I assumed the rhinoplasty would be the easiest part of my combined surgeries because most people say it was a breeze and an easy recovery. My best friend had a rhinoplasty and was fine a week later. She told me the pain was very minimal and she was breathing well as soon as the cast was off and the packing was taken out.
Dr. Chaffoo's nurse Nancy warned me the fascia graft removal was usually the part people found painful as it is cut out of the side of your head and can be sore. Other than that, I wasn't expecting the surgery to be very painful and was more worried about the pain of the breastlift. However, it turned out the breast lift was almost pain free for me, other than one small area on my right breast. The nose on the other hand was excruciatingly painful for me the first 48 hours. I had an intense pain right between my eyes on the upper bridge and it felt like an elephant was sitting on my face. I had a small stitch on the outside of my nose to hold the fascia graft in place and I believe my doctor had also done some rasping to the same area. It hurt really, really bad!
In addition, I had anaphylaxis due to one of the medications I was taking and my airways and face swelled up horribly before I received an epi shot. I think this contributed to a more difficult and extended recovery for me. The pain I experienced the first 24 hours was still awful though before I had anaphylactic shock.
Once the cast came off a week later, I thought my nose looked adorable! Dr. Chaffoo adjusted the tip a little even though it wasnt something I really cared about, but I'm glad he talked me in to it. He kept saying, "Just a little bit, okay? I want to lift it just a little bit." I was hesitant, but, wow, I'm glad I let him do what he want to do because it turned out so nice.
Now, after he took the cast off he also pulled out quite a bit of "dissolvable packing". Can I just say, I HATE dissolvable packing! It decided it wasn't going to dissolve in me after all and it kept having to be manually pulled out and, boy, is that ever uncomfortable. The dissolvable stitches in my nose also decided not to dissolve and after three weeks they were driving me crazy and making me smell this weird dirty, wet dog smell. I texted Dr. Chaffoo and told him he needed to cut them out ASAP because they were ruining my life, lol! He cut them out the next day and, omg, RELIEF!
Then to make things even more fun, I ended up getting a painful infection in my right eye that sent shooting pain down the right side of my nose. It was the weekend and I was just sure my nose was going to rot and fall off, lol! I called Dr. Chaffoo and asked him if I should go to the ER. He calmed me down and told me he'd see me the next day. It turned out to be completely unrelated to my rhinoplasty and simply bad timing. Dr. Chaffoo sent me down a floor from his clinic to a charming opthomologist who gave me drops and gel for my poor eye and assured me the pain in my nose was from the infection in my eye. It cleared up after four days.
At this point, over three weeks had gone by and I still couldn't breath out of my nose and I was getting really frustrated and going through boxes of tissues and cases of biotene mouth spray (get this it's the best thing ever after rhinoplasty). I was having quite a bit of drainage and sneezing and it was beginning to turn green and yellow. Dr. Chaffoo gave me antibiotics to treat what seemed to have become a sinus infection. Now, I have to note, I have horrible allegeries and took Zyrtec daily and Flonase seasonally, well before I had surgery, so I'm no stranger to the occasional sinus infection. The antibiotics did help, but it took another 10 days before I could fully breath out of my nose again.
I waited to write this review because I was pretty grumpy and not feeling like it was very worth it when I was dealing with an eye infection and dirty wet, dog smell and having the dissolvable packing pulled out of my nose while not being able to breath out of my nose for a month. None of this was my doctors fault, it was just my bad luck and now that it's over, I can say it was worth it to get my cute new nose.
I'm not sure I'd have had the nerve to do it if Id know how uncomfortable it would be so its good I didn't know! It certainly wasn't the easy, breezy recovery everyone else I know told me they had. However, as I've said, in the long run its worth it.
I'm currently using 3M 1/2inch micropore tape to tape up my nose at night and will continue to do so for a few months. I still spray my nose out with saline spray morning and night (this is another postop must have). I've had the scar from the open rhinoplasty lasered twice to help the redness fade faster. Other than that, I'm breathing well now and my nose is getting cuter by the day. There is one tiny bump on the upper right side of my nose that Dr. Chaffoo said he could easily rasp down in his office under local. We have to wait a few more months though for me to heal and maybe it'll go away on it own my then. If not, the minor rasping will be a free touch up and easy to do in office with just the local.
If you've been considering rhinoplasty, I say go for it and you'll probably have a much easier recovery than I did! Stock up on biotene mouth spray, boxes of tissues, medical tape for taping your nose, gauze pads for taping under your nose to catch the drips the first weeks, frozen corn for your sore face, arnica pills and cream, face and body wipes since you can't shower while your cast is on, a humidifier, apple sauce and pudding in squeeze pouches, straws for drinking, lots of water/fluids, sterile saline nose spray, qtips, vaseline and Tylenol.