Every day you can find a lot warnings about the dangers of smoking, such as that it can increase the risk of developing some diseases like heart attack, strokes, and pneumonia. Even when you buy a pack of cigarettes you will find a warning saying that smoking can cause cancer and lead to death.

But what you might have never heard is that smoking can be harmful to your nose surgery. Yes, that is right! Cigarettes after rhinoplasty can be even more harmful to the patients who have just undergone a nose job.

So if you are a smoker who is thinking of having rhinoplasty then this article is for you.

rhinoplasty patient breaking his cigarette to show that people should stop smoking after their nose job

You need to stop smoking before undergoing rhinoplasty surgery.

How smoking and nicotine affect your nose surgery?

Smokers have higher levels of some toxins such as nicotine and carbon monoxide. This can lead to some negative effects on your body after nose surgery.

Smoking slows recovery process

Smoking after rhinoplasty — and even before it — impacts your recovery after the surgery in the following ways:

  • It slows down your blood circulation

As we all know, the blood carries oxygen and nutrients and delivers them to your cells. When you are in recovery from a certain operation you need both more oxygen and nutrients. The problem is that when you smoke, the toxins from the tar of your cigarettes enter your blood making it thicker. And to make things even worse, smoking for a long time can cause atherosclerosis, a disease in which the arteries become narrow due to plaque build-up.

In the short term, when you smoke after rhinoplasty, the nicotine narrows your arteries and increases the blood pressure. And this decreases the amount of blood that is delivered to the surgical areas that are healing.

  • It increases the risks of infection

Every second in your life, you are under attack from billions of viruses and bacteria, which are fought by the body’s immune system — and you would have been dead without your immune system. According to some recent studies, nicotine has a huge effect on neutrophils, a type of white blood cell having a key role in healing damaged tissue and preventing infection, which reduces their ability to destroy bacteria.

On this account, it is obvious that smoking after rhinoplasty (and smoking after every surgery in general) can be dangerous as it increases the risk of getting an infection after the surgery.

  • It slows down wounds healing

One of the byproducts of smoking is carbon monoxide, an odorless colorless toxin that results from incomplete burning. Smoking increases the levels of carbon monoxide in your blood, which combines with hemoglobin and limits blood’s ability to deliver oxygen to the cells.

When the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to the cells is reduced, the wounds will take much longer to heal, and that is why it is important to quit smoking after rhinoplasty.

Does smoking have a negative impact on the rhinoplasty outcomes?

The new structure of the bones and cartilage reshaped by the doctor will not be affected by smoking. However, there might be some scars that have not fully healed because of smoking, which can lead to some changes in the shape of the nose like the deformation of the nasal tip.

In some cases, when there is a severe deficiency of nutrients caused by vasoconstriction, patients may experience some degree of skin loss. Vasoconstriction refers the contraction of the muscular wall, and thus the narrowing of the vessels

Will smoking interfere with breathing after the surgery?

While most of the people who choose to undergo rhinoplasty surgery do it to achieve a more attractive look, it is very important to know that this surgery is sometimes intended to improve the function of the nose. And since smokers usually have more difficulties with breathing than non-smokers, the surgery can be a great solution for them.

However, it is very important to wait for a while before resuming smoking after rhinoplasty because the irritating gases such as ammonia make your nose produce more mucus, which leads to the clogging of the airway and makes it much harder to breathe.

Shall I quit smoking before rhinoplasty and why?

Given what we’ve mentioned above, yes of course. You should quit smoking before nose job surgery. Basically the surgeon will advise you to quit smoking before any surgery not just before rhinoplasty.

When you stop smoking, the levels of carbon monoxide will return to their normal levels, which will help the blood to deliver more oxygen to the cells. Quitting smoking will also lower your blood pressure and make it easier to regulate the blood pressure with medications.

How long should I stop smoking before rhinoplasty?

