Sunburn Post Revision Rhinoplasty?

Hello, I had a revision 9 weeks ago. I wear sunscreen daily and usually avoid the sun, but today I happen to be outside for a prolonged period of time (work festival) and got a bad sunburn on my nose! I am so worried that I caused permanent damage and don't know what to do or how to treat it? Did I ruin the final surgical result? I am buying a hat as we speak, but feel that it's too late. Thank you for all your helpful advise, because my surgeon is out of town.

Doctor Answers 4

Sun and rhino

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 48 reviews

Sunburn following revision rhinoplasty

Using sunscreen daily is a great habit, as it will protect your skin on a daily basis and reduce the risk of melanoma in the future. Following rhinoplasty surgery, it is generally a good idea to take the following precautions:

1) Avoid spending extended periods of time in direct sunlight

2) Wear sunscreen or a protective hat if you are exposed to the sun

But not to worry, you did not cause any permanent damage to your nose by exposing it to the sun. You increase your chance of developing little red spots on nose called telangiectasias.  If you do develop them, they can be easily removed with a laser.  You may also experience an increase in swelling, and your skin may be a bit more sensitive in that area. Everything should be fine, but feel free to contact your surgeon with any questions or concerns. I hope this helps, and best of luck with the remainder of your recovery.

Jonathan Kulbersh, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Sunburn on nose after rhinoplasty

A sunburn in general isn ot good because it can predispose you to skin cancers.  As for the skin after a rhinoplasty it should be ok and should not cause permanent skin issues in the majority of sunburns.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Sunburn after rhinoplasty

No worries.  Rhinoplasty surgery focuses on the underlying cartilage and bone of the nose.  A sunburn will not damage to a depth that will influence your final result.  

However I will add that your nose skin is definitely swollen two weeks after surgery.  At this point, the skin is also very reactive and therefore susceptible to swelling driven by allergies, irritants, sunburn, salt intake, etc.  So I suspect you had a noticeable increase in swelling from the burn.  Again, just take care of it from here and all will go away.  Keep the burn moisturized with an OTC cream, or even a very thin layer of aquaphor, and your body will take care of the rest.

Kevin Robertson, MD
Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 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.