When to Stop Drinking Alcohol Prior to Surgery?

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

Doctor Answers 74

Alcohol and rhinoplasty surgery

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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)

Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

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

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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
4.4 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

When to Stop Drinking Alcohol Prior to Surgery?

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         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

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Alcohol abstinence

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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 10 reviews

Drinking Is OK

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I allow my patients to drink in moderation right up until the night before surgery. I have not seen any ill effects

No alcohol for 5 days before surgery

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There is no "right answer" to this, but I ask my patients to refrain for 5 days. I have put together an instruction sheet for suggestions to minimize bruising. This can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

Theda C. Kontis, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

When to cease alcohol before rhinoplasty

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Thanks for your question. The answer, in part, depends on how much alcohol you are consuming on a daily basis. Assuming you are drinking 1 - 2 standard drinks a day, laying off the alcohol for a few days before surgery should be fine.

If your alcohol consumption is at a more dangerous level (more than 2 standard drinks a day), not only should you think about cutting down, you may also need to alert your surgeon. Excessive prolonged alcohol intake can affect your liver and ability for your blood to clot during surgery. This, in turn may lead to excessive bleeding and bruising.

Drinking alcohol before a rhinoplasty

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For moderate drinkers with normal liver function, I simply recommend not drinking more than a glass of wine, or one beer, or one cocktail each day for the week before surgery. That level of intake will not appreciably affect your procedure, your safety or your result.

All the best,

Talmage Raine MD

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Stopping alcohol before rhinoplasty...

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Since alcohol can thin the blood a bit, it is recommended to avoid it 10 days before an 10 days after surgery, especially if pain medicine is being taken at the same time. Be sure to follow the instructions of your surgeon, though.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 222 reviews

When to stop alcohol before surgery

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Thank you for your question. The answer varies, depending on the surgeon, but in our office we recommend that patients refrain from drinking alcohol for two weeks prior to surgery. There are several reasons for this recommendation. First, alcohol can have a blood thinning effect, which increases the risk of bleeding too much during surgery. Additionally, alcohol can interfere with anesthesia, which can be very dangerous. Also, alcohol can prolong healing and swelling after surgery, which will affect your ultimate aesthetic outcome. Hope that helps!

David W. Kim, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 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.