Smoking can make your nipples fall off
December 5th, 2011
09:34 AM ET

Smoking can make your nipples fall off

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in Metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian American and becoming a doctor.

I cringe every time I see a patient for a breast lift who is a smoker. I’m deathly afraid that despite my warnings, she will smoke before or after surgery and cause her nipples to turn black and fall off.

Yes. Smokers who undergo breast lifts are at great risk of losing their nipples.

I’ve seen it before.

The nicotine in cigarettes and the carbon monoxide contained in cigarette smoke can diminish blood flow to various parts of the body. These toxins act as a virtual tourniquet. If the blood flow to a particular body part becomes greatly reduced or halted, that body part dies.

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. To save the patient—and her nipples - we turned to the only treatment available.

We went medieval.

We used leeches.

Because of the mechanics of blood flow, when the blood supply is inadequate, which occurs with smoking, the tiniest veins often fail. This insufficiency results in a backup of old (venous) blood in the body part, causing it to turn purple. If the backup of old blood is serious enough, the purple color may eventually turn black. That’s when we know the body part - toe, finger, or nipple - is dead.

We use leeches to literally suck out the excess venous blood from the body part, acting as an attachable vein. The leech drains the old blood, causing it to turn from unhealthy purple back to healthy pink. We place leeches intermittently until the body part grows new blood vessels to do the leeches’ work. This can take several days.

Not long ago, during a consultation for a breast lift, a patient, Susan, admitted to being a pack-a-day smoker. I informed her that smoking can cause difficulty in healing and instructed her to quit smoking at least one month before surgery and to stay off cigarettes for at least a month afterward. Several months later, when she arrived at the hospital for her breast lift, she smelled like an ashtray.

“Susan, I thought you quit smoking.”

“I did. OK. For a while. It’s really hard to quit, Dr. Youn.”

“I know,” I said. “But this is a big deal. There could be major healing problems if you smoke before or after surgery.”

“I understand. But I want to go ahead with the surgery anyway. It’ll be fine.”

She wasn’t hearing me. I needed to get through to her. “Susan, listen to me. If I operate on you, your nipples could turn black and fall off.”

Her eyes widened. “You mean… I’d have no nipples?”

“No nipples. That’s what smoking can do.”

Susan flushed. She raised her voice. “Dr. Youn, I took a week off work for this surgery. I had to put my whole life on hold for an entire week. If you told me I’d lose my nipples from smoking, I would’ve quit for good. This is your fault.”

Yes. Seriously. Susan blamed me for the inconvenience.

Thanks to her, I’ve changed my policy. In addition to the Surgeon General’s Warning that appears on cigarette packages, I now offer the Plastic Surgeon’s Warning to all my patients who smoke: If you are having a breast lift or reduction and you smoke, your nipples could turn black and fall off. If you are having a tummy tuck and you smoke, you may get an infection resulting in a big gross open wound that will take three months to heal. If you are having a facelift and you smoke, the skin of your cheek could turn black and slough off, leaving exposed fat.

Imagine yourself looking like “Two-Face” from “Batman: The Dark Knight.”

And do you really want me to reach for the jar of leeches?

Smokers, you have been warned.

soundoff (343 Responses)
  1. jimsoutside

    Um...deceptive headline much?

    December 5, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • joe

      Jim, it's not too late for you to quit smoking!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • Albert911emt

      How is the headline deceptive? Sounds pretty spot on to me.....or perhaps you're one of those "science isn't real" religious, right-wing loonies.

      December 5, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • Ludicrous Reporting

      Stipplers aside, CNN did leave out half of the information in that headline to come close to being accurate.

      December 5, 2011 at 17:41 | Report abuse |
    • Ludicrous Reporting

      Whoops, meaning for that headline to have been accurate, it needed the other half of the information...

      December 5, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Funny stuff

      December 5, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      To all the dummies quibbling about the headline. NEWSFLASH!! Headlines are HEADLINES!! They are not the story. They are a few words meant to draw one into the story to read it. DUH!!! Is anything in the STORY false???

