Can't Stop Smoking Before my Rhinoplasty, is 2-3 Weeks Pre-Op Enough TIme?

my surgery is on february 4th and my doctor told me I should atleast stop smoking a whole month before my surgery and after the surgery. I think I can handle not smoking after the surgery but I stopped smoking for just one day and I felt really depressed and bored. I heard that I should stop for atleast 2 weeks before the surgery but my doctor said I should stop for a month. so, why is it different with every doctor and what if I stopped smoking for just 2-3 weeks before my surgery,is it OK?

Doctor Answers 10

Follow the advice given

It’s very imperative you follow your surgeon’s advice. It is critical for proper healing and your over all health. You need to speak with your surgeon about this as soon as you can. He/She may have advice to help you through this difficult time.

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Smoking before Rhinoplasty

Stopping smoking 2-3 weeks before a rhinoplasty is NOT enough time. Delay your surgery until you have stopped for a month at the very least. I, in fact, require 2 months. It takes that amount of time for the nicotine to be excreted and for your tissues to recover to a reasonable vascularity to make the procedure safe. You are doing this to improve your looks. If you have a complication and a part of your nose dies, the resulting problem will be hard if not impossible to repair and you will live with the disaster the rest of your life.


Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Smoking and rhinoplasty

You dramatically increase your risk of wound healing problems if you smoke and have surgery.  For an elective cosmetic procedure you should stop smoking COMPLETELY at LEAST a month before surgery.  Considering the time and money you are investing in a cosmetic procedure you should take great pains to limit your exposure to risk. 

Do you want your surgeon to wash his/her hands before operating on you? Would you prefer to have your surgeon drunk or sober during the surgery?  Should the surgery center staff sterilize the instruments before using them on you?

C'mon: grow up.  This is not rocket science.  Give up the damn cigarettes or don't have the procedure.

Daniel Greenwald, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Dead skin after surgery may give you your answer.

Do you really want to find out the hard way just how "late" you can stop a potentially disastrous cause of dead skin? Of course there is an exact answer as to how long before surgery you must absolutely quit smoking in order to avoid vasoconstriction that could lead to dead skin and exposed cartilage, and unsatisfactory reconstructive options after a disaster in healing. It's just that no one wants to "cut it so close" that one day more makes the difference between a good result and a huge problem. 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks--what is the line between disaster and barely OK? Hint: it's probably different for each patient and each surgical procedure, so each surgeon may have our own estimate of an appropriate margin of "safety."

If you drive a sports car 100mph at a concrete wall and are told if you stand on the brakes at 150 feet from the wall you will stop in time and survive, would you ask if it OK to start braking at 110 feet? Someone might be concerned that you might not be able to exert full force on the brakes and advise 170 feet. Is that incorrect, or "less" correct than 150 feet? Why not try the brakes at 50 feet? At some point you will hit the wall and die; at another you will just miss hitting the concrete barrier. Whose advice will you feel safest with?

Your doctor has asked you to abstain from smoking 4 weeks before surgery. If you disregard this advice, will you also take off your nose splint prematurely (to"see how it looks")? Or blow your nose before being advised it is OK? Or exercise when told not to?

Kind patient, I would not want you for my patient since you want to write your own rules, but yet will undoubtedly ask your surgeon to be responsible for and "fix" any disaster that is really your fault. Do you really think depressed and bored is better with dead nose skin?

You already know the answer here--FOLLOW YOUR SURGEON'S ADVICE. You can ask your own doctor for medication to help you with this. It IS important. Good luck!

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

Cigarettes and surgery

Surgery increases the risks of complications and I would not operate on you if you did not stop smoking at least 3-4 weeks prior to surgery. You should speak to your surgeon about his criteria.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Can't Stop Smoking Before my Rhinoplasty, is 2-3 Weeks Pre-Op Enough TIme?

You need to follow your Rhinoplasty Surgeons advice.  I ask my Rhinoplasty patients to cut down after the surgery as the smoke seems to irritate the nose and prolong swelling and healing IMHO.  

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

Smoking and Rhinoplasty

Smoking can cause numerous problems with healing, infection and skin loss.  If your doctor suggests (as they should) that you stop smoking, you should listen to their recommendations. The results could be disastrous if you do not follow directions. There are a number of tools available to help you stop smoking, but you should make every effort to stop and be honest with your surgeon for the best results.

Best of luck,

Vincent Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Smoking Before Rhinoplasty

Once you have picked a surgeon you want to work with you need to follow his advice. If you are having an "open" rhinoplasty the results of poor blood flow to the skin at the tip of the nose could leave you with disastrous results and you would have no one to blame but yourself. Follow your doctors instructions.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Stopping smoking prior to rhinoplasty

While it is healthy and recommended for patients to stop smoking prior to surgery this is often not achievable. While each surgeon differs I ask my patients to quit smoking two to three weeks prior to surgery. With some surgeries this is more important then others. Rhinoplasty surgery is not affected as much by smoking as a facelift, tummy tuck, or breast reduction procedure. The nicotine causes vascular constriction and delays wound healing by not allowing the tissues proper circulation. With a facelift and other procedures mentioned this is very important as you are cutting off the blood supply to a larger area via an incision and/ or placing tension on these flaps. With reduced blood supply you have more risk of complications. In my patients who smoke and have smoked for a long time that are undergoing these larger procedures I often have them do a hyperbaric oxygen treatment a day prior and a few days post surgery to help increase their circulation. You may find quitting a few weeks before your rhinoplasty surgery and not smoking after that you "kick the habit" and will be on the road to a healthier you. Wishing you a speedy recovery, nicotine free!!

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Smoking and Rhinoplasty: Disaster

Smoking in the immediate period before Rhinoplasty brings one word to mind: Disaster.  If you are willing to make the financial and time commitment to have an elective cosmetic surgical procedure, you should make the effort to stop smoking.  Smoking is incredibly detrimental to wound healing and may leave you with less than predictable results.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 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.