What complications can occur with smoking one cigarette post-op?

I had a breast augmentation three days ago and caved in and smoked one cigarette... I am not going to smoke anymore but will this one cigarette affect my healing process at all? I am 21 years old and read that the younger you are, the less complications are to occur with the healing process if you smoke.... Should I be worried about this one cigarette??

Doctor Answers 12

Cigarettes and healing

Nicotine from cigarettes, patches, gum, etc. constricts blood vessels which restricts blood flow to the healing tissues.  This can result in slower healing and higher risk of complications such as infection and poor wound healing.  While one cigarette will unlikely have an effect, regular nicotine use can.  It is best to stop completely.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews


One cigarette will not likely adversely affect your recovery however cigarettes can impair blood flow and slow or complicate healing. I recommend that you stop completely to ensure optimal results.
All the best

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews


Hi, thank you for your question. If you only have one cigarette it will unlikely have an effect with your healing. However it is best to stop it now to prevent delayed wound healing and for fast wound recovery.

Boonchai Taweerattanasil, MD
Thailand Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

What complications can occur with smoking one cigarette post-op?

Hello dear, thanks for your question and provided information as well.. The breasts may lose their elasticity and firmness which can be caused by different factors such as pregnancy, massive weight loss, lactation and aging. To reaffirm the breasts and restore the natural look your surgeon can perform a mastopexy or breast lift. A breast lift restores a firmer, perkier, and more aesthetically pleasing shape to sagging breasts. This not only can improve a patient’s appearance by restoring her youthful, feminine proportions, but  also help bras and swimsuits fit more comfortably and attractively. By removing excess, stretched out skin, reshaping the breast tissue, and raising the nipple & areola into a more forward position, a cosmetic surgeon can create a more youthful breast contour. Stretched, large areolae can also be reduced during breast lift surgery, creating an overall better proportioned, natural looking breast, Actually the perkiness on a person or another, depends on patients skin and breast tissue… Breast augmentation surgery increases or restores breast size using silicone gel implants, saline implants or in some cases, fat transfer. One of the most popular and frequently performed aesthetic surgery procedures, breast augmentation has a long and successful track record in satisfying women who wish to enhance, regain or restore balance to their figures.

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 396 reviews

Smoking after surgery

Thank you for your question. Smoking can slow down the healing process and cause complications but it is unlikely that one cigarette will do you any harm.  

Daniel Shapiro, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Breast Augmentation Recovery

I ask my patients to stop smoking before and after surgery for three to four weeks. It can assist in the healing and allow normal recovery.

Frank J. Ferraro, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Smoking one cigarette

Thank you for your question.  Smoking one cigarette is unlikely to case healing issues.  Nicotine in cigarette smoking causes constriction of blood vessels and therefore, restricts blood flow.  I wish you best of luck.

One cigarette

Thank you for the question ,and the one cigarette will likely not have any adverse effects on your recovery. Do remember that any amounts of nicotine found in patches, gums, E-Cigarettes, cigarettes or tobacco products should be avoided all together to decrease the risk of known surgical complications. Nicotine is bad enough for tissue healing and recovery as already mentioned, but there may be other toxins, bi-products and chemicals in tobacco products, smokeless tobacco, gums and patches that you will want to stay well clear of.

Benjamin J. Cousins M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Benjamin J. Cousins, MD
Miami Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Smoking post-op

Smoking a pack of cigarettes does several things to the body related to post operational healing. It will slow down healing in several ways. First, it changes the way hemaglobin a molecule that carries oxygen functions. It prevents the hemaglobin from carrying as much oxygen as usual, while also constraining blood vessels to be narrower and causing blood to thicken, making it much harder for oxygen to reach healing tissues. Secondly it has also been shown that smoking limits the activity of certain infection fighting blood cells that keep healing incisions from becoming infected. It may also be possible that chemicals in smoke increase inflammation in tissues and affects the way the body interprets pain, causing a smoker to have increased pain over a non-smoker post-operation. 
Smoking one cigarette should not cause any post-op issues. Be careful. Best wishes.

Traci Temmen, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


If you only had a breast augmentation and no lift, there is no effect. Obviously, you should stop smoking forever, but for B.A. one cigarette has no effect.                                     .

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 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.