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Have I Caused Permanent Damage After Rhinoplasty?

I had my Rhinoplasty done one month ago. I was told to take 2 weeks off the gym. I took four weeks off. During those three weeks, I was liking my result more and more. I had a follow up and the doctor said that swelling is still evident, but I am doing fine. I started going back at the gym this week (lifting weights). I took a picture this week, and compared it to last week, and I feel that there is slightly more swelling in my nasal tip. Could it be that I have caused a permanent damage and permanent swelling?

Doctor Answers (4)

Sun and Rhino

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In general, your nose has less natural protection from the sun right after rhinoplasty. All the tissue was just elevated off of the internal structure of the nose, including the bone and cartilage, and blood vessels were coagulated in order to do this. There fore we weakened the nose's natural defense since we weakened its blood supply. This blood supply grows back , but it can take quite a bit of time to happen. In the first 6 weeks, your nose is less naturally resistant to UV rays and is more likely to burn and get discolored. Also, since your nose is mostly numb early on, its less likely that you are to notice the problem until its too late. I recommend you stay out of the sun as much as possible in the first 6 weeks after surgery. If you are in the sun for short periods of time, stay in the shade, and wear a big hat and a good sunblock. Do not wear sun glasses in the first 6 weeks, or any glasses for that matter, if osteotomies were performed, (breaking of the nasal bones). You can get your nose wet as soon as the splint comes off, but I would be careful about chlorinated pools early on until the incision is fully healed an more mature, as the chlorine can irritate the incision. The gym and anything that increases you blood pressure will increase the swelling of your nose and delay your healing time. I recommend 6 weeks for this as well. Sometimes it can take longer for your skin to mature, even a year and more in some cases. I suggest that you wear sun block for at least a year every day while out in the sun.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD


Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Rhinoplasty is a complex surgical procedure

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Reshaping the nose can be complex. The surgery can be performed inside t he nose ("closed approach") or with a small scar at the bottom of the nose ("open approach") . Depending on the approach used and the extent of surgery post op swelling will occur. Most of the swelling will resolve in the first few weeks and by 6 weeks the nose usually gives some indication as to the final appearance. It is important to note that the nose may change over a period of years and constant followup with your surgeon is needed. Most cases of temporary swelling if related to straining or minor pressure variations will resolve. It is best to see your surgeon to evaluate the swelling to give you the best advice on the long term outcome. Best of luck.

Robert Mounsey, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Rhinoplasty Swelling

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All patients should be as conscientious as you. You probably did cause additional swelling with your strenuous activity. However, this should be a temporary setback. Resolution of the swelling will take a little longer; no permanent harm. Listen to your body and be patient getting back to your normal routine.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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Rhinoplasty Recovery: Swelling

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Some patients experience transient swelling after rhinoplasty with activities such as exercise, sun exposure, and alcohol consumption. This swelling should go down gradually and usually does not indicate that any permanent damage was done.

Bruising and swelling are a normal part of rhinoplasty recovery. They are dependent on several factors related to both the surgical technique and the patient. Techniques that increase bruising and swelling include whether or not the nasal bones were broken (osteotomies), the extent of soft tissue dissection/elevation from the bony-cartilaginous framework, and whether the surgery was performed open or closed.

Swelling following rhinoplasty resolves at variable rates. For the initial two weeks, the nose is markedly swollen and noticable to anyone. After the second week, the swelling usually subsides such that it is not obvious to the casual observer that anything has been done to the nose; however, the nose will look "puffy" to the patient for several months. Usually by 4 months, the vast majority of the swelling will dissipate, but it may take a full year (or longer in some cases) for all of the swelling to resolve.

The severity of swelling can be minimized by following these tips:

* Ice packs to applied to the cheeks for the first 48 hours -- beyond that time, it is of little benefit

* Keep you head elevated higher than your heart. This will help minimize the amount of edema (swelling)

* Herbal supplements such as bromelin, papaya extract, and arnica may be of benefit, but few studies have proven their effectiveness.

* Most of all, be patient. Most of the bruising and swelling will gradually subside over the first one to two weeks after surgery.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 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.