Sun Exposure Post-Rhinoplasty
Avoiding direct exposure to the sun is
an essential part of proper rhinoplasty recovery. I always recommend that my
patients apply sunblock and/or wear a cap when going outside for at least the
first 6 months after surgery, although the first few weeks are the most
important. It is possible to go on holiday even one week after surgery taking
precautions to avoid direct sun exposure to your nose.
At what point is sun exposure after a rhinoplasty no longer a concern?
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. Certainly discuss the postoperative instructions with your surgeon, as thoughts differ among surgeons. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!
Sun and water exposure after 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.
Pablo Prichard, MD
Good job on the sun protection so far. You won't have delayed healing going forward but you will be susceptible to prolonged sweling if you have a lot of sun exposure. I would wear a wide hat and continue the sunscreen for at least 3 months. Ask your doctor about going to the beach.
Exposure to a lot of sun can lead to swelling that might cause scar tissue. I generally ask patients to stay out of the sun for six weeks. The real question is whether or not it is the uv exposure ir simply the heat.
Sun exposure after rhinoplasty
At five weeks post-op you still need to be very careful about sun exposure. The sun will cause it to swell more and may actually damage the skin. At this point, your skin is still quite sensitive. I generally advise my patients to wait until most of the swelling and all of the sensation has returned to the area. This varies from patient to patient. I would ask your surgeon what he or she recommends.