April 26th, 2013
This depends on the patient and on how the drug use affected him or her, particularly his or her nose. Intranasal use of certain drugs – namely cocaine – can cause major damage to the nose. However, many former drug users who have not suffered this type of damage are suitable candidates for rhinoplasty.
Intranasal drug use decreases the supply of blood to nasal tissues, which can lead to the destruction of septal cartilage, and sometimes, septal perforation (holes in the septum). This in turn can compromise the nasal bridge support. When this occurs, a septal perforation repair may be necessary, which is not always successful due to diminished blood supply. Additionally, the lack of support creates a cartilaginous saddle nose deformity which requires repair with a rhinoplasty with grafts. The repair of saddle nose has a high success rate.
Intranasal drug use can also thin or scar the mucosa that covers the septum; in some cases this makes septoplasty inadvisable, due to increased risk of tearing the septum and creating a septal perforation.
If you are a former drug user, it is very important that you tell the surgeon evaluating you so that he or she can make the right determination regarding your potential surgery.
Also, it goes without saying that continued intranasal drug use is a bad idea, especially during the healing period, which can last up to a year. Taking drugs intra-nasally during the recovery period could have a catastrophic effect on your results.