NO IDEA just one cigarette (or second-hand smoke) could cause dead skin!"

A little rat poison won't kill you; you still don't ask if it's OK to eat "just a little."

BTW, nipple sensation is a sign of an intact sensory nerve, and has NOTHING to do with circulation. Trust me, if your nipple skin dies, it will lose sensation, even if the nerve is alive everywhere else!

Sorry about the shouting caps, but you knew the answer before you asked, didn't you? Please don't smoke; don't be around people who smoke; and stop "social smoking" before it becomes a nicotine addiction (more strong than cocaine or heroin). We want your breast lift to heal as it should, but as physicians we also want you to be around and healthy to enjoy your new look! Best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 234 reviews

Smoking Socially Post Op Breast Lift?

Your worry about complications is justified. The operation itself removes a lot of blood supply to the breast skin, by mechanically dividing many of the vessels that nourish the breast skin. Nicotine further aggravates the situation by narrowing the small remaining blood vessels. The consequence can be as bad as loss of some skin requiring additional surgery.

One or two cigarettes can do this.

Don't try it!! Best wishes.

Smoking after Breast Lift?

Congratulations on having undergone the breast lifting operation. You should stay away from nicotine of any kind for several additional weeks ( and hopefully forever). As you mentioned, the complications associated with smoking are significant...

 Best wishes.

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.