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Nicotine and breast reconstruction

Posts: 1121
Joined: Dec 2010

I saw my plastic surgeon today. I had a lumpectomy nov.27, 2010.I wanted an immediate breast reconstruction after my mastectomy but now the plastic surgeon says because my boyfriend smokes (he smokes outside, occasionally i stand out there with him but not so much since october) she says if I have ANY nicotine in my system she will not do the surgery. When she looked at at my breasts, she asked, "certainly you dont want the new breast to sag like that do you?" I said, yes, thats the way my breasts are. She got huffy and was taken aback cuz I wanted my saggy big boob back and didnt want a perky one. Then I had to argue with her and her nurse that I had signed a release of info. from my psychiatrist. they refused to believe me. told me there was nothing and they didnt have permission. after a phone call to the psych's record dept. i was told all they had to do was go in their little laptop right there and punch it up. since they refused to believe me, the nice lady at the records office said she would call them and tell them how they messed up and owed me an apology. i fired her the plastic surgeon. anyone else know about nicotine and breast reconstruction? what if there is just a little? does it make that big of difference? no one ever mentioned that to me. if i had known that, i would have looked at other options. now i have to change gears putting more time between when i first saw a dr for the lump oct 20th and getting something done with it. as it stands now, i havent had an tx other than lumpectomy and they didnt find that cancer free border. time is ticking. the patient advocate says the staff has handled my case horrible and given me substandard care. so i am going to a whole new clinic. i know i am rambling but i have no one to talk to but here that could even understand.

Different Ballgame's picture
Different Ballgame
Posts: 870
Joined: Jan 2010

You made the right move in firing your plastic surgeon. I don't know about second hand smoke affecting your surgery. Double check that question with your new plastic surgeon. Good luck and let's hope that the new clinic is super because you certainly deserve excellent treatment and respect.

Lots of Hugs,

Heatherbelle's picture
Posts: 1227
Joined: Jun 2010

Wow, I would have fired that plastic surgeon also -sounds like she has a terrible bedside manner. I know they won't do the surgery with nicotine in the system (i had actually quit smoking right before I was diagnosed & was on the nicotine patch & my plastic surgeon told me I even had to quit the patches, so that's how I know) - but refusing to do it because of second hand smoke that you're only occasionally around? That seems a bit much to me!
Hopefully the new clinic that you go to will give you the empathy and excellent care that you deserve.

Posts: 1121
Joined: Dec 2010

thanks for the support ladies! it means so much more from women who have had breast cancer. i feel validated. i smiled when i read your replies! thank you thank you thank you!!!!

Heatherbelle's picture
Posts: 1227
Joined: Jun 2010

You're so welcome :) Sometimes it takes corresponding with someone who's "been there, done that" to put your mind at rest regarding your treatment, or breast cancer itself. I came to this site the night before I got my biopsy results, and these ladies (and gentlemen) have been here with me and for me from the get go, and I'm happy to do the same for you and other women who come to the boards.
I'm glad you feel better about it, and good luck with your new doctors!

pinkkari09's picture
Posts: 878
Joined: Sep 2009

Yikes what a horrible ps. I would have fired her too. I smoked all through my breast cancer, it was way too difficult to quit at that time. Therefore, I smoked through my port being put in, all my chemo, my double mastectomy, oopherectomy(both ovaries, however that's spelled lol), immediate reconstruction, radiation, and three more reconstruction surgeries. All of this started in August of 2009 and my last surgery was October 2010, I'm ok, my surgeries went well with the exception of my lungs not coming back as quick as they should have. I highly recommend not smoking but being subjected to occasional second hand smoke and it's outside is absurd for her to make an issue of. I'm happy you fired her and are finding a new clinic, she sounds totally insensitive and with a horrible bedside manner. Best of luck to you and I think it's great your boyfriend smokes outside and that you want back your original breast, shame on her for getting "huffy" over this.

carkris's picture
Posts: 4553
Joined: Aug 2009

they dont want you to smoke as nicotene constricts the blood vessels and decreases blood flow to the operative site. Therefore healing is impaired, but having a partner who smokes outside etc.. seems pretty extreme. There are lots of qualified plastic surgeons out there, no need to put up with a jerk. In this process as well as any other, there is never a time to put up with bad treatment. You are the patient/consumer.

