Is it Safe to Smoke Weed or Tobacco Before Plastic Surgery?

A close up of a woman in a gray shirt breaking a cigarette in half Any type of surgery, including cosmetic surgery, carries risks. Fortunately these risks are generally very low. However certain health conditions and lifestyle choices can increase these risks. most notable health conditions include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease to name a few. In addition lifestyle choices of smoking or vaping nicotine products, drinking alcohol, and using drugs including marijuana can affect your healing and recovery. During your consultation with Dr. Schuster you should be honest and discuss all of your health care issues and habits. This way, Dr. Schuster can help you to make the best choices of whether or not to proceed, which operations are best for you, and ways that you can improve your results and recovery.

If you use tobacco or any nicotine products, you will need to quit temporarily, before and after cosmetic surgery. Nicotine reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your skin and other tissue. The lack of oxygen will adversely affect the way the tissue heals. Marijuana is not associated with this issue, but you should discontinue using it the day before and the day of surgery.

Nicotine and Cosmetic Surgery

Any product containing nicotine must not be used for at least three weeks before and three weeks after surgery. It takes at least this long for all nicotine to leave the bloodstream. This includes any nicotine product, including:

  • Patches
  • Cigarettes
  • Lozenges
  • Gum 
  • Cigars
  • Smokeless tobacco
  • E-cigarettes
  • Second-hand smoke

Your blood vessels provide oxygen to your skin. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, so it narrows your blood vessels and reduces blood flow and the amount of oxygen supplied to your skin. This vasoconstriction caused by nicotine increases the risk of tissue death.

Nicotine also carries the following risks:

  • Delayed wound healing
  • Necrosis of fat, skin, and muscle
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Nipple loss following breast surgery
  • Tissue loss following tummy tuck

Even one puff of a cigarette is not allowed for three weeks before and three weeks after cosmetic surgery. Quitting, even if it’s only temporary, is absolutely essential to your recovery and results. If you find that you’ve slipped and used tobacco, you must share that fact with Dr. Schuster and our team so we can re-schedule your surgery. 

Marijuana and Cosmetic Surgery

Marijuana does not contain nicotine (although a spliff is cannabis mixed with tobacco and a blunt is rolled in tobacco paper, so they must be treated like other tobacco products). Marijuana does not pose the same risks as nicotine does when it comes to plastic surgery; it is not a vasoconstrictor. You will not need to quit weeks before and weeks after. 

Marijuana and THC-containing products should not be used the day before or the day of surgery to avoid interactions with anesthetic agents. After your procedure, it is safe to use THC and CBD products. In fact, many patients find the anti-nausea properties of cannabis highly beneficial in the days following surgery. 

Learn More About Planning for Plastic Surgery

At the practice of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ronald Schuster, we are here to guide you through the surgical process. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schuster in the Baltimore area, please call us at 410-902-9800.

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