We all know that smoking is harmful to your health and that alcohol can also have negative consequences when consumed in excess. But did you know that smoking and drinking are particularly dangerous when undergoing rhinoplasty (nose reshaping surgery)? Here are some reasons why you will need to cut out cigarettes and lay off the alcohol if you want to have nasal surgery.
- Blood Vessel Constriction. The nicotine in cigarettes is extremely harmful to blood vessels, constricting them and reducing circulation in the skin. Proper blood and oxygen circulation is absolutely essential to the healing process and encourages skin to look youthful and healthy. Unfortunately, many smoking cessation aids (such as patches and gum) contain nicotine, which is the cause of the inhibited circulation triggered by smoking. For this reason, plastic surgery patients will need to consider other methods for quitting smoking.
- Infection & Inhibited Wound Healing. Smokers have a greater risk for infection following rhinoplasty than non-smokers. This is because poor circulation caused by smoking can prevent wounds from healing properly and create an infection that results in skin death or other problems. Smoking prolongs the healing process and decreases the chance of a good outcome after surgery.
- Increased Bleeding Risk. Alcohol puts the patient at an increased risk for bleeding, which can be very dangerous during the recovery period. Usually, bleeding is minimal following surgery, but all bets are off when alcohol and cigarettes are involved.
- Increased Swelling & Bruising. While smoking constricts blood vessels, alcohol widens them, which can lead to increased swelling, particularly after rhinoplasty surgery. There will be some swelling for up to 18 months following rhinoplasty, but keeping it to a minimum is helpful for best results, so avoid alcohol during recovery and consume in moderation afterward.
- Additional Toxins. Cigarettes are full of dangerous toxins that harm your skin and make it more difficult to heal following rhinoplasty.
- Drug Interactions. Some of the painkillers patients are given following rhinoplasty surgery do not mix well with alcohol. Drug interactions can at the very least make painkillers less effective or, at worst, cause dangerous side effects.
- Dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, and can cause dry skin that is highly sensitive. Rhinoplasty patients are advised to keep their noses out of the sun for several months to help protect the skin, and abstaining from alcohol during recovery can also help keep nasal skin hydrated and beautiful.
- Scarring. Smoking can lead to skin necrosis, scarring, and skin loss, which is sometimes irreversible. These problems should be taken seriously, and a few simple steps to increase health, like quitting smoking, can greatly reduce the risk for scarring.
Quit Now, Not Later
As you can see from the risks above, smoking is not only dangerous for your overall health, but it is especially dangerous when mixed with plastic surgery. If you need motivation, use surgery as the impetus for quitting smoking and cutting back on drinking. At minimum, you will need to quit smoking at least a few weeks or months in advance and stop drinking before and after surgery. Remember, your results depend on how healthy you are, so the sooner you can kick bad habits, the better your outlook on your surgery will be.
Rhinoplasty & Substances
Rhinoplasty is a complex operation, involving cartilage, skin, bone, and a complicated functional structure. Besides choosing a highly experienced and qualified surgeon, your lifestyle and how you care for yourself before and after surgery are the most important factors to your success. If it sounds like an inconvenience to give up cigarettes and alcohol while you heal, consider the devastating repercussions that can occur if you do not. It is much easier to prevent problems before they occur than to fix them afterward.
If you are thinking of undergoing rhinoplasty surgery, it is important to select a board-certified rhinoplasty specialist who will provide top-notch surgical services and trustworthy advice on surgical preparation and recovery. Choosing a surgeon you trust can be difficult, but when you choose a specialist with many years of experience and great patient outcomes, your chances for success are very good. A highly experienced facial plastic surgeon with more than two decades of passionate dedication to the art of rhinoplasty, Dr. Stuart Bentkover is a great choice for those seeking rhinoplasty in the Boston area. Dr. Bentkover offers the best in surgical skills, expert advice, and compassionate care. Call Dr. Bentkover’s offices in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA, to schedule your consultation today.