Posts: 5837
Joined: Oct 2010

I put posting once if anyone has had reconstruction after Lumpectomy-I got reply why? you still have your breast...I thought any surgery to fix/ make same/even up etc...was reconstruction so glad to see your post with that subject!

I am in an awe......how rude, uncaring etc...I hope your ran out the door...I think she needs new occupation.sorry you had to deal with this..after all you been through already..

Posts: 1121
Joined: Dec 2010

not sure if i understood you right, but i had a lumpectomy. i am in the process of finding surgeons for a mastectomy with an immediate reconstruction. but i think if any woman wants a reconstruction after a lumpectomy, she deserves it. cancer seems to be so horrible, what ever makes us feel better about ourselves, is what we deserve.

Posts: 395
Joined: Jun 2010

I was told I was not a cantidate or immediate recon., post mastectomy, because I had recently quit smoking. I did have tram flap recon after I finished chemo last dec. about 7 months after I had quit. My hubby is now scheduled and for a back fusion and has also quit as the ortho surg. said if he had nicoteen in his system, the surg. would be cancelled. Of course, we all know, SMOKING IS BAD, but I do think it was taken too far with your sucky ex-ps. Hugs to you and good luck, and Merry Christmas!!! Alison

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

I have nothing new to add...just hugs and best wishes with the new surgeon.


Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2011

Hi, Im Larraine, diagnosed on March 4, 2011 with left invasive lobular carcinoma, since I carry the BRCA2 gene I had to have both breast removed and did on May 2, then a total hystorectomy on June 27th. I am going to see my reconstruction doctor July 28th and I pray they give me a surgery date, I am having the implants as they told me that if I did the tram flap I could only be a size B and I refuse to be that small. I was a A all my life, and 7 years ago finally got my fabulous boob job to a C+, best thing I ever did, but now they have taken that from me. They are saying I have to quit smokeing, no gum, nothing, it is so hard, but I know I have to do it, I have been cheating some, I use to smoke 1/2 pack a day, now only about 2 or 3, but I have to do this or they wont fix me, the reason for that is because the blood vessels will not heal properly when they sew them together, I understand that but what makes me mad is they dont want to give you anything to help you quit, they just tell you to quit, I dont have insurance or money so I cant afford all the patches and stuff to wing off, I guess I will have to sleep alot for the next month and become a total BiOch, till its over, I would love to quit smoking but I cant do it being forced to do it. Most of plastic surgeons are ass holes, they dont smoke so they dont get how we feel, they havent lost their ladies so how can they feel out mental emotional roller coaster, Well I am going to do this if it kills me. I cant live without my girls..... I would love to friend you and chat anytime.
My email address is raine69m@aol.com


Posts: 1121
Joined: Dec 2010

Wow, this post seems like it was sooo long ago, from another time, etc. So much has happened since seven months ago!! Treatments changed, drs. changed. surgeries changed, I have changed... but rereading this portion of that difficult dr. and the others that I have run into since bring back nasty flashbacks. Can you get PTSD from breast cancer and really horrible, I mean really really horrible drs??? I have to take xanax when I go to meet new drs now and avoid getting some health issues taken care of because I can not handle seeing new docs. When I saw my pain drs for the first time, my top blood pressure was 199!!! after laying down after my treatment, it was 136 on top.

Posts: 145
Joined: Feb 2010

My PS had me sign a form that I would not be around anyone that smokes also and it was because you have a better chance of good results because of blood vessels not constricting.
However what a BAD person that was and I would have gotten another Dr. too and reported her...that was very uncalled for!
Hugs :) Robbin

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