When to Stop Drinking Alcohol Prior to Surgery?

How many weeks or days do I have to stop drinking before my rhynoplasty?

Doctor Answers 47

When to Stop Drinking Alcohol Prior to Surgery?

         One to two weeks of alcohol avoidance around the time of surgery is prudent and reasonable.  Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of rhinoplasties each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Alcohol & Rhinoplasty Surgery: Do's & Don'ts

This is very common and realistic question patients will ask at their preoperative appointment.  The answers vary greatly from surgeon to surgeon.  My recommendation is no alcohol with 48 hours of surgery.  The reason is alcohol is a diuretic (increases the amount you urinate), which could result in you presenting on the day of surgery somewhat dehydrated, potentially creating issues for the anesthesia team.  Also, having alcohol in your system at the time of surgery could interact and potentiate the anesthesia given to you.  Finally, if you routinely have alcohol of some quantity on a routine basis, depending on to what degree of consumption, this can decrease your blood’s ability to clot, and therefore should be reviewed with your surgeon prior to surgery.  Post-operatively you should never consume any alcohol while on pain medication or sleeping medication given for your post-op healing period.

This question also lends to what else should you avoid prior to surgery.  Since plastic surgery is elective, you have plenty of time to stop taking contraindicated medication before your surgery.  The most common non-prescription class of these medications is Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s).  This is not an all-inclusive list, but some of the more common over the counter NSAID’s are Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, and Celebrex).  There are cells in your blood called platelets that are crucial for clotting.  Every day your body removes the older ones and manufactures new ones.  NSAID’s inhibit the new platelets clotting function that are created the day you take the medication – a big problem when undergoing surgery of any kind.  Taking these over the counter medications on a daily basis prior to surgery can put you at significant risk for bleeding during or after surgery.   No NSAID’s should be taken for of a minimum of one week before surgery, and two weeks is preferable.  Again, you should discuss this with your surgeon, since many patients usually only list their physician-prescribed medications on their new patient intake forms.  Most good surgeons will give you a list of all non-prescription (i.e. over the counter) medication to be avoided, as well as the time frame before and after surgery.

Finally, Herbs and Vitamins, especially in high doses can also have the side effect of increased bleeding.  The list is extensive, and again your surgeon should be able to provide those to you in advance.  Some of the more common ones would be Vitamin E, Ginger, and Saw Palmetto.  Given the fact these are “supplements”, and not imperative to take, the best advice is to abstain from all of them for at least a week or longer, again depending on what you surgeon recommends. Hope you found this answer helpful.  All the best!

Burke Robinson, MD, FACS
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Alcohol and rhinoplasty surgery

You should stop using anything that can increase the risk of excessive bleeding during and after surgery 1 to 2 weeks before surgery.  This includes:

1.  Most herbal supplements
2.  Fish oil
3.  Non steroidal anti inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil Motrin).
4.  Vitamin E
5.  Foods:  Alcohol, garlic

What you can take to reduce bruising and bleeding before, 2 to 7 days before and after:
1.  Arnica oral
2.  Yunnan (Chinese herb)
3.  Bromalin
4.  Vitamin K

Ran Y. Rubinstein, MD
200 Stony Brook Court, Newburgh, New York

Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon (ABFPRS)
Fellow American Society forLaser Medicine & Surgery (ASLMS)
Clinical Professor New York Presbyterian Hospital
National Education Faculty (physician trainer) for:
Allergan (Botox, Juvederm, Voluma), Galderma (Scultpra, Restylane, Silk),
Cynosure (Cellulaze, Precision Laser Lift) & Solta (Fraxel, Thermage)
Zeltiq( CoolSculpting)

Ran Y. Rubinstein, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

Alcohol abstinence

I recommend to patients to refrain from alcohol consumption completely 7 days prior to your surgery and 2 weeks postoperatively.  I also recommend refraining from all diet supplements, vitamins and homeopathic remedies unless expressly approved by me.  This is because most have unintended effects that can interact with anesthesia, and thin the blood.  I also recommend no NSAIDS, like aspirin, ibuprofen or aleve 2 weeks preop.   

Andrew Compton, MD
Troy Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews


Alcohol consumption decreases the efficacy of immune system during the healing process and can have a negative effect on the outcome of any type of surgery. It is best to be avoided for at least days if not weeks prior to surgery, to also minimize its negative effect on body's hydration level. As such, it would be difficult to put a set timeline for it.

Jacob Sedgh, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Refraining from alcohol before rhinoplasty is important - but what else can you do to get the best result?

As much as a surgeon’s experience and technique is crucial, a great rhinoplasty result is also dependent on your cooperation as a patient. Doing this type of research up front is a big positive - it indicates that you will be mindful of the pre- and post-operative instructions for your surgery.

Though it is possible to, for example, drink a glass of wine right up until the time that you need to start fasting for surgery, I recommend that my patients follow a schedule of no alcohol (as well as a few other items, listed in the link below) for two weeks prior to their procedure, as well as two weeks following to ensure bruising and swelling is kept to a minimum. The issue with certain substances, such as alcohol, medications and supplements, is that they can thin the blood, delaying healing and, ultimately, impacting your personal comfort following rhinoplasty.

Make it through this two-week pre- and post-surgery time frame, and you’ll have a great rhinoplasty result you can toast to!

Thomas Buonassisi, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Alcohol and rhinoplasty

There are several reasons to avoid alcohol prior to surgery.  First of all, drinking alcohol can promote bleeding, although it is mild in that regard.  In addition, several studies have found that alcohol can reduce your immune response, which is critical in patients recovering from surgery.  Alcohol can promote vasodilation, which in a procedure like rhinoplasty, can promote early swelling which is not desirable.  Finally, alcohol may not mix with your medications.  

Based on the clinical data and my practice's experience, we recommend 1 week of complete abstinence prior to surgery and 1 week afterwards for our patients.  We do not recommend heavy drinking before or after these periods.  

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Drinking before Surgery

Each surgeon will have his or her own guidelines for preoperative care. Moderating your alcohol consumption 1 to 2 weeks prior to surgery is recommended. Consult with your surgeon as he or she knows the scope of the surgery and the specifics about you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Refraining from alcohol before surgery


Refraining from alcohol approximately 1 week before surgery is a good idea. Then, refrain from drinking while you are taking any medications after surgery, such as pain meds or antibiotics. 

All the best,

Dr. Blagg

Austin, TX

Alcohol prior to and after surgery.

I tell patients that they should avoid alcohol the week before surgery and 2 weeks after surgery. Drinking before and after surgery can cause bruising. After the surgery if you are taking Percocet they also do not mix with alcohol. To help with healing after surgery arnica tablets are helpful.

N. Bill Aydin, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 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.