Quitting Smoking Before FTM/N Top Surgery

If you’re a smoker and are in the beginning stages of wanting to get top surgery you’re probably trying to find out why it is so important to quit smoking. It’s very common to go to a doctor and they tell you to quit smoking, this is for your overall health. When a FTM/N top surgery doctor tells you to quit smoking it’s because smoking could cause you to lose a nipple graft and delay healing. The sooner you can quit smoking, the better as the presence of nicotine in your system will affect your healing process and other things that we’ll cover in this article.

Why Smoking is Harmful to FTM/N Surgery Outcomes

The number one answer to this question is you could lose a nipple graft, which is very serious and can also be expensive if you need to go back into surgery.

Smoking threatens the survival of nipple grafts: Smoking makes blood vessels unable to grow quickly and effectively enough to reach the nipple graft in time. If your blood vessels can’t reach your nipple graft in time, you could lose it which is very serious.

Smoking delays wound healing: Nicotine in cigarettes can constrict the blood vessels, reducing the surgical site’s oxygen supply. Delayed healing can result in an uncomfortable recovery, or a delayed return to work which could result in financial loss

Smoking increases your risk of FTM/N top surgery postoperative complications: These include undesirable scarring, loss of nipple graft and discoloration. None of these are optimal, but may sound ok in the moment of wanting a cigarette. Resist the urge to smoke, it will not be worth it in the long haul

Smoking increases anesthesia risk: Anesthesia is what’s given to you before your top surgery begins. It puts you and your body to sleep so you are unable to feel pain during the operation. Anesthesia is more predictable in nonsmoker’s due to better heart, blood vessel, lung, and nervous system functioning.

When Do I Have to Quit Smoking Before FTM/N Top Surgery

It may vary between FTM/N surgeons, but the short answer is the sooner the better. Dr. Mosser has a hard rule of no smoking and no nicotine use 3 weeks before your top surgery date and no smoking 3 weeks after surgery. This includes not one puff of a cigarette, it’s a strict rule that must be followed. Surgeries have been cancelled due to patients not following the no smoking 3 weeks before rule so this policy should be taken seriously.

Can I Smoke Weed Before or After FTM/N Top Surgery?

Many folks use medical marijuana to help with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or short-term pain like healing after top surgery.  Nicotine is the major culprit in interfering with top surgery complications, but marijuana smoking might cause healing issues as well. So, the same rule applies, no smoking weed 3 weeks before or 3 weeks after. We suggest folks switch to edibles or CBD oil if this will be a necessity for them.  The jury’s out on how problematic vaping might be, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid smoking or vaping marijuana.

Short and Long-Term Effects of Quitting

Short term effects of quitting include weight gain, intense cravings, irritability, and anxiety. However, in addition to improving the outcomes of your surgery, quitting can improve your health and quality of life in the following ways:

  • Improved circulation
  • Normalized blood pressure
  • Decreased risk of heart and lung diseases and cancer
  • Higher life expectancy
  • Improved sense of smell and taste
  • Reduced respiratory symptoms
  • Reduced aging of skin

Most patients are motivated to quit at least short term so they can:

  • Be able to get top surgery
  • Have decreased healing time
  • Have healthier looking results
  • Significantly decrease their odds of losing a nipple graft
  • Have a safe and effective anesthesia experience

Preparing to Quit Smoking For FTM/N Top Surgery

Quitting anything that has become an enjoyable habit in your everyday life is hard, so we understand that not smoking for 6 weeks (3 weeks before top surgery and 3 weeks after) is a challenge. Once you’ve made the decision to get FTM/N top surgery, start taking baby steps towards decreasing the amount you smoke. You can follow this rough timeline:

  • After your consultation (or sooner) begin decreasing the amount you smoke slowly. If you normally smoke 3 cigarettes a day, start smoking 2
  • Set a goal of how much less you’d like to smoke daily and write it down reminders in visible parts of your home
  • When you have cravings for a cigarette replace it with a flavored toothpick or gum
  • Download an app on your phone that tracks your goals, such as how many days you haven’t had a cigarette
  • Drink more water
  • Start a new habit. If you take work breaks it’s hard to re-learn what to do on a break, downloading a game on your phone or picking up reading helps pass the time

Resources for Quitting Smoking For FTM/N Top Surgery

Current smokers considering FTM/N top surgery should quit completely (not one cigarette, not one puff) at least one month (3 weeks exactly) in advance surgery. The earlier you quit, the less likely you are to have surgery-related complications. We also advise that you do not smoke during the three weeks following surgery.

Quitting is not easy. There are many ways to quit smoking. Proven effective methods include:

  • Counseling
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Non-nicotine prescription medications such as Zyban and Chantix

Combining counseling and medication is more effective than using either one alone. Some people use the “cold turkey” method, step-by-step manuals, or other products. Work with your doctor to find what the best strategy is for you. For additional assistance, you can call free telephone support service 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). You can also find free online assistance on the Quit Smoking Resources page of CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site, or read inspiring stories from former smokers at Tips from Former Smokers.

Quitting Smoking in Conclusion

  • Smoking can be incredibly harmful leading up to and after your top surgery procedure
  • If you’re thinking about getting top surgery, start to quit now
  • You should quit smoking at least a month before your top surgery, however the sooner the better
  • Quitting smoking before top surgery may: Decrease your healing time, have healthier looking results, significantly decrease your odds of losing a nipple graft, help with a safe/effective anesthesia procedure