Plastic Surgeons Warn That This Bad Habit Can Make Your Nipples (and Other Body Parts) Fall Off

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It’s not exactly a secret that smoking can do a whole bunch of badness for your health and, when it comes to mixing it with plastic surgery, some of the side effects are seriously shocking.

According to Troy, MI, plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD, more specifically, smokers who undergo breast lifts are at risk of—wait for it—having their nipples turn black and falling off post-surgery. 

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And that scary stat applies to anyone who smokes either before OR after the procedure.

The reason: Nicotine and carbon monoxide can diminish blood flow to various parts of the body and this toxic duo acts as what Dr. Youn calls a “virtual tourniquet.” Simply put, “When blood flow to a body part becomes reduced or halted, that body part dies.”

Beyond breast surgery, Eugene, OR, plastic surgeon Mark Jewell, MD, says ANY type of nicotine use (read: not just smoking) increases the risk of tissue necrosis in other skin flaps, such as those resulting from a facelift, abdominoplasty, open rhinoplasty, or reduction mammaplasty/mastopexy.

"In the face, the risk of skin dying—where parts of your face can literally fall off to expose the tissue underneath—is 14 times greater," he says.

“Patients should always disclose tobacco use, vaping, nicotine gum and patch use,” Dr. Jewell warns, but adds that the good news is the risk of nicotine-induced skin necrosis is reversible with complete refraining from nicotine-containing products.

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