      December 5, 2011 at 18:53 | Report abuse |
  2. Hadenufyet

    It's not nice to fool mother nature...bwahahahahaha

    December 5, 2011 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Lenny

    Someone please let all the stippers know

    December 5, 2011 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • roberts sanjay gupta

      cigarette smoking destroys more than a ladies figure, it destroys the fetus that she may carry within her body. The fetus is damaged by smoking mothers and can lead to brain trauma, dyslexia, and learning disabilities in the growing child.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      There aren't too many stipplers left since Pointillism is long over.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • ab

      Yeah. Wouldn't that be a sight!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      What's a stippler?

      December 5, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Lenny – Nichole missed your POINT!

      December 5, 2011 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      A stippler is a stapler with a Pittsburghese accent. Go Stillers!

      December 5, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Frankenstein

      @ roberts – I hate to knock you off your soapbox, but this article has nothing whatsoever to do with smoking while pregnant...

      December 5, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      "I believe you have my stippler? Oh the humanity!

      December 5, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      @Joe – you made my day

      @Nichole – look up stippling/pointalism

      December 5, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • Mongo

      Stiffler? I like his mom!

      December 5, 2011 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • jack

      nice attempts at snarky comments toward Lenny– why have you all failed to notice it was 'stippers', not 'stipplers'

      December 5, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
  4. sam

    And Alcohol cause your BRAIN to shrink,rots your liver and ages your skin and causes throat cancer more than SMOKING does...SO whats your POINT ?

    December 5, 2011 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jean-Luc

      smoking AND drinking are bad?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • Davethecanuck

      What is his point? Did you read the article?
      Or do you think that becuase you can point to something else that is bad,
      you can ignore how bad the thing you want to do is?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • Think about it

      It's hard for you to see the point because they both fell off. Get it now? Geeze, anyway.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Drinking water causes your brain to expand again. It only shrinks because your body pulls water from it, like everywhere else in your body.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:50 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Dave, that is exactly what the author is doing. Plastic surgery is many times more dangerous than smoking, yet he clearly sees no problem with that. Our society is permeated with people that only pay attention to the risks when they're trying to stop someone else from doing things they don't value. Smoking is dangerous, but not nearly as dangerous as plenty of things we don't have a problem with, cycling on public roads for example. We all need to be more honest with ourselves that the real problems we have with smoking are not the risks. If so, we would try to stop cycling, hang-gliding, rock-climbing, etc. with the same fervor. We don't because the risk isn't really why we dislike smoking. We dislike it because we don't value the "reward" part of the risk/reward calculation. That's a value judgment, and one that is likely to have different outcomes with different people. Exaggerating the risks is just going to entrench them in their view that the risks are over-hyped, which sadly, they are. Sadly because the truth is more than enough.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Donzcat

      Typical smoker counter argument. Go ahead and light up another my friend.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • SFC Mike

      Jon – like to rationalize, or just like to make stuff up? Plastic surgery is "many times" more dangerous than plastic surgery?

      How many individuals have gotten cancer or other major illnesses from second-hand silicone? How many patients die from plastic surgery in any given year? How many smokers?

      Nice try though.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Mike, it seems pretty clear you didn't actually read what I wrote. General anesthesia is quite dangerous. Feel free to look it up. I'm not trying to argue that people should keep smoking. Quite the opposite. I'm just arguing that hyperbole does more harm than good, and a person that performs elective surgeries for a living hardly has a leg to stand on in this argument.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      *And*... presumably you have some sources to backup your alarmists nonsensical claims? Hey; guess what; living and breathing causes cancer and death.
      And Alcohol cause your BRAIN to shrink,rots your liver and ages your skin and causes throat cancer more than SMOKING does

      December 5, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • blah9999

      you really lack the knowledge to say what you just said. because there is so much that is wrong with it

      December 5, 2011 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      I knew a guy that quit smoking and drinking, but went blind because of excessive masturbation.

      December 5, 2011 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
    • Chris Jensen

      There's no such thing as second-hand alcohol? Though, there may be a little stray vomit you might want to look out for..

      December 5, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
  5. Flynn

    I don't suppose the good doctor has a similarly condescending opinion about the complications from having unnecessary vanity surgeries in the first place?

