Can Smoking Significantly Postpone Full Rhinoplasty Recovery Beyond 2.5 Years?

I had rhinoplasty surgery 2.5 years ago the front part of my nose still tends to minutely inflate whenever there is above average cigarette or alcohol consumption. My understanding is that full healing would have taken place only when such minute inflation/swelling completely ceases.

Is this correct? Is it possible that my smoking is significantly delaying the FULL recovery beyond 2.5 years? Will it ever stop minutely inflating/swelling without the cessation of smoking?

Doctor Answers 6

Effects of Smoking on Rhinoplasty Recovery

It may not be the actual cigarette smoking, but rather your nose may have more sensitive allergies to other things in the environment.

Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 128 reviews

Smoking and alcohol effects on nose 2.5 years post-op.

Your nose has fully healed.

Your nasal skin responds to chemicals you swallow or inhale.

Cigarettes have several of the most toxic chemicals around--nicotine, carbon monoxide, and others. Alcohol is a potent vasodilator, and causes skin vessels to dilate, become more visible ("drinker's nose" particularly bad in those with Acne Rosacea), and thicken the skin slightly. These chemicals can cause what you are describing, but have nothing to do with your complete healing, they have to do with your still-living and responsive skin.

You should stop smoking entirely, and consume alcohol in moderation!

Patients planning surgery should stop smoking and alcohol consumption well before and continue after surgery to allow proper circulation and healing, and to reduce the risks of ischemic vasoconstriction, dead skin, and loss of cosmetic result with need for skin grafts or other reconstructive surgery!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Smoking and Rhinoplasty Recovery

Smoking and alcohol will delay healing after rhinoplasty surgery. I'm not aware of any studies that clarify the duration harmful effects of abusive habits - obviously that would depend on how much you smoke and drink. You should see your surgeon for an evaluation.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Rhinoplasty recovery

Dear NKH,

It may be more due to the alcohol than the cigarette smoke.  If you find that your nose swells in the presence of cigarette smoke without alcohol, it could be a small allergy that causes inflammation.  If the nose looks good in all other circumstances, I would avoid doing anything more. 

Nonetheless, if you have any questions about it, please see your plastic surgeon so that he can examine you and give you the best answer.


Nima Shemirani

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Smoking after Rhinoplasty

Best option is to quit the smoking all together. Your body and nose will thank you for it. Best of luck.

Dr. Chaboki


Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Can smoking delay healing after a Rhinoplasty

Certainly 2 1/2 years after your Rhinoplasty, your nose is fully healed.  The swelling at this point is most likely secondary to other factors, not the original surgery.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.