At Bancroft Feldman patients sometimes ask us if smoking marijuana is allowed before or after surgery. Marijuana is becoming more commonly and openly used as it's legalized around the country. Stigma is reduced, and for some people it's a part of daily life. We're not here to judge what patients indulge in away from our care, but we are focused on patient safety. Unfortunately, marijuana can be dangerous when combined with surgery/anesthesia and therefore should be avoided both during the pre-surgery period and the post-op healing period.
Many people who use marijuana in order to relax think that it will help with their nervousness prior to surgery. While it may lower anxiety about the procedure, it's important to understand that marijuana affects your entire body, and artificial relaxation it causes can be dangerous during the surgery. This is because your blood vessels also relax in a process called vasodilation. Vasodilation can, in turn, cause your blood pressure to fall and your heart rate to change. Your surgeon and your anesthesiologist need to know what is happening to your body during the surgery and why. Marijuana use makes it harder for them to monitor your condition and therefore do their jobs - which is focusing on making your surgical procedure as safe, uneventful, and successful as possible.
Remember, anesthesia is a depressant. Marijuana is a depressant, and so is prescription pain medication. Combining all three can have unpredictable results, so it's best to avoid marijuana or other depressants like alcohol before and after your surgery.
Smoking marijuana can cause respiratory issues just like cigarette smoking. Marijuana smokers are likely to need the ventilator longer after surgery and are also more likely to develop lung complications like pneumonia. Furthermore, smokers tend to cough more, and coughing can result in internal bleeding, bruising, contracture, or implant malposition.
Note that all types and forms of marijuana are dangerous when combined with surgery. This includes smoking it, ingesting it in foods, and using synthetic marijuana as well. Even less is known about synthetic marijuana than plant-based marijuana, so it's best to avoid it altogether.
After surgery, ingesting or smoking marijuana is also harmful. As with cigarettes, smoking marijuana decreases the amount of oxygen available to your cells which inhibits healing and can cause greater scarring.
If you smoke marijuana or otherwise ingest it, you need to let your surgeon know during your consultation. It's important to be honest about this and any other habits so that your doctor can advise you about preparing for your surgery and schedule it appropriately. While it's normal to feel nervous about your surgery, Dr. Feldman is a breast expert and has successfully performed thousands of breast augmentations. If you have questions about the procedure or ways to handle stress before the surgery, please ask our staff. We would be happy to address any concerns so you can be confident about your procedure and focus on your recovery and your beautiful new body.