    I know American English can differ in spelling, but we should let the health care industry know that they took the Hippocratic oath, not the Hypocritic oath...

    December 5, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carrie T.

      You're an idiot if you think that a breast reduction is medically unnecessary.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • ExphDH

      I'll bit the troll bait here.

      Yes, there are some "Vanity" Plastic Surgeries I do not go for. (Breast Enlargements to please your boyfriend, various lipos for the mere fact you can't get to the gym etc)

      However, that are some aspects of Surgery that a person goes through for their mental well being and physical health. In regards to the breast reduction, I've known women with severe back problems due to enlarged breasts that dropped a few cups and they started feeling better. I've known crash victims with scars and other such trauma that go through this "vanity" surgery to kickstart their life over and be able to wake up everyday with a smile rather then crying.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      ....and yet the doctor in the article was talking about breast lifts, making it a vanity issue.

      December 5, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • Flynn

      Not smoking is one of many health precautions that people can take. Not having major surgery which requires anesthetic for non-life threatening issues is another. Who mentioned reduction? This doctor uses the example of a lift, which is cosmetic and part of the 'mommy makeover' which is so en vogue.
      As for mental health, go for a run. Numerous clinical studies have found excercise is better than ANY anti-depressant medication. Not as much money in common sense advice though. Much more profitable to cut someone up.

      My main issue with many of my fellow non-smokers is they mostly disregard ALL other health advice. They also over-prescribe themselves on medicines, have horrific diets (yes, fats, and carbs are actually good for you!), no muscle tone, a weak immune system, and numerous other problems.
      I may not particularly miss the days of smoky restaurants, but I rue the day that hipocritical misinformation took over the podium.

      December 5, 2011 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
  6. JJ

    I heard of freezing your .......... off .....

    December 5, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Opie

      Look up "Alaskan Pipeline" on Urban Dictionary.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
  7. Jon

    As long as we're engaging in prejudicial hyperbole, water can quite easily kill you. Fluoride-containing toothpaste can cause stress fractures at high doses.
    This article begs the question: are there so few legitimate health risks associated with smoking that we have to grasp at straws? There is more than a hint of desperation here. Exaggeration harms the anti-smoking cause more than just about anything, in my view. I quit 3 years ago yesterday, and nothing makes me want a cigarette more than seeing this sort of garbage. I feel like I imagine someone who opposes affirmative action might feel when they discover the KKK is on their side. I want people to quit smoking, but I don't want extremist idiots like you on my side. Go back to performing medically questionable, ethically vacant surgeries on shallow, empty housewives please.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Philips

      This does not diminish the cause of anti-smoking. It adds yet another reason why it should be outlawed completely. If you sell cars, you talk about cars; if you sell breast lifts, you talk about breast lifts. Cancer surgeons aren't the only ones who should point out the dangers of smoking.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Yes, lets outlaw it completely. That approach worked so well for alcohol and other drugs. Sheesh. Lets try educating people so that we don't have to try to coerce their behavior with hyperbole and excessive law enforcement. Those are dangerously lazy ways to deal with the situation.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
    • Duane

      Let's try and educate people? What do you think has been happening the past 20 years? In school, TV, magazines and countless other media outlets people are educated all the time about the dangers of smoking yet tens of thousands still take up the habit each year.
      Taxpayers have to then be burdened with an estimated $96 billion in health care costs to take care of these people who decided to ignore the "education" and we should be ok with this? I can think of a lot more that we can do with that money....better education, stronger infrastructure, food for those in need. But no, we have to spend that money on smokers, and honestly that irritates me to no end. It isn't my bad habit, so why am I paying for it?

      December 5, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Duane, you see arguments where there aren't any. I didn't say we don't educate people, just that that is the approach we should take. If you think outlawing cigarettes would have a net positive effect on society, you haven't been paying attention to the drug war for the last 30 years. People respond to honest attempts to tell them the truth, but what the author of this article is doing is just trying to scare people, and the fact that he makes his living giving people elective surgeries just makes this whole thing perverse.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      More than half of the adult smokers in the US have quit in the past 10 years. Show me that degree of success for ANY illegal, addictive drug. You can't, because prohibition DOES NOT WORK. Decades of experience in dozens of nations have shown that only oppressive autocracies can successfully prohibit consensual behavior. Free or drug free, choose one, never has anyone had both.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • Jess

      So, Jon, you completely agree with this education article, right? He's doing exactly what you're saying: educating the public about the risks.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • Absynthe

      Jon, you have no sense of humor, do you? THIS WAS HUMOROUSLY written, and you took it like a train that derailed, OMG!

