When can I smoke after rhinoplasty? Post-rhinoplasty instructions

“A good rhinoplasty patient is a non-smoker,” most rhinoplasty surgeons say, and there is a reason for that. Lots of different research claimed that smokers tend to have higher chances of having complications after a nose job surgery. Especially heavy smokers may wonder, when can I smoke after rhinoplasty?

It is advised to stop smoking before and after any huge operation. No doubt that this dangerous habit has direct effects on your rhinoplasty surgery too.

If you are a regular smoker, and find it hard to stop smoking even for a week, the rest of the article may not give you the answers you want to hear. For those who like to give it a chance, we are here for you to help.

Let’s see when can you smoke after rhinoplasty.

Smoking after rhinoplasty: The rival of the successful recovery

Smoking is the elephant in the room regarding its harmful effects on the human body. It badly affects your blood supply system after the moment you inhale. Most doctors tell their patients to refrain from tobacco products that include harmful chemicals before and after the rhinoplasty operation.

There is no exception here, you should avoid all forms of tobacco products (waterpipes, bidis, kreteks, vape, electronic cigarettes) and secondhand smoke is also considered harmful. In addition to these, chewing tobacco, nicotine patch, lozenge, and inhalers should also be avoided.

It is only for a short period of time that you have to quit smoking. As the tissues on your nose heal daily the risk factors will decrease every day and it will be less risky for you to smoke after a while. You just need to be patient and persistent during this time.

When can you smoke after rhinoplasty?

There is no best time to continue smoking after rhinoplasty, generally, it is just a bad habit for your health. However, one who asks “When can I smoke after rhinoplasty?” gets this answer; 2-4 weeks after the surgery. The first weeks are crucial in your rhinoplasty recovery time, and by not smoking you avoid serious complications not just for the rhinoplasty results but also for your health, as it badly affects your airway.

Risks of smoking too soon after rhinoplasty

The last thing your surgeon would like to hear is a sentence like “I smoked after rhinoplasty”. You might put the surgery results at risk, as you smoke sooner than you should. Usually, rhinoplasty is considered a less risky surgery with an 85% of success rate, however, it is not risk-free (2).

Since the surgery is highly invasive, there will be scar tissue, healing stitches, bones, and cartilage, and slowly subsiding swelling on your nose after rhinoplasty. You will be risking this delicate recovery process if you smoke too soon after rhinoplasty.

How about smoking weed?

Some people have different smoking habits, weed. Smoking weed is not a different case from regular smoking. Any kind of weed should be avoided until your nose is healed properly. Especially some wonder “when can you smoke weed after rhinoplasty operation?” and the answer is not until 4 weeks passed to make sure your healing tissues are not affected.

What happens if I smoke after rhinoplasty?

Smoking let nicotine and many harmful chemicals enter your bloodstream. These chemicals thicken your blood and narrow your vessels. Eventually, your blood pressure increases, your heart beats faster and the blood flow slows down.

The nicotine tends to stay in your body for about 1 to 3 days after you smoke, and for some other chemicals, it can be longer.

Basically, smoking causes; high blood pressure, narrowed vessels, and thickened blood which are not really good for the newly healing tissues on your nose. That is why, if you smoke after rhinoplasty you might have:

  • Slow healing process
  • Excessive swelling
  • Risk of infection
  • Nasal tissue death
  • Weakened nasal septum
  • Anesthesia Reactions
  • Clogged nose
  • Unnatural results

Smoking aside, rhinoplasty already poses some risks, and the negative effects of smoking only make it worse. Let’s see what all these risks are that comes with smoking or vaping after rhinoplasty.

Slow healing process

Merely the recovery itself is already an exhausting process for your body. While your body makes the extra effort to recover if the blood vessels that carry oxygen and white cells are impaired, it results in poor healing and a longer healing period.

Excessive swelling

Swelling occurs after any rhinoplasty operation and mostly it lasts around a month to be mostly gone. BleedingTo reduce the swelling, doctors generally recommend some solutions to decrease the pressure on your nose.  While we are trying to avoid complications, smoking will do the exact opposite, as your thickened blood take its journey through the narrowed vessels around your nose.

Risk of infection

Your nose already possesses some infection risks after any nose job, and smoking just worsens the scenario. When you smoke, your body’s anti-bacterial function gets compromised, resulting in a higher risk of infection. This is due to the chemicals inside the smoke interfering with the way your immune system works in so many different ways.

The immune system produces white cells to prevent infection, and these white cells are delivered through your blood vessels. Cigarette smoke will both reduce white cell production and hinder these cells’ way as a result of constricted blood vessels.

