I'm having breast augmentation in 5 days and I just quit smoking - is that enough time for the nicotine leave my body?

Smoking before breast augmentation

Doctor Answers 16

Smoking Cigarettes And Breast Augmentation

Smoking cigarettes is, as you know, very dangerous to your health.  The nicotine causes blood vessels to be smaller (vaso constriction) and the smoke itself allows you to breathe in the breakdown products of combustion, i.e. carbon monoxide.  The carbon monoxide is out of your body in about 48 hours.  The nicotine acts on your tissue for a much greater time.  

Each plastic surgeon has his or her own rules for when to quit smoking before any particular surgery.  There are many variables that have to be considered when answering you question.  Are you smoking e-cigarettes, regular cigarettes, how many in a day - all of these will have some bearing on how your question is answered. 

It has been my experience that if your route of entry for the breast implant is through the armpit, then it is not necessary to quit smoking because of the augmentation.  However, decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day will be better for your recovery from the anesthesia.  Also, smoker's cough can increase the chance of post operative bleeding.  Breast augmentations through the nipple (periareolar) or inframammary incision don't fare well if the patient is smoking cigarettes.  If you were my patient and I was doing a periareolar or inframammary incision, I would have you off cigarettes for a minimum of one month.

Breast Augmentation | Smoking

Thank you for your question.

Not that smoking is a good thing, but it typically does not interfere with breast augmentation.

To be sure, see two or more experienced, board-certified Plastic Surgeons for a complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery.

I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

Smoking and surgery

Thank you for your question.

Stopping smoking is great.  You should be off all nicotine containing products like gum or patches as well.  Nicotine is the issue with regard to healing as the other doctors have responded.

In general with procedures that require skin undermining like facelift or breastlift or tummy tuck most plastic surgeons will require patient to avoid all nicotine for at least three weeks prior to surgery and for three weeks after surgery.

In my opinion, a breast augmentation does not have the same risks to wound healing and while I encourage patients to stop smoking many cannot or will not stop. I have not encountered any would healing problems in patients having a breast augmentation who smoke.

Make sure of the requirements of your surgeon.

Good luck.

Ralph R. Garramone, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

How long to quit smoking before Breast Augmentation

Nicotine typically leaves the body within a week and terrific that you quit smoking before surgery.  Nicotine affects circulation and wound healing, so it should be most certainly avoided during the healing period.  I usually recommend my patients stop smoking or any nicotine products for six weeks before and six weeks after surgery. 

Jose M. Soler-Baillo, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Smoking and surgery

Congratulations!  I advise my patients to stop smoking at least for 6 weeks prior to surgery, especially for an elective surgery.  Delayed wound healing is a common problem after surgery for smokers.  If you can wait a month at least, you would be better off and have a nicer result. 

Chad Robbins, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Smoking and surgery

Congrats on the smoking cessation!  
I generally recommend a minimum of 6 weeks of smoking cessation before and after surgery.  It is a very difficult habit to quit, but it will reduce your risk of complications, and if you are able to stop completely, then it will definitely have a lot of other long-term health benefits.  If you are looking to do all you can do to minimize your complication rate, then I would recommend postponing for another 5 weeks.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews


Assuming you are not having a breast lift at the same time, you are probably OK. Five days may not be enough time to have low enough levels of nicotine, but for some procedures the added risk is rather small. Not so for any lifting procedures, such as face lift, breast lift or reduction, tummy tuck.

However, the opinions of online consultants means little--the decision is for your own surgeon.  Call now, don't wait to the morning of surgery.

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

Smoking before breast augmentation

Thank you for the question, I recommend my patients don't smoke for 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after any major surgery including breast augmentation. Even though the nicotine could be out of your system in 5 days you don't want to interfere with they healing process at all. You spend a lot of money for these elective surgeries and you don't want to compromise your ability to heal properly by smoking.

Warren Schutte, MD
Fort Collins Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Breast Augmentation and smoking

I advise all my patients to stop smoking prior to surgery to decrease complications with anesthesia such as respiratory issues and wound healing and blood flow in surgical concerns. However many patients can not stop and they sign informed consents stating they know there are increased risks with continued smoking.

To answer your question it takes about 2 weeks to clear most smoke byproducts  and nicotine out of body but 6 weeks much more ideal. I have many patients especially in breast augmentation that smoke thru out the operative phases and have no problems. Best of Luck,  stop now :-) and inform your doctor.

David Liland, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 32 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.