January 31, 2023

What is Cocaine Nose Collapse?

Cocaine nose collapse is caused by cocaine being routinely snorted through the nasal cavities, leading to erosion and scarring. Here are the facts to know.

cocaine nose collapse

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Table of Contents

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Susana Spiegel

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on June 5, 2023

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What is Cocaine Nose Collapse?

Cocaine nose collapse occurs when cocaine is snorted repeatedly through the nasal cavities After prolonged cocaine damages the delicate skin and tissue inside your nose, leading to erosion and scarring. This damage to the septum can cause a saddle-like deformity in the mid-face that affects breathing and other physical and psychological problems.

Physical Signs of Cocaine Nose Collapse

The physical signs of cocaine nose collapse include a flattened appearance to the nose, a collapsed bridge of the nose, and sometimes even loss of smell. Other symptoms include frequent sinus infections, headaches, and nosebleeds. In extreme cases, cocaine users may also experience vocal changes due to cocaine damage in the throat and mouth. Users also report being unable to snort cocaine through their nose. It is said that the cocaine will fall right back out, unable to go up into the nasal cavity.


– Nosebleeds and a runny nose due to the irritation of the nasal passages. – A decrease in the sense of smell, which can be permanent if cocaine use is prolonged. – Damage to the septum (the wall between your nostrils) leading to a “saddle nose” deformity or even complete collapse of the bridge of your nose. – An increased risk for sinus infections and other respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia. – Long-term damage to blood vessels in your nasal cavity that can lead to chronic inflammation and scarring. – Increased risk for developing polyps in your nasal cavities, which can cause difficulty breathing through your nose. – Other forms of deteriotian of the nasal cavity including Nasal Septal Perforation1  

How do I Stop Nose Collapse from Getting Worse?

If you think cocaine nose collapse is beginning to affect you, there are steps you can take to help stop it from getting worse.

Step One: Seek Help for Cocaine Addiction

The most important thing is to stop using cocaine immediately and seek professional help from a qualified cocaine drug rehab. Quitting cocaine can prevent further damage and give your body time to heal itself naturally over time.

Step Two: Talk to Your Doctor 

Talk to your doctor about the possibility of undergoing reconstructive surgery to correct any damage caused by cocaine nose collapse.

Step Three: Get into a Support Group for Cocaine Addiction

Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, which has a Cocaine based chapter called Cocaine Anonymous2, are designed to help individuals with cocaine addiction.

Attending meetings and listening to the stories of others who have successfully quit using can help you stay on track with your own recovery.

Step Four: Get Support From Family & Friends

Get support from family and friends and ensure they know your situation. Their understanding and support can provide a much-needed helping hand during this difficult time

Step Four: Research Treatment Options

Research treatment options such as nasal sprays, surgery or other medications which may be available to help with the symptoms of cocaine

True Story: “My Nose Collapsed Due to Cocaine Use”

A woman named Kelly has been sharing her experience with Cocaine nose collapse over Tiktok and the process she has gone through with Nasal reconstructive surgery.

In her informative videos, she shares the reality behind what it’s like to go through a cocaine nose collapse, bringing a straightforward and refreshing honesty about her addiction and the choices that led her to go through with a nasal reconstructive surgery.

Here is her Tiktok video of her sharing a quick summary of her story.

@stuartlittle064 2 Years!!! #fckaddicition #dontdodrugs #recovery #recoverytok #wedorecover #recoveryispossible #recoveroutloud #addictionawareness #addictionisadisease #reachout #manifestpositivity #flappy #sober #soberaf ♬ nobody believes in you – 𝐑𝐨𝐛_𝐃𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐞𝐲

What are the common treatments for nose collapse?

Treatment for cocaine nose collapse will depend on how much damage has been done.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if your doctor suspects cocaine usage is the cause.

Medical Treatments for Cocaine Nose Collapse

Cocaine detox

This medical process helps clear cocaine from your system and allow your body time to heal.

This can help reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, that often accompany cocaine use.

Long-term Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Long-term treatment is a comprehensive approach to treating addiction, with support from professional counselors, doctors, and other healthcare providers.

The goal of long-term treatment is to help you understand your addiction and develop the tools needed to cope with cravings in the future.

Forehead Flap Surgery

Forehead flap surgery is a reconstructive surgical procedure that can be used to repair cocaine nose collapse.

During this type of surgery, a piece of tissue from the forehead is removed and grafted onto the damaged area of the nose in order to help restore shape and function.

This type of surgery is used to rebuild the nose. The skin is then shaped to resemble a normal nose, and extra cartilage taken from other parts of your body may be added for support.

Forehead Flap Surgery is a process that takes time. It’s important to note that you will need to go through a process of approval for this surgery where you must meet certain time criteria of being clean from cocaine and other drugs.

Because this surgery is extensive and can be costly, doctors want to make sure that you are serious about recovery. 

Reconstructive rhinoplasty

This process involves surgically reshaping your existing nasal tissue to reposition and rebuild the nose.

It can be used as an alternative to forehead flap surgery or in combination with it, depending on the severity of your nose collapse.

Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a combination of treatments, such as a cocaine detox program followed by nasal reconstructive surgery.


  • Your doctor may prescribe you medications such as nasal corticosteroids, to help reduce inflammation and irritation in the nose.
  • Antibiotics to treat any infections that may have been caused by cocaine use.
  • Psychiatric Medications, such as antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, can help cocaine users manage their feelings of depression or anxiety that may accompany cocaine withdrawal.

Mental Health Care for Cocaine Nose Collapse

Individual Therapy

Talking with a qualified mental health professional can help cocaine users understand the effects cocaine has had on their life and find healthier ways to cope with stress.

Group Therapy

Participating in group therapy sessions is an effective way to receive support from peers who have also been affected by cocaine nose collapse.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy helps cocaine users identify harmful patterns of thought and behavior and learn how to replace them with healthier alternatives.

Support Groups

Participating in support groups is important for cocaine users as it allows them to build relationships with people who can provide understanding and encouragement as they work towards recovery.

How to get approved for Nasal Reconstructive surgery

The chances of getting approved for nasal reconstructive surgery depend on the severity of cocaine nose collapse. Generally speaking, if the damage is severe enough to cause difficulty breathing or an inability to smell, a doctor may recommend reconstructive surgery.

However, many doctors require that you have a certain amount of recovery before they consider performing the surgery on you.

What Should I Do if I Think I am Experiencing Cocaine Nose Collapse?

If you are experiencing cocaine nose collapse, speak to a doctor immediately.

Your doctor can assess the severity of cocaine nose collapse and recommend an appropriate treatment plan for you.

This may include cocaine detox or medications to help reduce inflammation and irritation in the nose, reconstructive surgery to repair any damage or mental health support.

It is important to remember that cocaine nose collapse can be managed, and many medical resources are available to help you on your journey towards recovery.

Get Help for Cocaine Addiction at Cornerstone in Scottsdale, AZ

If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction, the team at a Cornerstone drug rehab in Scottsdale, AZ, can help.

Our experienced medical staff will provide individualized cocaine withdrawal assistance and cocaine rehab programs such as residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, standard outpatient, sober coaching, and sober companions.

We specialize in treating Cocaine and can help you begin the process of recovery.

To learn more about treatment at Cornerstone, you can give us a call now or verify your insurance. If we can’t help you, we will point you in the direction of a treatment center that can!


[1] Nasal Septal Perforation
[2] Cocaine Anonymous

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Author & Reviewers

susana spiegel recovery writer and SEO expert

Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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