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.
Pablo Prichard, MD
What is the science behind staying out of the sun after rhinoplasty?
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!
What is the Science Behind Staying out of the Sun After Rhinoplasty?
This is an excellent question. Sun exposure, after Rhinoplasty, can increase swelling to the nose in the following manner. FYI, this same scenario applies to any activity or action that likewise increases blood flow to the face and nose.
Sun exposure creates heat.
Heat brings in additional blood to the face and nose.
This additional blood supply creates swelling in the face and nose.
Surgery to any area, including Rhinoplasty, disrupts lymphatic vessels.
Becuase the lymphatic vessels, in the nose, were disrupted and don't re-establish themselves until about 6 months post Rhinoplasty, this increased swelling can't be removed as it is in the rest of the face and the nose swells. Hope this helps.