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Smoking a month before or after breast surgery could make nipples fall off —Surgeon

Surgeons have warned that smoking just one month before or after you undergo breast surgery can make your nipples turn black and fall off!

Plastic surgeon Dr Anthony Youn, shared his findings after he had treated a patient who lost her nipples due to smoking before she had breast surgery.

“In my memoir, In Stitches, I told the story of a smoker whose nipples turned purple while undergoing a breast lift surgery.

“Purple is the precursor to black. Black is the precursor to falling off.  This happened because the nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke constricts the blood vessels.

“When blood vessels are constricted and you’re having surgery where the blood supply is significantly altered (such as in breast surgery, face lifts, and tummy tucks, for example), this poses a massive risk.

“If the blood flow to a particular body part is massively reduced or cut off, that body part dies, turning purple, then black, then falling off.

“Smokers’ bodies aren’t healthy enough to respond to this and fix it,” the surgeon warns.

Youn says when you smoke before or after surgery, the cigarette carbons act as a ‘virtual tourniquet’, causing the nipple to die from necrosis.

“This won’t be painful, but patients will feel numbness, followed by an absence of nipples,” he explains.

To treat this, Dr Youn uses leech therapy, while other doctors will surgically remove the nipples and then reconstruct the area.

He explains, “Leech therapy works by restoring blood flow to an area of the body, sucking out clotted blood and releasing a vasodilator.

“If someone were to go for neither of these options, their nipples may fall off on their own over the course of several weeks.”

He counsels those planning to have major surgery to abstain from smoking.


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