      Those who've quit smoking are the most touchy people of all. If you want to take everything personal, start smoking again, please do. Actually, why don't you smoke as much as you like, can handle? 2 – 4 packs per day? Then, don't come crying to me, because no one wants to be around you, because of the stench on your clothes, nor ride in your car. Your bathroom, bet it had cigarette residue – that ugly, burnt orange color, from when heavy smokers sit on the toilet and read, or set the cig on the edge of the sink, while shaving.

      All the people like that I know of, well I buried the last of them, my uncle of BRAIN cancer 2 years ago, because it went from his lungs to his brain. Another friend, like my own mother, breast cancer to her brain. This is the reality that they don't talk about, when the cancer spreads, and eats you alive.

      So, go ahead and threaten to go back to smoking, because you're responsible for your own actions – not us on here. Holding yourself hostage over cigarettes is the single most laughable thing I've seen this morning, you made my day!

      I thought the article was written delightfully, and yet got it across, how smoking affects the blood vessels.

      December 5, 2011 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • km

      Jon, you said general anesthesia is more dangerous than smoking.

      Each year about 5,000 people die from general anesthesia while about 450,000 die from smoking.

      ............how can you be so wrong and still continue in the discussion?

      December 5, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Stop using the word "Hyperbole!" Your redundant use to vocabulary made me respond to the post, not the actual material!!

      December 5, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
  8. Annie Sisk

    Typical surgeon arrogance. Your patient, Susan, was correct: you SHOULD have warned her of the specific consequences. That's what "informed consent" means. I am so sick of these arrogant, know-it-all doctors who think patients should just bow and scrape and follow their every command without question, yet who can't be bothered to even spend five minutes with that same patient and give him/her the doctor's full, undivided attention. And CNN, you really need to do a better job editing these pieces - especially the headlines. This one's misleading at best.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Let's tell it like it really is

      Of course you don't mention the arrogant patient who, after years and years of warnings, continues to smoke then blames everyone in creation except themselves.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      "you SHOULD have warned her [....] I am so sick of these arrogant, know-it-all doctors"

      So he should have told her everything, but you also hate doctors who know everything. He told her to stop smoking before surgery. Did she think that was for no reason?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
    • Duane

      So let me understand you Annie, it is the fault of the surgeon that Susan didn't know smoking was harmful? Are you really that dense? Since we are born we hear how bad smoking is for you when it comes to your health, not only inside but outside. So what you think him having to remind her again is arrogant? Are you kidding me???!!!!
      You need to grow up, and learn to listen......smoking will DESTROY your body, easy and simple. Not only will it cause cancer, it also screws up your skin, your lungs, your heart......everything! f I was a surgeon and my patient was a smoker and blamed me for not telling her I would laugh in her face too and scream "are you an idiot?".

      December 5, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Duane, cycling is significantly more dangerous than smoking. Do you think someone is an idiot just because they ride a bicycle?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
    • Publius 13

      Annie, what part of the surgeon's instruction to Susan "to quit smoking at least one month before surgery and to stay off cigarettes for at least a month afterward" do you think was non-specific? It never fails to amaze me that the Susans of the world will pay very large sums of money to physicians, lawyers, and accountants for advice, but then don't follow it. Then, when the results aren't what the Susans wanted, they blame the professionals who gave them the advice that the Susans didn't follow.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • Duane

      Jon- How often does cycling cause cancer again? How many billions of dollars in medical costs are associated with cycling? I can tell you on smoking what it does.

