In a perfect world, every rhinoplasty surgery would yield optimal results, and all patients would heal properly. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of factors that go into a positive rhinoplasty outcome, and not all of these factors can be controlled. However, if you are considering rhinoplasty, there are many things you can do to help ensure a good outcome from surgery.
One major way you can prevent a number of the potential complications surrounding rhinoplasty is by avoiding cigarettes and excessive drinking, as these habits can have dangerous consequences for rhinoplasty surgery, recovery, and the eventual outcome.
We all know that smoking and overindulgence in alcoholic beverages can have dire health consequences. But did you know how much these habits could cost you if you are interested in rhinoplasty? Here are some ways that smoking and alcohol can put you and your results at risk.
Rhinoplasty is a very safe procedure, but it is performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia and sedation. Smokers have a much higher risk for anesthesia complications then non-smokers do, making anesthetic potentially quite dangerous.
Poor Wound Healing
Optimal healing is crucial for preventing infection and scarring and for promoting a good aesthetic outcome. The negative health effects of cigarettes and alcohol make the body less able to regenerate and heal itself. Proper aftercare is essential to the rhinoplasty process, and if you smoke or drink you are asking for trouble during the recovery period.
Blood Vessel Constriction
The nicotine in cigarettes is a powerful blood vessel constrictor that prevents proper blood flow. This is extremely dangerous and detrimental to wound healing, as proper blood flow helps cells regenerate. Unfortunately, because the nicotine causes this problem, many of the traditional anti-smoking treatments cannot be used by prospective rhinoplasty patients, as they contain the chemical.
The blood circulation problems, dehydration, and chemical additions caused by smoking and alcohol put smokers and heavy drinkers at increased risk for infection following surgery. What is typically a low risk becomes quite high, and infections can result in a poor result–or worse.
Bleeding, Swelling & Bruising
Rhinoplasty has come a long way since its beginnings in minimizing patient discomfort, swelling, bruising, and bleeding. These days, bleeding following surgery is highly unusual and quite dangerous when it occurs. Cigarettes and alcohol can increase the risk for bleeding and prolong bruising past its expected conclusion. Alcohol widens blood vessels, and this can increase swelling. Since swelling can persist for up to a year and a half, avoiding alcohol during the first few months can help reduce this problem.
Added Chemicals & Toxins
Cigarettes contain a cocktail of dangerous chemicals and toxins that are poor for overall health, cell regeneration, and more. It is hard to know how all of these toxins will affect the body, particularly when anesthesia and prescriptions are involved, so it is best to stay away from them altogether.
Scarring is inevitable with surgery, but a well-performed rhinoplasty procedure produces no visible scarring. Because cigarettes interfere with the healing process, however, skin death, skin loss, and visible scarring of the nose are all very possible in patients who are smokers.
You probably know that alcohol can quickly dehydrate the body. This is negative for healing following surgery, as proper hydration aids in healing and helps the skin recover. Skin is very sensitive following surgery and should be kept as hydrated as possible.
Many medications warn against mixing with alcohol, and painkillers that are prescribed following rhinoplasty are no exception. Depending on the drug, alcohol can cause the painkillers to be ineffective, or worse, cause dangerous side effects.
Using Rhinoplasty as Motivation
Unfortunately, you cannot just stop smoking a few days before the surgery and eliminate all the risks associated with cigarettes. If you want rhinoplasty surgery, you will need to stop smoking several months before surgery and stay off cigarettes until you are totally healed. Since some swelling remains for months afterward, this hiatus can be quite long.
If you are dedicated to the idea of having rhinoplasty surgery, then using the operation as an impetus to quit smoking is a great idea. You will have a reason for quitting beyond overall health reasons, and you will have motivation to stay strong after your rhinoplasty. After all, compromising your results from an expensive surgery is the last thing you want to do. You will want to stop drinking alcohol for at least several days before surgery as well as during your recovery. Keep your eye on the prize of the nose you have always wanted!
Set Yourself Up For Success
Besides your lifestyle choices, the most important factor you can control in the rhinoplasty process is your choice of surgeon. Rhinoplasty is an extremely complex procedure involving many types of tissues (skin, bone, and cartilage), and the results affect both aesthetic and functional aspects of the nose.
If you are looking for a surgeon with the knowledge, experience, and artistry to give you the best outcome possible, then come meet with Dr. Stuart Bentkover of Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) and Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA. Dr. Bentkover has dedicated nearly 30 years to his rhinoplasty passion and can help you get the customized natural and beautiful results you deserve. Call either location today to schedule your consultation.