When it comes to candidacy for a rhinoplasty surgery, there seems to be one golden rule: don’t smoke. With an estimated 43 million smokers in the United States, the number of prospective rhinoplasty patients who are smokers is also too high. Most often, would-be rhinoplasty patients will be told they most stop smoking for a certain amount of time before and after the procedure, sometimes even permanently. Are facial plastic surgeons being too cautious or is there really some danger in combining smoking with rhinoplasty surgery? Learn more about the effect smoking really can have on your rhinoplasty surgery.
Quit Smoking to Be a Good Candidate
Maybe you’ve done some research of your own about what it takes to be a good candidate for rhinoplasty surgery. If so, then you’ve encountered the usual line: you must be in good physical health, not smoke, and have realistic expectations for your surgery. Right there in the middle, the words “don’t smoke” are tossed in for good measures. You’ll find this almost everywhere and for almost any plastic surgery beyond rhinoplasty too, and for very good reasons, which we’ll get to.
If you are a smoker, by all means you may become a good candidate for surgery, even if you aren’t one now. Attend a rhinoplasty consultation to connect with a qualified facial plastic surgeon and discuss your smoking habits. Together you can create a plan to quit smoking in time for your surgery, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.
What Smoking Can Do After Surgery
Most people know all about the hazards of smoking by now, but few are aware of the risks posed by smoking before and after a surgery like rhinoplasty. Beyond the typical health complications, smoking also increases your risk for many unwanted side effects during the recovery process. If you continue to smoke throughout your surgical process, the following complications may result:
• Delayed or improper healing.
• Skin loss or necrosis, a type of skin cell death
• Excessive scarring
• Constricted blood vessels (caused by nicotine, which stays in the body for up to 2 weeks)
• Reduced flow of oxygen and blood to the treatment area
• Obstruction of the airway
• An increased risk of a reaction to anesthesia
• Poor surgical results or asymmetry of the nose
• Excessive bleeding
• Increased risk of infection
Some early studies have also shown that cigarette smoking can cause issues for the vascular system of the nose, but even if true, this would not pose as large a concern to facial plastic surgeons as the troubles listed above. Your body is vulnerable during the recovery process following a rhinoplasty. Residual chemicals from the cigarettes can wreak havoc on you during this fragile time and should be avoided at all costs.
How Smoking Might Affect Your Rhinoplasty Results
As a prospective patient, knowing what smoking can do during your recovery, you might be worrying about how it can affect your post-operative results. You wouldn’t be alone. Many patients who are smokers worry about this too, often discussing it during their consultation. Your facial plastic surgeon will advise you to steer clear of smoking for two weeks before your procedure and two weeks afterwards, allowing your body a month of cleaner breathing, normal blood flow and other benefits. Of course, it is always best to quit smoking permanently, if you can.
When it comes to those results, bear in mind that nicotine in your system can restrict the blood vessels and make it tough for the right nutrients to get to the treatment area. Poor healing is a common result, sometimes spurred by infections and other complications like skin cell death. The nose you wanted might not appear at all if nicotine remains in your system when your body is healing. Your best strategy is to kick the habit and keep yourself healthy. All post-op patients, smokers and nonsmokers alike, should stay away from second-hand smoke as well for those first two weeks following surgery.
On Smoking and Breathing
It’s important to note that a rhinoplasty surgery is designed to improve both the function and form of the nose. For many patients, only form is a concern, but for others it’s the function of their nose they hope to improve. Either way, your surgery will leave you with a beautiful, fully functional nose that allows you to breathe more easily. Waiting two weeks before you resume smoking is the key to your healing process, but quitting permanently is essential to your long-term health and the ability to keep breathing for years to come.
Smoking damages the respiratory system at large, causing mucus to form and buildup, clogging your airways. Many smokers have trouble breathing for many more serious reasons than those they fixed with rhinoplasty surgery. If you’re a smoker and you’re looking into rhinoplasty surgery for yourself, try to think about your new nose as a part of the much bigger respiratory system. It doesn’t make sense to breathe better through your nose if your lungs are suffering, too.
Consult With a Rhinoplasty Expert
Even if you’re a smoker,your road to a better nose begins when you consult with a recognized expert in facial plastic surgeryand guarantee your best results. Dr. Andrew Frankel is board certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (Ear Nose and Throat). He is exceptionally well trained in the field of nasal surgery and has been recognized for his original research regarding vasculature to the nose and rhinoplasty’s effect on it. Schedule your appointment today with a world-renowned facial plastic surgeon to guarantee your best rhinoplastyresults. Contact Dr. Frankel’s office, located at 201 Lasky Drive in Beverly Hills, California, by calling (310) 552-2173.