      All Americans—smokers and nonsmokers—pay the price for smoking. Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing 443,000—or nearly 1 of every 5—deaths annually. These include 46,000 heart attack deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

      Smoking is also a major contributor to many chronic diseases that are driving up the nation's health care costs. Each year, diseases caused by cigarette smoking result in $96 billion in health care costs, much of which is paid by taxpayers through publicly-funded health programs.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Duane, you do realize that there are ways other than cancer to die, right? I certainly did not imply that cycling causes cancer. The fact is that riding a bicycle on public streets is MUCH more dangerous than smoking a cigarette, per incident. You're completely missing my point, which is that people don't have the same negative reaction to cycling, despite this fact. The reason they don't is that the risk of death isn't the real reason for all of this vitriol against smoking. If it were, we would try to stop every behavior which is at least as dangerous, and we don't.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • Duane

      Jon how many people die each year due to cycling? You keep saying it is much more dangerous but your numbers are wrong. According to the research I found
      Smoker related deaths each year (US Only)- 47,000+
      Cycling related deaths each year worldwide- 109 for the 2010 year

      It seems to me that you are making assumptions without backing up the facts....109 doesn't even come close to the 47,000. Plus you do not take into account the years of medical costs associated with a smoker. My father died over smoking, knew it was killing him and yet continued. He lost his house, his retirement, all he owned to pay for the medical costs associated with this.

      Sorry but your argument does not support that other things in this world are just as dangerous. Smoking is preventable, even if you start you can stop. I noticed earlier you quit 3 years ago and I say awesome job! I bet you feel a thousand times better because of it too.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Absynthe

      @Annie & Jon – I act and model in Hollywood. You know what's so amusing? I beat out gals in their 20s, who are 20 years younger than me, because I DO NOT SMOKE!! I look like a 25 year old, no plastic surgery on me. And, yes: I bicycle in a park, and walk. You've seen me in magazines, I've worked with the best. No one cares about age, as long as I don't look it.

      The funniest thing, is when I went up for a part, and a 25 year old who's been smoking and partying since she was 15, I aced her – because she looked old enough to be my mother! The puffiness, the LIP WRINKLES and LINES, it's great!

      So, yeah – you all keep smoking, it keeps me in business. And those tanning beds, do that too! Some skin cancer, in addition to prematurely aging your skin, makes many girls look too old, before they even start.

      Doctors have been telling us to eat our fruits & veggies, lots of water – that's so very, very important, and hardly anyone listens, nor do most people exercise.

      So, please – keep going the way you all are, ignore the doctors, eat garbage! Hamburgers every night! So what if you get colon cancer, lung cancer – it's all about the moment, right? ;P

      December 5, 2011 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      I agree, Annie! This doctor is a moron.

      December 5, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      Absynthe, are you that desperate for attention and compliments that you need to come here and insult smokers while propping yourself up like some arrogant fool? Get over yourself and stop putting people down.

      December 5, 2011 at 18:28 | Report abuse |


    December 5, 2011 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poodles

      If you smoke, it would be better if it fell off long before getting snipped to keep you from polluting the gene pool.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      Elissa? Female? If you're having a vasectomy you have bigger problems.... but yes.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • MT

      Nichole, from what I've seen, quite a few of the people commenting don't have the anatomy that is mentioned in the headline, so what is their concern? Elissa is just turning the tables so that they can get some perspective. Make them think...

      December 5, 2011 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
    • Absynthe

      I think a "penis" lift would be more like it. But, yes – we're talking about smaller blood vessels that nicotine constricts, which could cause serious complications.

      Smoking can add weeks onto someone's recovery time, no matter what they had done, whether necessary or elective. I've had rotator cuff surgery a month ago, and I'm now using that shoulder pretty well, considering, and haven't started therapy yet. Most people who smoke, they'd be a few weeks or more behind me.

      Also, cigarettes LEECH vitamins and minerals out of your bones, so you'd need to replenish those, too. Expensive, filthy habits.

      I met someone smoking the new, improved "E cigarette" over the weekend, and it was brilliant for those around my friend. No stench, no byproducts. Small as a cigarette now, I didn't even realize they were smoking.