Besides, your body’s immune system works with a trial-and-error method, which means it learns what to get out of your system, and what to keep in. In some cases, smoking disrupts the way your immune system works and makes it attack the healthy body cells, called autoimmune disease.

Nasal tissue death

During a rhinoplasty operation to reach the underlying structure surgeons lift your skin up and then stitch back. This will temporarily compromise your skin structure and almost always it heals nicely. However if the operation is not successful, or when your recovery is impaired your might experience nasal skin loss.

Any interruption during the healing period, like a carbon monoxide increase in your flow of blood, might double the chances of skin death or loss. You might have heard about this condition as skin necrosis. Guess what increases the level of carbon monoxide in your bloodstream. Smoking!

Weakened nasal septum

Especially if your surgery involved any correction for your breathing issues then you might put yourself at a higher risk. Not necessarily but some rhinoplasty operations are held together with another surgery, septoplasty. In a septoplasty surgery, the separator wall between the nostrils is straightened for a better breathing experience.

That wall might weekend due to surgical intervention and need some time before fully healed. Smoking too soon after your rhinoplasty might weaken that wall, and even lead to a tiny hole to occur. This is called septal perforation and is a serious complication. Only with another surgery, this problem can be solved.

Clogged nose

Smoking will increase mucus production in your nose and it can only make the recovery process harder than it should be. Normally when you produce mucus, the excessive amount is thrown out by cilia, which are tiny-hair-looking structures. Smoking disrupts the way they work and as a result cause nasal congestion, or in other words clogged nose.

A clogged nose increases the chances of infection and some other risks of complications we mentioned before. That is why your surgery might yield undesirable results due to a clogged nose.

Unnatural results

The happy ending can turn into unnatural results if you smoke during your recovery period. You might experience improper healing which badly affects not only the function but also the aesthetic look. Nasal asymmetry, large scarring, and skin loss might occur.

According to a study by Oxford Academic, smoking interrupts collagen production, and as a result skin healing process (3). These collagens are also known to prevent wrinkles and are also used in anti-aging creams. That means smoking can also jeopardize aesthetic results.

You would not like to put all your efforts, time, and money at risk by smoking after your rhinoplasty operation.

How smoking can affect rhinoplasty results in long-term

First of all, you should know that rhinoplasty has two different recovery periods; the crucial healing period and the slow healing period. The first month is the crucial one in which you are generally not allowed to smoke and avoid certain activities that can affect the results of your surgery and your health.

Usually, around a month later, the first crucial period ends, and most plastic surgeons allow their patients to resume using tobacco products. However, the second part of your journey takes longer because the tip swelling tends to stay longer than visible swelling.

Since tip swelling lasts longer than the other nose parts, smoking throughout the year after your rhinoplasty procedure might delay the final results.

How to manage nicotine cravings without smoking

Making your way out of smoking might be a challenging task, but it is also hard to ignore its harmful effects on any healing process. Since it is a daily habit for some people, they might feel desperate and find it hard to cope without smoking.

It is completely understandable as your body is also confused in this situation and while trying to find the balance you will crave smoking. Hopefully, there are some methods that will help you get through nicotine craving days and to avoid the adverse effects of smoking.

  • Get a new hobby: The best thing you can do to avoid a habit is to earn a new one.
  • Spend more time socializing: Social interactions are the best remedy for many problems.
  • Do exercises: Avoid strenuous activities for a while but after your surgeon allowed, performing exercises is both healthy and helpful to avoid smoking.
  • Get professional help: There is always hope for those who are looking for ways to avoid a bad habit.

Options like nicotine patches or gums might be tempting at this point, but they are not safe choices either. These interfere with your healing period as most of them include nicotine and harmful substances. Now, that you got the answer to the “When can I smoke after rhinoplasty” question make sure to follow our lead and contact us for a free consultation.


(1): Rettinger G. Risks and complications in rhinoplasty. GMS Curr Top Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;6:Doc08. Epub 2008 Mar 14. PMID: 22073084; PMCID: PMC3199839. Link

(2): Yoshikawa R, Katada J. Effects of active smoking on postoperative outcomes in hospitalised patients undergoing elective surgery: a retrospective analysis of an administrative claims database in Japan. BMJ Open. 2019;9(10):e029913. Published 2019 Oct 1. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029913 Link

(3) Knuutinen A, Kokkonen N, Risteli J, et al. Smoking affects collagen synthesis and extracellular matrix turnover in human skin. Br J Dermatol. 2002;146(4):588-594. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.04694.x

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