Recovering From Your Rhinoplasty Surgery

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What can be expected during the rhinoplasty recovery process?

Making the decision to surgically alter the shape and appearance of your nose, whether done for aesthetic reasons or to improve function, is a multi-step process. There are a lot of decisions to be made along the way and each one requires thought and preparation. Knowing what to expect from the recovery phase is no less important than any of the others.

Most cosmetic surgery results in not only a certain level of discomfort but also what may seem like a significant amount of time for swelling and bruising to run their course. The most satisfied patients will always be the ones who have prepared themselves for this in advance.

Recovery begins when the anesthesia wears off and the patient awakens. Depending upon the extent of the procedure, there may be a splint or cast to prevent injury or damage to the new structure and internal dressings. This combined with swelling often creates the feeling of being congested.  The splint and dressing, if used, will normally be in place no longer than a week.

Bleeding, post-surgery, is a universal concern. While it is uncommon for there to be more than a slight amount following rhinoplasty, there are a number of suggestions that should help to further decrease the likelihood of bleeding and may also reduce subsequent swelling. Some of these include:

  • No strenuous activity or exercise, such as running or aerobics
  • Keep dressings dry by substituting baths for showers
  • Glasses, including prescription lenses, should not rest on nose for at least a month
  • Increase roughage in diet to avoid constipation which can lead to straining and possible pressure on surgery location
  • Minimize big smiles and laughing that requires extreme movements in facial muscles
  • Use care when brushing teeth so that the upper lip is not overly stretched
  • Avoid pulling clothing over the head so as not to come in contact with site of surgery
  • Limit sodium intake

Also, it’s a good idea to use sunscreen, something like a SPF 30. Anytime we spend time in the sun, it is important to protect the skin from too much exposure, but that is especially true following surgery on the nose.  There will always be those determined to ignore this particular piece of advice but there is a very real chance of permanent irregular discoloration when recent nose surgery is over-exposed to the sun.

Normally, when there is swelling as the result of an injury or sore muscle, one of the standard home remedies is an ice pack. Cold tends to reduce swelling, as well as numb pain, so it may sound like a good idea to try after nose surgery but according to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, icing is not recommended following rhinoplasty.

While there may be some swelling that lingers for up to a year, this is not the norm, and most patients can return to work or school in as little as 10 days and resume most normal activities within a month. The new and improved appearance will be noticeable right away and the discomfort, bruising and most of the swelling should be gone soon.

Article by
Englewood Facial Plastic Surgeon