      December 5, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    Why anybody would make the idiotic decision to take up smoking regularly is beyond me. I'm not going to judge people who have an occasional social cigarette or cigar, as disgusting as I find the habit. But people who willfully ingest those carcinogens on a daily basis, as well as subject those around them to their foul-smelling and sickening odor, are essentially making the conscious decision to not only reduce their lifespan, but to make their quality of life that much lesser. And for what? The effects of nicotine are hardly any more potent than those of caffeine.

    That being said, this story sounds quite a bit alarmist.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThereYaGo

      I suggest you study up on addiction. When the switch of addiction if flipped, choice is no longer a luxury.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • JB

      @ThereYaGo...you still have a choice even with addiction. There is still such a thing as free will and while there is a physical addiction you still have the choice to not smoke. Otherwise no one would ever quite.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
  11. JB

    I can't believe how many people are attacking this Dr for writing an article about factual procedural complications involved with smoking. Breast lift/reductions are the most common cosmetic/ necessary surgery performed by plastic surgeons so many women should know this information. unfortunately numerous women don't listen to their drs and wave off smoking as a minor issue with their healing process.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Hooty

    Seems like every ailiment is blamed on smoking, all the way down to the toenails.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Publius 13

      What's your point? What do you expect when you inhale hot, poisoness gases into your lungs for several minutes at a time, 20 to 60 times a day, every day for 40 or 50 years? My mother died of smoking-nduced emphysema. She was in excruciating pain for the last months of her life as her major organs slowly died from oxygen starvation. She had smoked two packs a day, every day, from the time she was 13 until she died 60 years later. And she stubbornly maintained, until she lapsed into a coma on her deathbed, that she enjoyed smoking. Personally, I am against capital punishment. Except for tobacco executives, employees, and shareholders.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
  13. HBar

    I spent 11 years in public health. I was a lecturer in a biostatistics department. I have nothing good to say about smoking. And I still can't entirely dismiss the idea that this story is a bunch of surgeons trying to deflect blame...

    December 5, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PJ

      I agree. Smoking is bad. But doctors make mistakes everyday. A family member of mine had a botched surgery and is now paralized. They want to cover their a$$es.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • Zeppelin

      Well then, experience hasn't been your best teacher. If anything is clear, it's that fact.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  14. Buzz Aldrin

    Telling her there can be complications sounds like a generic disclaimer.

    If you haven't learned by now to let someone know specific things that may effected them, then while you may have book smarts "Doctor", you have no street smarts....

    You remind me of the idiot Dr. who did my LASIK surgery. Before the surgery he gave us a list of things to make sure to do and not do. I followed it to the LETTER. It's my eyes we're talking about.

    In the list it says to prepare to wear goggles at night, so I bought some goggles to wear. The morning after the surgery I woke up, the goggles were on my head, and my eye had rubbed against my pillow, dislocating my "eye flap", and I could no longer see.

    I called the "Doctor" and he acted like a jerk to me like this was my fault. He said "This is why you TAPE the goggles to your head!". Nowhere on his list does he say TAPE goggles to your head. He's the Doctor. He's the professional. HE's supposed to know what he's doing, because as the patient, we rely on him. He actually was quite rude to me. In the end, he re-did the surgery at no cost to me. But not before making me wish I'd never met him and had gone with someone else.

    Doctor arrogance is out of control. Get over yourselves. Your patients are your livelihood, not an inconvenience, or a curious story to write about in a book, pal.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JB

      I don't know how you are comparing these two stories, this Dr is telling the patient what to do...something you wanted yours to do!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • Poodles

      Your doctor screwed up. The problem, however, is that a doctor can give all the nasty details, and many people will think that the doctor is just trying to scare them, and that's the worst case scenario and almost never happens. They think the odds are in their favor.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • Absynthe

      That sounds more like a freak accident there. Never heard of anything like that happening. Mind you, my brother and two friends had Lasik, and NOTHING like what you just said happened.

      Smells made-up, bogus story to moi!

      December 5, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
  15. Skooter

    I only wish smoking killed smokers quicker so I wouldn't have to foot the bill for their increased medical costs...

