What Is The Proper Way For Me To Clean The Dried Mucus Out Of My Nose 3 Weeks Post-Op?

I had a revision rhinoplasty 18 days ago. I had a lot of dried mucus in my nose and had been trying not to pick or blow my nose. However, this morning I couldn't take it anymore and I picked my nose with a Qtip. I am now very worried that I could have interferred with the healing. Could I have done something to harm my nose? My nose does seem more swollen and tender today than it was yesterday. What is the proper way to clean the nose?

Doctor Answers 22

Clean up your nose!

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Wound care after rhinoplasty is an important part of the procedure and important to prevent issues.  
I recommend cleaning all the incisions with a q-tip dipped in peroxide to dissolve and remove the crusts. This includes the nostril incisions.  Then apply a coat of any ointment the incisions, I generally recommend Aquaphor.  
I also recommend 2-3x daily rinsing with a Neilmed irrigation bottle.  One key is to keep the noise moist as it is generally very dry after any septoplasty or septorhinoplasty.  For that I recommend Nasogel squirt bottle (nasal saline gel) which softens the crust so you can wash it out.  I also recommend a cool mist humidifier.
Nose blowing is a surgeon specific guideline.  I personally allow sniffing during the first week and then gentle blowing after that, but absolutely n o compressing the nostrils.  Absolutely no hard blowing for a few months.  

Often times even these measures will not clear the nose and the crusts needs to be removed by the doctor.  I would call and ask your doctor.   

Troy Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Care for rhinoplasty

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You are doing just fine. I ask the patients to cleanse the inside of the nose with Q-tips and peroxide. This seems to get rid of the mucous. Then I ask them to apply a coat of bacitracin for lubrication

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Cleaning the nose following rhinoplasty

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Thanks for your question. It's common to have dried blood and mucous building up in your nasal cavities and nasal vestibules following nasal surgery of any kind. The best ways of dealing with this are to clean your nostrils with diluted hydrogen peroxide on a q-tip then applying antibiotic ointment or vaseline. For further up in the nose, using saline nasal spray helps clear out any debris. Sometimes your doctor will need to remove some of the build up for you. Good luck!

Robert S. Schmidt, MD
College Station Facial Plastic Surgeon

Cleaning the nose after surgery

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While I usually tell my patients not to put anything in their nose q-tips inclured during the post operative period, it is very unlikely you could have done any serious damage.  I usually recommend patients to use plain saline nasal spray to keep the inside moist and be patient as the crusting will eventually be dissolved and make its way out when ready.  After a revision rhinoplasty, there is often more swelling that lasts longer than the first time around, so this may not be out of the ordinary either.  But if you are concerned, the best thing is to see your surgeon and ask them to have a look.  Revision rhinoplasty does also have a higher risk of infection and its better to catch these things early. 

Catherine Weng, MD
Denver Otolaryngologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Make an appointment to see your surgeon

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It is very common to have dry mucous build up in the nose after rhinoplasty. We advise our patients to clean the very outside of the nostrils with hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic ointment for 1 week. If there is a lot of crust or debris built up and you are having trouble breathing, you can visit your surgeon and allow him/her to clean your nose with a suction vacuum. It is unlikely that you harmed your surgery by using the q-tip.  


Mehdi Sina, MD

Mehdi Sina, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon

Nose cleaning after Rhinoplasty: Best Method?

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Good Day. Thank you for your question. The post-treatment care of one's nose sometimes is not highlighted by your surgeons office.

The good thing, you unlikely did anything to harm your result.

The best treatment is to see your surgeon, have them clean your nose under direct vision and ensure no tissue injury occurred during your post-operative course.

The nose has several functions: warms breathed in air, moisturize breathed in air and be an opening for the air movement. Since these are the nose functions, itself can become dry.

Using either antibiotic ointment, vaseline or aquaphor using your finger or a Qtip,  gentle circular movement around the inside of your nostril will both remove crusting and moisturize your nose.

A humidifier in your bedroom and hourly nasal saline irrigation both will assist in keeping your nose moist during healing.

I hope you are happy with your rhinoplasty cosmetic outcome.

Robert J. Troell, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Saline rinses and hydrogen peroxide

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Saline rinse is the best way to clean the nose starting at day 1 post op. If you can see the scabbing and crusting, hydrogen peroxide is very good for removing these stuck hard crusts.

Jeffrey Jumaily, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Post Op Rhinoplasty - How To Clean Nose?

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This is an excellent question.  The answer varies from surgeon to surgeon, so be sure to check with yours. In my practice, we have an excellent technique that we teach post-operative patients that does not interfere with any healing, nor does it disturb any tissue. The best way to guarantee a great result is to ensure that patients take the best care of themselves postoperatively, since fresh rhinoplasties are fragile and need careful attention!

What Is The Proper Way For Me To Clean The Dried Mucus Out Of My Nose 3 Weeks Post-Op?

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Hi Sunny2011,

After rhinoplasty it is not unusual for crusting to develop inside the nose. Picking, of course, is not recommended as the healing incisions may open and bleed. In my experience, a thin layer of antibiotic ointment placed just inside the nostril rim with a finger will soften the crsut in this area. Also, using saline nose spray four to six times a day will soften and flush out any crusting that is further back in the nose.

Best of luck,

Dr. Kaniff

Thomas E. Kaniff, MD, FACS
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Cleansing the nose after rhinoplasty

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Nasal obstruction from dried mucus, blood and crusts following rhinoplasty is a universal complaint for the first few days and is somewhat unavoidable. The best way yo cleanse your nose soon after surgery depends totally on the technique your surgeon uses and you should ask your physician what he or she suggests you do. After your first post op visit and your surgeon has evaluated your nose, removed any splints, casts or bandages from your nose you should use over the counter salt water nasal spray to GENTLY moisturize and cleanse the mucus from your nose. Use only a hand held squeeze bottle and squeeze with your fingers to spray a mist into your nose. You can then gently blow or "snuffle" air through your nose to clear the blockage. if the obstruction is severe or painful call your doctor for his or her advice.

Eugene L. Alford, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.