I am posting my recovery process because it was very helpful for me to read about other people’s recovery, good or bad! Feel free to ask me any questions.
My surgery: Open rhinoplasty, septoplasty, bi-lateral turbinectomy( narrowing of airway passages), and a small chin impant.
Aesthetically my surgery consisted of:
-Removing of a moderate hump to make my profile straight.
-I had a ridge between my nose where the cartilage meets, I think this is called bifid something or other. I had grafts to correct it.
-Narrowing of the tip with deprojection, and my nostrils were brought down a bit as well.
This sounds like a lot of work, and it is! But I don't look like a completely different person, which was my goal.
Cost- $7500, 2k for the chin implant. My insurance covered partial since I had a deviated septum and breathing issues.
Recovery- After Surgery
After I woke up from surgery I had very mild bruising in the inner corners of my eyes, no swelling yet. I wasn’t in pain as the anesthia wasn’t 100% worn off, So I just felt groggy and lightheaded. My dad was there to drive me home, I iced my eyes with a latex glove filled with ice.
I took a Vicodin when I got home and continued to ice and keep my head elevated. I hoped the Vicodin would help me sleep, but it didn’t seem to do much. I didn’t sleep much that night as I kept getting up to change my ice packs. By night time (my surgery was in the morning) the bruising spread across to my outer eyes and eyelids and under my eyes. I also began to swell, although it wasn’t that bad at this time.
Day after surgery: (Day 1)
My eyes were completely blue and purple, and very swollen. Swollen to the point it was hard to keep my eyes open and they were constantly watering due to the pressure the swelling was putting. It was uncomfortable, but I was never in actual pain. Nonetheless I took Vicodin to once again see if it would aid my sleep. This day was spent in bed, head elevated, icing most of the day.
Day 2- I really didn’t leave my room for 2.5 days, except to for the bathroom and to get ice or a snack from the kitchen. You would think those two days would go so slow, but I was so concentrated on icing and resting that it went by pretty fast. However…. Those 2 days after surgery were rough, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When you are so bruised and swollen you think it won’t get better, but I kept telling myself in 2 days you will feel better.
Day 3- Still bruised, although not quite as bad. The swelling is down some, enough to where I can fully open my eyes. On this day I had a post-op appt with my surgeon. It was nice to get out of the house, except I was so paranoid one of my neighbors in my apartment would see me all banged up! Luckily no one did. I finally ventured out of my room to the living room to watch some tv, needless to say I was feeling a bit better and starting to see improvements with my look.
Day 4- Mostly the same as day 3. Bruising and swelling still improving very slightly. Spend my day icing and watching tv.
Day 5. Cast removal!! I took a shower this day (though I don’t think I was supposed to) washed my hair and actually blow dried it a bit. I also put on a bit of makeup, this made a world of difference to how I felt. My bruising had gone down even more today, it was pooling right below my lower eyelids where it meets your cheekbones. My surgeon commented on how far I had come since he had seen me 2 days prior, proof on how much improvement can be made in a small amount of time! Removal of the cast was quick and not painful, same with the splints. If anything it was more of an uncomfortable feeling rather than pain. It was so great to finally see my new look! I knew I was swollen and the final look would take time, but I already liked the result. After the cast removal I went to the laser clinic and got a laser treatment for bruising. It’s kind of painful.. If you have ever had laser hair removal, that’s how I would describe it. It was over quick and worth the $100 spent. I definitely attribute this to my quick bruise recovery after.
Day 6- This day was Thanksgiving, and my parents came down to LA to visit me. My dad who had come to stay with my after my surgery and was in shock at how far I had come. When he left me I was in Day 2 and at my worst of bruising and swelling. The bruising was now about 80%- 85% gone. My nose however was pretty swollen, most notably on my bridge and between my eyes. Of course my tip was swollen but it didn't bother me as much as the swelling between my eyes. I looked like an avatar! My parents assured me that I looked amazing, and they were so happy to see me doing so well, considering I had surgery 6 days prior.
Day 7- Bruising continued to dissipate. Swelling seems about the same. No longer icing. I was actually using a warm compress on my eyes to help the bruising.
Day 8- Pretty much the same as Day 7.
Day 9- Bruising 95% gone. Swelling seemed the same and I started to feel very self-conscious about the swelling of the bridge. It made my eyes look a little wonky, and the bridge was much wider than it was pre-surgery, so it was kind of a downer to look at. However, I still liked my nose because I could see what it was going to look like after the swelling went down.
Day 10- Back to work!! Of course the small bruise under my right eye just wanted to stick around. Make up covered it decently and no one commented. I felt extremely self-conscious though. I thought everyone was looking at me weird and I kept looking at my nose and fretting over how wide it looked. I kept googling when swelling would go down and then telling myself to give it a couple weeks.
