Heat and Sun Exposure

I underwent an extensive (open) secondary rhinoplasty approximately four months ago. Recently, I have had to spend a bit of time outdoors in the 100+ degree heat here in Phoenix, AZ. There is some sun exposure but I try to stay in the shade for the most part. On these days, I have experienced some extreme swelling. Will this affect the final result or is it only temporary? Do I need to avoid being outdoors or is the nose mostly healed at this point? Thank you for your time.

Doctor Answers 5

Heat and sun exposure?

Hello! Thank you for your question! After any surgical procedure, you should be careful with incisions as well as avoidance of direct UVA and UVB rays in order to lessen the chance for hyperpigmentation of the skin and scars, which can take several months to resolve, if it ever does. As the tissue was elevated off of your nose along with any oother adjunct procedures, minimizing trauma to the area is critical for such a delicate procedure as the rhinoplasty. The ability of the affected area to heal has been slowed and you should try to avoid additional swelling to the area. The area will likely be numb for several weeks to months and will be difficult to feel when sunburn is coming on. Typical recommendations include wearing a hat and/or sunblock to the affected area for at least 6-12 weeks following the procedure. You should also avoid trauma to the area for several months to protect the refinements made during the procedure. Also, avoidance of pools/lakes/jacuzzis/etc for 4-6 weeks is usually recommended to allow adequate healing and protection from stagnant water, that could potentially harbor bacteria. Certainly discuss the postoperative instructions with your surgeon, as thoughts differ among surgeons. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Sun and Rhinoplasty

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.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Nose swelling with sun and heat

You should at a minimum be using a high SPF sunscreen on your nose as well as wearing a hat if possible = prolonged swelling in the first year can effect final outcome

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Heat and Sun Exposure 4 Months after Rhinoplasty

Your nose is not completely healed if you're experiencing temporary swelling with exposure to the sun and heat 4 months after revision rhinoplasty. Unfortunately, it is possible that repeated inflammatory reactions could compromise your final result. I suggest you avoid the extreme temperatures causing the problems your having.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Heat and sun exposure can cause extreme swelling after Rhinoplsty

Yes, in my over 20 years experience performing Rhinoplasty...I have had patients who had prolonged heat and or sun exposure several months after their Rhinoplasty, despite my instructions to avoid that for the first 6 months. The swelling is from the body's defense mechanism to remove excess heat by increasing the blood supply to the tissue that getting warmer. Since the lymphatics don't hook up for 6 months, after a Rhinoplasty this extra blood supply can really make the nose swell up. IMHO, this while upsetting will not cause any healing issues as long as it's at least 3 months after the Rhinoplasty however, I would not advise this to be done on a regular basis.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 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.