As a short answer, surgeons normally ask patients to quit smoking 2-3 weeks before the surgery. But you should know that quitting smoking for longer period of time will be even better.

Will being exposed to second-hand smoke affect nose job results?

Even when you are a non-smoker there is a chance that you are working or living with a smoker. The bad news is that if you are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke, it would no longer matter that you’re not a smoker yourself because you still inhale cigarette smoke and receive the same chemical compounds a smoker receives.

The studies that investigated the recovery time and healing for non-smokers, smokers and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke have shown that those who were exposed to secondhand smoke needed more time to recover than non-smokers but less time than smokers.

This shows that inhaling smoke even when you are a non-smoker can affect your recovery. Therefore, it is recommended that you try to stay away as much as possible from places where people smoke and stay in smoke-free places a few weeks before and after your rhinoplasty.

Two Iranian men smoking cigarettes and talking with a Muslim woman with a splint on her nose in a green space

Studies show that those who are exposed to secondhand smoke need more time to recover than non-smokers!

How long should I avoid smoking after rhinoplasty?

The short and common answer here is that you should avoid smoking after rhinoplasty for at least 2 weeks or even a month. But you should keep in mind here that the more time you quit smoking after rhinoplasty the better it will be for your results and your health in general.

Some smokers may find it hard to quit smoking for such long periods. If you are one of those people, ask yourself: Which is worse? Waiting for another week or 2 to smoke a cigarette or smoking and living your life with a visible scar or developing post-op complications and ending up in the hospital?

How about other types of tobacco? How they affect rhinoplasty?

While everyone usually talks about smoking cigarettes after and before surgery and its effects, some might think that other alternatives like hookah or e-cigarettes are ok, but are they?

Smoking hookah after nose surgery

Many people who smoke hookah believe that the water works as a filter, but this is only a myth. If you smoke any substance through hookah, then you are inhaling tar and carbon monoxide, which is especially bad for your surgery.

Vaping after rhinoplasty

Electronic cigarettes are one of the common alternatives to normal cigarettes. These days there are a lot of people who are using e-cigarettes and other vaping devices as a safer source of nicotine. However, even though they are thought to be safer than traditional cigarettes, it does not mean that they are allowed and safe to smoke after rhinoplasty.

Studies have found that vaping can have an effect on vasoconstriction in a similar way as regular smoking does. The nicotine from electronic cigarettes can cause your blood vessels to constrict thus reducing the blood flow and slowing down the healing process after rhinoplasty.

rhinoplasty patient with a nose splint on his nose smoking with an electronic cigarette

Despite being safer than normal cigarettes, electronic cigarettes are not allowed during your recovery!

Smoking marijuana and weed

Contrary to some new popular beliefs, smoking weed and marijuana is not healthy and any surgeon will advise you to quit it for a couple of months before any surgery. If you are a regular weed smoker, then you would face the same risks and complications that smokers usually face after nose surgery.

So what if I smoke a cigarette every once in a while?

Some smokers might feel the urge to smoke, saying that a cigarette every once in a while is not a big deal and should not have an effect on the surgery. Though not as detrimental as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, smoking even one cigarette a day also should be avoided.

According to studies, it is proven that even occasional smoking during the recovery time can slow down the healing process. Besides, if you convince yourself to smoke a cigarette a day then see that nothing wrong has happened, you may want to go for the second in the next days.

Try to stay active

Since you will find yourself having to quit smoking for a certain period of time, it can be a good time to exercise. Exercising can improve your blood circulation, which in turn improves the healing process.

However, keep in mind that you should always consult with your surgeon beforehand. Some surgeons may advise you to rest for a week after the surgery and to avoid certain exercises, except for walking.

Last word

Quitting smoking should be the first thing to do when you are planning to undergo rhinoplasty, as it will reduce the risks you might face in the surgery and improve your wound’s healing after the surgery. And who knows, maybe after you’ve noticed the positive effects of quitting smoking, you could get motivated enough to consider quitting for good.

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