Day 11-12 Bruising pretty much went away, there was some residual yellowness but nothing major. Bridge and sides of nose still noticeably (at least to me) swollen.
Day 13-14 Maybe it was my imagination but I felt like the bridge of my nose started to improve at this point. I looked at photos and did comparisons and I am pretty sure it did.
Day 15-18. Swelling in the bridge was definitely improving, my nose was still wider than pre-surgery, but I felt much more normal looking—aka not like an alien avatar. Of course my tip was still swollen but the shape of it was cuter than pre-surgery so I haven’t even worried about it. The tip of my nose is really hard and as a whole my nose is still pretty tender to the touch. I have to be careful washing my face and even running a makeup brush across my nose.
And that’s how far I am in my recovery. Just a few days past the two week mark and I feel pretty good. I no longer feel like people are staring at my wonky huge nose!! I feel confident enough to go out in social settings like a bar or lounge – no drinking though! I still have refrained from going to the gym and doing a workout. I think I might get to that at the end of week 3 and do a light cardio workout and see how I feel.
My general recovery experience:
- Very little to no bleeding. I took the gauze off my nose after 1 day, though I could have a bit sooner.
- No pain in my actual nose at all. I only experienced slight pressure and and uncomfortableness.
- No issues after anesthesia (no throwing up).
- My lips peeled like crazy. I didn't know my lips could get chapped that much! I re-applied Vaseline over and over.
- Lack of energy for about 3-4 days.
- Bruised and swollen eyes a few hours after surgery. Major swelling went down around the 4th day, and very noticeable bruising lasted about 6 days. After that I looked decent with makeup on.
- Facial swelling. Since I also had a chin implant, my cheeks and chin were swollen as well. This went down to a socially acceptable level by day 5-6 but residual swelling has lingered
- Little to no appetite. I lost 5 pounds in 4 days! I mostly was drinking Naked Juices, pudding, or a piece of bread if I needed something to take Vicodin with.
- On day 3 my surgeon gave me some Vitamin K cream called Auriderm post-op gel. This did seem to help the bruising fade faster, I would recommend this.
- Laser for Bruising: On day 5 when I got my cast off my surgeon said I could get the bruising on my eyes lasered and it would help them heal faster. I took 10 days off from work and I was worried I would still be bruised in 5 more days. The surgery clinic also has a laser clinic so I went there and for $100 I got 8 zaps to my lower eye. This really did seem to help my bruising. The next day I was 80% back to my non-bruised look. And by day 10 I only had one small mark on my upper cheekbone and a little residual yellowing around my eyes.
- Splints didn’t really get clogged and were not bothersome. I used saline spray 3-5 times a day.
- Cast removal was easy and not painful. It was not painful to have the splints removed either, more of just an uncomfortable pressure for a couple of seconds as it’s sliding out.
- I took Arnica and bromelain 2-3 days before my surgery and also in the weeks after. I am not sure it helped as I have no other experience in which I had bruising and swelling to compare it to, but I like to think it helped! I also applied arnica gel.
Chin implant recovery:
I think recovery from the chin implant was more difficult than rhinoplasty. Maybe I just wasn't prepared for it since I was putting all my thought and energy into my nose. I didn't really ask too many questions and I didn't put too much research into it. I got a smaller sized implant to help balance out my chin, which was weak and had the dimpling effect when I closed my mouth.
The pairing of the rhinoplasty and chin implant made the recovery for both just that much more difficult. Not only did I have bruised and swollen eyes, but my chin and lower lip was sore and numb. Eating and talking was difficult (but not unbearable) for 3-4 days. Which was ok though, I didn’t have an appetite nor the energy to talk much!
It's day 18 and my chin still feels tight and moderately numb. If I smile or talk to too long, my chin gets very sore and I feel like it needs a rest. Only the left side of my lower lip and chin is numb. Not 100% numb, I feel the presence of my finger if I run it along that area, but it’s not close to full feeling. Unlike some reviews I have read, I am fully able to smile like normal and make all the facial expressions that I could previously. I am getting tingles and light sporadic shocks in that area, which my surgeon says is a good sign and likely the nerves were just a bit bruised or still under some swelling pressure.
I was very worried about this at first, but have come to terms that it may be 4-6 weeks to go away, or more. If it’s not gone by 6 weeks I will go see my surgeon.
How do I like the chin? Well, I’m not sure If it’s the rhinoplasty or the chin, or combination of the two, but my cheeks and mouth look swollen to me. I hear it’s not uncommon to have chipmunk cheeks after this procedure, and I think I got them in a small degree. I can see them getting better but it was distracting me from my liking my chin. However, I really like my profile now, it’s more balanced. From the front, I feel like my face is a bit long. I keep reminding myself I am for sure still swollen and am in the infancy of recovery. I will give it time before I make judgement.
Regrets? None so far! Unless my recovery goes horrible awry, I think I am going to love my results even more in the coming weeks and will keep you posted.