10 Reasons You Should Quit Smoking Before Cosmetic Surgery

The Dangers of Smoking before or after your Cosmetic Surgery

Smoking impacts your immune processes and reduces your blood flow and your ability to heal. As a result, not only is healing and recovery slowed down, you run a higher risk of complications during or after your procedure. Smoking is dangerous and detrimental to your well-being – especially if you’ve just had plastic surgery. Smoking, Nicotine, Cannabis, Breast Surgery and Tummy Tucks: a sure-fire way to ruin your results and health. Please avoid complications like a wound breakdown and stop smoking before surgery.

Here are the top 10 reasons you need to quit smoking long before you have cosmetic or plastic surgery such as breast augmentation, abdominoplasty or other procedures.

10 Reasons to Quit Smoking Before your Breast Surgery or Abdominoplasty

dangers-of-smoking-before-cosmetic-surgery-breast-implants - 10 reasons to quit

If you’re wanting to have breast surgery or a tummy tuck, be aware that any form of smoking before or after cosmetic surgery – is a major no-no.

That warning applies equally to smoking and/or vaping including:

  • nicotine and tobacco
  • flavoured herbs
  • cannabis

Why do we recommend you stop smoking? Smoking increases your bruising and infection risks, even after having cosmetic facial injections.

1. Smoking Delays Healing

  • Recovery after surgery takes longer if you smoke.
  • Your skin won’t heal as smoothly or readily as it otherwise might.
  • Skin healing is compromised due to lower uptake of important nutrients when you smoke, especially Vitamin C – a necessary nutrient for your  healing and recovery.
  • Learn why Vitamin C is so important to cosmetic surgery recovery processes, and how deficient uptake of nutrients leaves smoker’s skin looking WORSE and more readily wrinkled at an earlier age (more links below).

2. Infection Risks Last Longer

  • Delayed wound healing also means your wound vulnerability to infections lasts longer.
  • Wounds may break down or fall prey to bacteria contamination and staph infections – all of which will be more difficult to treat if you are smoking.
  • This risk not only impacts your overall safety, but you could also end up with a horrific wound infection and terrible looking scar.

3. Higher Risks of Fatal Complications whilst smoking  (Blood Clot/DVT)

  • Smoking is a recognised risk factor for strokes, blood clots/deep vein thrombosis and other circulatory diseases.
  • Surgery intermittently increases your risks and smoking makes your risks worse in view of pulmonary embolisms, DVTs or blood clots.

4. Skin Could Turn Necrotic (Tissue Death)

  • Your blood cells and circulation aren’t optimal if you smoke at all, even a few per day.
  • After surgery, your tissues and skin could become permanently damaged (necrotic/tissue ischemia “tissue death”) due to poor organ function (lungs, blood, dermal tissues, kidneys, more).
  • This partially relates to skin repair functions being so compromised by smoking (down-regulated collagen synthesis).

5. Medication Requirements May Be Higher

  • Tobacco, nicotine and cannabis are all drugs that down-regulate the effects of other substances, drugs and prescribed medications (including antibiotics and pain relief).
  • This means you tend to need more caffeine, more pain control, and more medications to keep your levels balanced.
  • You may even drink more alcohol when you have a cigarette or smoking addiction because you’ll likely combine these two habits – and you’ll need higher levels of alcohol to feel intoxicated when you smoke versus stay smoke-free – this can further compound the problems smoking adds to your recovery period.

6. You’re Unlikely to Exercise as Much

  • To sustain your abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or breast surgery results, you need to stay fit and healthy.
  • This means maintaining a stable weight.
  • But if your lungs won’t let you exercise to stay fit and healthy, you could end up with dangerous cardiovascular health and weight changes.
  • Also, instead of walking or going to the gym at your lunch break, you’ll be tempted to smoke instead – not good!

7.  Smoking Causers Lower Immunity Meaning Your Body is Less Likely to Cope with Bacteria

  • Breast implant surgery needs to be done in as sterile an environment as possible.
  • Even so, bacteria are everywhere – and if there is contamination around your surgery site, your body will have .greater difficulty fighting it – this could lead to systemic issues or further problems down the track.

8.  Your Breasts Might be More Prone to Bottoming Out – and Fat Transfer to Face is Unlikely to Take Well

  • If your skin is weaker than it would be due to collagen deficiency, your skin will age prematurely.
  • Breast implants could ‘bottom out’ prematurely in terms of implant position due to lack of skin strength.
  • If you have fat transfer to the face, fat is less likely to survive in patients who smoke.

9.  Waste of Financial Resources

  • Cigarettes, tobacco and cannabis cost a lot to buy (not to mention can be illegal).
  • Once you have a new flatter belly after a tummy tuck or more shapely breasts after a breast augmentation or breast reduction or Breast lift, wouldn’t you rather enjoy new clothing, a better swimsuit or an overseas adventure instead of wasting it on cigarettes?

10. Quitting Smoking Before Cosmetic Surgery May Be the Catalyst to Stay Smoke-Free

  • Wanting to have cosmetic surgery, needing to quit before the surgery date and wanting to feel and look better afterwards – has motivated many former-smokers to remain smoke-free (research finding).
  • If you recognise most people only quit smoking after trying several times – up to 20 – then this is a great time to become inspired to be sure the efforts work – seek professional advice for your addictions.
  • You also may feel happier about yourself after having surgery (this can vary, but many patients write on forums they feel more appearance satisfaction and camera-confidence after surgery, and they want to preserve their bodies in a healthier way by saying no to smoking).
  • Except: “The reduced capacity for wound repair is a particular concern in patients undergoing plastic or reconstructive surgery. Compared with nonsmokers, smokers have a higher incidence of unsatisfactory healing after face-lift surgery, as well as a greater degree of complications following breast surgery.”

Why is Smoking Before or After Cosmetic Surgery a Very Bad Idea?

Smoking harms an incredible amount of vital body processes, including your:

  • brain chemistry
  • moods
  • hormones
  • fertility
  • skin health
  • retinal functions
  • dental health
  • nasal passages
  • lungs
  • vocal cords
  • blood circulation
  • immune functions and more

Further, smoking can even down-regulated other substances and leads to co-addictions. So smoking at any time – no matter how little – means you’re compromising your journey and your surgery results. Why pay for the cost of a breast augmentation or tummy tuck if you haven’t quit yet? You’ll likely only end up in strife and disappointed.

About Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein FRACS is one of Melbourne’s Best Specialist Plastic Surgeons for breast and tummy surgery.

He has been rated as a Top 3 Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne and rated a Top 5 Plastic Surgeon on the ‘Best in Australia’ website. 

Dr Rubinstein offers women personalised tummy surgery and all forms of cosmetic breast surgery.

He uses only the highest quality Motiva breast implants and is renowned for his natural-looking, long-lasting results.


Next Steps in Your Surgical Journey

Want more information about your Procedure?

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery

About Your First Consultation

  • Dr Rubinstein’s Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential.
  • You need a medicare referral in order to claim any medicare benefits or Health Insurance for plastic surgery,
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.

What to Bring to your Consultation

  • You are more than welcome to bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents provided.
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.

*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general. For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation. Read further information about surgical outcome variability on our Disclaimer page.