    December 5, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • iliketosmoke

      you have to have a job to pay for other people's insurance ;0 I like smoking so what you don't. I don't like driving a car but I bet you do and your car gives off more CRAP than my smoke will, ever.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • ABB123

      And I wish all the fat disgusting slobs would croak early too. Do you have any idea what all their gross fat is costing us? At least smokers put a lot of money towards government funded programs because of the crazy high taxes they pay on smokes. If everyone who smokes quit right now, the government wouldn't know what to do with the billions in taxes it would no longer get.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • dom625

      And I wish grossly overweight people would die quicker so that I wouldn't have to pay their increased medical costs. And I also wish people living in poverty would stop having kids so that I wouldn't have to pay those bills. And I also wish people with STDs would die quicker so that I wouldn't have to pay those bills. See where this is going?

      December 5, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
  16. KR

    And too much booze can make your clothes fall off!!

    December 5, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • catwoman


      December 5, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • Emeljay

      Hilarious. Thanks for the laugh.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • Timmieeee

      No, I thought it got the girls pregnet

      December 5, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
  17. Yellowdog

    It's not smoking you fools – it's all Obama's fault.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. EWC

    good article... what about second-hand smoke inhalation? will it cause the same effects as being the primary smoker? also, how does this theory tie into other autoimmune disorders such as raynaud's disease?

    December 5, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Coriolana

      No, not a good article. Lousy journalism with a grossly misleading headline. The entire problem with the campaign to get smokers to quit is that they preach and scold and lie. Constantly. That doesn't work well on children and it sure as hell doesn't work on adults.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
  19. zoundsman

    Smoking is so weird. I stop on occasion, then start up again under a major stress situation. Then, it becomes a habit.
    First, it works well (for me) to calm the stress. Then, I smoke under every stressful little thing, as if it becomes harder to deal
    with minor stress. So, it becomes ridiculous- things you ordinarily brush off as petty, it's an excuse for lighting up.
    It's an artificial world (modern times create stress situations that are far from normal in our evolutionary make up).
    I will quit this stuff, eventually. Hey! Stop slamming my post. Then, I'll have to light up and come back with a calm, ugly

    December 5, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. inewt

    um, maybe because cigarettes don't mix with anything! Well not ANYTHING, they go well with cancer and emphysema, and bad breath.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. MCC62

    Eat right, exercise, take care of yourself, you die anyway.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sam

      Yeah, but my dad just died of a heart disease. If he had taken better care of himself he could have been around longer. So he won't be at my wedding.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
    • Opie

      You were a huge disappointment to him anyway, so it all works out for the best.

      December 5, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • Absynthe

      Smokers die of cancer, heart disease in their 40s – 50s, from what I've seen. Those in my family who've never smoked, all are still alive, or lived to be almost 100, mental faculties intact.

      Ergo, I'll take being healthy, working out and living a good, long healthy life than short and sick.

      December 5, 2011 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
  22. Coriolana

    I do not smoke but this is almost as misleading as that idiotic commercial claiming "tobacco kills more people than murder, car crashes, etc. etc. ad nauseum". Nice try but don't these jagoffs remember how everyone reacts when preached at? Try something different. Lies don't work on adults.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. wave

    I am glad CNN is so focused on health news that matters.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. T3chsupport

    This is the best health article in awhile. Informative, and pretty funny.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Absynthe

      Yes – it was meant to be humorous. Now, here's a cookie, for seeing it.

      December 5, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  25. joe

    I heard of a smoker with Bergers disease who lost a few toes and continued to smoke and then lost half his foot. HELLO.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. bristoltwit palin... America's favorite dancing cow.

    I lost my buttplug one time when I was on DWTS. They found it on the stage after the show.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • the janitor

      Oh, that was yours? I thought it was a chew toy!

      December 5, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
  27. Michael Sawyer

    The irony of this article is the hostile language he uses will cause the majority of smokers to not even react or receive his message.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Timmieeee

    If I smoke and get a penis lift....Will I look like a GI Joe action figure down there?

    December 5, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Absynthe

      You'd wind up with an overgrown light switch, that's only goes on & off. Then, you'd need a gun holster for the thing, to strap it.

      December 5, 2011 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
  29. Josh

    If someone goes for a while without smoking, smokes, gets really buzzed from it, crashes their car and gets decapitated then can I write an article called "Smoking can make your head fall off"?

