There are many factors that affect proper healing following surgery. This is especially true after nasal surgery, since there are a number of different tissues affected and altered by the procedure. Proper healing is essential to a good rhinoplasty result, no matter how minor, and even a skilled surgeon’s work can be sabotaged by poor healing. In addition to poor aftercare and differences in the body’s response to trauma, variations in healing can also be affected by a number of medications. Even herbal supplements can negatively impact the healing process, and more powerful drugs like Accutane, a common prescription acne medication, can have even greater effects. So how does Accutane affect the rhinoplasty healing process, and is it safe to undergo nasal surgery while on Accutane?
How Accutane Affects Healing
Accutane is a powerful vitamin A derivative. It is used for severe and persistent acne, and it works by reducing the size of the oil glands in the skin, sometimes by more than half. It also slows down cell renewal and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Prescriptions typically last 3-6 months, and are supervised carefully by a doctor. The drug is extremely potent, and can have a negative impact on surgery such as rhinoplasty. Because of the way Accutane affects the cells, the drug can have the effects of inhibiting proper wound healing during surgical recovery and increasing the amount of scar tissue from the procedure. For these reasons, patients should be off Accutane for a period of time before choosing rhinoplasty surgery, or any other elective surgical procedure.
How Long to Wait?
While some plastic surgeons will move forward with rhinoplasty as little as one month following the cessation of Accutane, most providers prefer to be cautious and wait longer. The generally accepted timeframe is about six to 12 months to make sure there will be no lingering effects from the drug. Typically, there is no pressing need to undergo rhinoplasty (despite the potential repercussions on self-esteem or breathing problems), so it is strongly recommended that patients wait out the year before moving forward. In the time being, planning can commence so that everything is ready when the time comes.
Have Patience for Good Results
While it may be frustrating to wait for rhinoplasty surgery, you want to be sure you have the best chances for success from surgery. Revision rhinoplasty is extremely difficult and can be very frustrating and costly, so it is best to get the surgery right the first time. There are many aspects of the surgery that cannot be controlled by the patient, but timing is one factor that can and should be controlled for best results. Be patient—a good rhinoplasty lasts a lifetime, and you can avoid a lot of potential heartbreak by making good decisions.
Using the Time Wisely
While you are waiting for the effects of Accutane to subside, you should use this waiting period wisely. Research is an extremely important part of the rhinoplasty process, and with a procedure as dramatic as nasal surgery, you need to make sure you get the details right and set yourself up for success.
First, you will want to figure out what your specific goals for surgery are. Find some examples of noses you like, and be ready to communicate what you want to prospective surgeons during consultations. You should look at a large number of before-and-after photos to help you plan your surgery and choose which surgeons to consider. You do not need to meet with surgeons whose work does not impress you!
Finally, when you start looking for a plastic surgeon, be selective in whom you choose to consult with. Only choose board certified plastic surgeons who specialize in rhinoplasty. Nasal surgery is extremely difficult, and it is important to choose a dedicated provider who has spent many hours improving their craft.
If you are ready to start discussing you goals, then it is time to start scheduling your consultations. Dr. Stuart Bentkover is a respected leader in the field of rhinoplasty, with over 25 years dedicated to the art and science of cosmetic nasal surgery. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bentkover at Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA, call either location today.