I am 17 days post up after having a crooked nose straightened. Can smoking this soon possibly make my nose crooked or cause movement again somehow by the effects of the smoke?
Can Smoking Affect Results After Rhinoplasty?
Doctor Answers 21
Smoking and nose surgery
Cigarettes contain nicotine which is a powerful vasoconstrictor. This means the chemical chokes all of your blood vessels in your body.
Decreased blood supply means potentially delayed or poor healing and will increase your risk of infection, wound break down and possible need for additional surgery.
Our minimum recommendation for patients who smoke is to stop smoking at least 4 weeks before surgery and resume (hopefully never!) 4 weeks after surgery.
Please note nicotine gum, patch, and second hand smoke are just as bad.
Effect of Smoking on Rhinoplasty
The effects of smoking on nasal surgery (or any other surgery, for that matter) are multi-factorial, and play into the common recommendations regarding tobacco use before and after surgery.
Tobacco use is a bad idea in surgical patients because it contains nicotine, which is a powerful vasoconstrictor, cutting off blood to the tissues which are traumatized during surgery and often having a horrible detrimental effect on healing and scarring and possible infection. This is true of cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, nicotine gum, or electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine.
In the case of cigarettes or cigars in particular, this negative impact on healing is compounded by the increased exposure to carbon monoxide which results from the actual combustion of the tobacco. While the nicotine affects blood flow, carbon monoxide affects the blood's ability to carry oxygen, thereby decreasing oxygen delivery to the healing tissue that needs it so much.
Specifically regarding your concerns regarding making your nose crooked again or causing movement, it's possible that the delay in healing that occurs as a result of smoking can decrease the stability and strength of your nose at this stage - typically by 17 days, the bones are "stuck" in place, but in a smoker, the delay at this time can leave you more vulnerable to trauma and resulting unintentional repositioning of the bones.
Bottom line - anything that affects healing or the risk of infection will increase the risk that you'll get unwanted results and increase the likelihood that you'll need more surgery down the road - a prospect which is neither pleasant nor easy.
Smoking and results of rhinoplasty
Smoking itself will probably not directly cause any movement in the structure of your nose, effecting the results of your rhinoplasty. However, smoking always effects the healing process which could indirectly effect your results. For example, it could cause one side to heal with more scar tissue or could effect the soft tissues which could change the results.
If you've gone 17 days without smoking, why not just hold off a little bit longer to avoid the risk of complications.
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Delayed healing in smokers
I agree with the rest of the panel that smoking is detrimental in the immediate post op period, especially in patients who have had an open rhinoplasty. The problem after the fact is it may delay resolution of swelling so I would lay off the cigarettes as long as you can and quit if possible.
Smoking and cosmetic surgery
Smoking prior to and immediately after cosmetic surgery of any kind is unwise. Cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to constrict, blood to flow more slowly, impairs the body's ability to fight infection and limits oxygen delivery to the healing tissues because of the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke. This alone should be enough to make you stop smoking for good!
Smoking has obvious cancer causing risks as well as significantly accelerates the skin's aging rate. Remember, you did this to not only look better, but also to be around to enjoy the results. This is a great opportunity to quit, your body will thank you and so will your family!
Best of luck