    December 5, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Melanie

    Susan had every right to blame you! The moment you found out she's a smoker you should have made it PAINFULLY clear what could happen, yet for some reason you didn't. Were you afraid of losing the job, and hence your payment? OK, great – you changed your policy afterwards, but that doesn't erase the fact that you screwed up.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Josh

    It would be nice if he would quanitfy this "great risk". What percentage of smokers have this issue? As opposed to what percentage of non-smokers? What percentage of the cases are successfully treated with leeches? Yes, smoking is bad and the numbers for lung cancer speak for themselves, but all this article does is make me more weary of plastic surgery.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Zorro

    Smoking also compromises healing after orthopedic surgery of any kind. We do not know precisely why. I know surgeons who refuse to operate on patients who do not quit smoking for 6 months in advance of surgery. As one said to me, "If the patient doesn't care about his own health, why should I care?"

    December 5, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Captain

    This seems more like the Onion than CNN? Not sure if electronic cigarettes would help here since they do have nicotine, but just less of it and other nasty ingredients in cigarettes, so see http://www.ecigwerks.blogspot.com for more.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. patsybronx

    Whoa! For a minute there I thought I had stumbled onto the website for The Onion!

    December 5, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RJR

    It is so sad to see so much anger and hate directed at smokers. This was done by the majority of people when I grew up in the 50s. It is a very addicting habit and hard to quit. Smokers aren't evil. Most are good people that I know of.I know that hate is a far greater SIN than smoking and I hope people on this bandwagon recognize this and pray for forgivness.
    God bless.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Absynthe

      Smokers may need compassion – but I don't have to sit in their filthy smoke clouds, and risk cancer too!

      Let them get E-cigarettes, I say. Then at least, I know they're trying.

      December 5, 2011 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
  36. Whack Job

    It's called a boob job, and people shouldn't be getting them. Why would anyone want to show their insecurities?

    December 5, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. JeffinIL

    The true problem is purely elective surgery.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Eddie

    It would be better if I did the lifting. My technique is quite non-invasive.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Dr. Doolittle

    Smoking makes you stupid and post on comment boards.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. J0nx

    I agree it is your fault doctor for not properly warning that woman. I don't think you adequately explained to her why she needed to stop smoking prior to the procedure. I would have been pi$$ed too if I were her. I'm glad that you changed your warning procedures to more accurately explain the cause and effect situation pre-surgery.

    December 5, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Frank

    There are a lot of awsome comments here.

    December 5, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jacob .f

    this is funny becuz the other day i was walking down the street an this old guy wqas looking at me he sat down an his nippl fell of it was horabol

    December 5, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. stepasidesue

    Where I live, cigarettes are so expensive you can't afford breast surgery.

    December 5, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. ShastaTime

    In today's world with the health knowledge we possess, anyone who continues to smoke is a complete idiot.

    December 5, 2011 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. steven granzanan

    wow... epic that was similar to an article I saw on http://www.kamienshop.com

    December 5, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Ellen in CA

    Here is a factoid not discussed much: Women I have known who died from lung cancer must wear turbans when being shown in an open casket. This is because of hair loss suffered from cancer treatments received. I quit smoking many years ago, and never looked back. This was done through lots of prayer and determination!

    December 5, 2011 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. imagonner

    You know that no matter what or who you are, death is your ultimate destination. It has been said that for all men, death makes the last appointment and chooses its own time. This will now bring us to the futility of life, where all our energies are invested and directed into accomplishing nothing. For when you die, all things are left behind, from possessions to family heritage, you are buried and you will henceforth begin to rot.

    December 5, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. McJesus

    I had male enhancement surgery... and smoked. It then fell off. My doctor told me I was playing with it too much before it completely healed. I ultimately had to opt for reorientation surgery as there was little left to work with. So I went all out. Now I never leave the house and am much happier for it.

    December 5, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. woodie

    If you think about cigarette smoking your memories will turn black. It's called second hand cigarette memories. It's deadly. Or so they say.

    December 5, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. EaglesQuestions

    Who smokes anymore?

    December 5, 2011 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.