Septo / Rhinoplasty Recovery Blog - Massachusetts, MA

I wanted to share my septo/rhinoplasty experience...

I wanted to share my septo/rhinoplasty experience with those of you looking for information on this topic. Whether you’re considering this type of surgery, or maybe you’ve already had it done and want to compare your experience – I know I found other people’s vlogs, diaries and posts very helpful and insightful. I am now two weeks post-op; here is my account of the first 14 days after my surgery. I hope this helps and if you have any questions or comments regarding anything, please feel free to ask.

Day of Surgery

I had an open septo/rhinoplasty done to correct my deviated septum, as well as to remove a dorsal hump and a slight tip adjustment (to even out my nostrils). My surgery took 4 hours under general anesthesia. I got to the surgery center just before 7a.m. and was home by 3pm (1 hour prep, 4 hours in surgery, 2 hours in recovery and about an hour to get ready to leave and drive home).

I had splints put inside my nose and a cast for a week post-surgery.

When I got home, I did not need a drip pad right away; my nose did not start to bleed for approximately 4-5 hours after I got home, so around 7/8p.m. the evening of my surgery.

I was prescribed 1 antibiotic to take for a week post-op, Percocet and Tylenol.

Day 1 (after surgery) - THIS WAS THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE DAY.

Overnight was kind of rough, I kept waking every hour, breathing through the mouth makes it very dry, especially in the back of the throat (I had to take a sip of water each time I woke up). Plus, my lips were really swollen and the whole face felt “tight” from increased swelling. I slept on the couch (it’s an “L” shaped sectional”), so I had back support and I used a memory-foam travel pillow for neck support. Sleeping this way was odd to say the least, however I think it was the Percocet that was making me feel really loopy and out of it.

By the morning, my eyes (including eyelids) were bruised purple and I’ve had increased swelling all in my face.

I think I will agree with most other people who have had septo/rhinoplasty in that - you feel immense pressure in the sinus region after the surgery. My eyes, nose and pretty much my whole face felt like someone put a brick on it, in addition to having the worst head cold of your life. My head was throbbing, although it was not like a headache or a migraine, it was more of a dull, persistent throb, where light and noise irritated it.

As the day went on, my bruising and swelling kept getting worse, my eyes became very puffy. I used a gel eye mask on my face every hour, as well as on my forehead and cheeks. I also had little ice-packs (baby ice-packs) for my cheeks. Icing the face definitely made me feel better. In between icing, I applied Arnica Montana gel onto my face; I also took Arnica pellets every 4-5 hours.

I changed my drip-pad about every 2-3 hours, interestingly enough I had more bleeding from one nostril than the other. I put a dab of Bacitracin directly onto the gauze pad, so it did not stick to my nose and irritate it.

That day, I did not eat much; I drank Gatorade and water throughout the day. You lose your sense of smell and taste after surgery, so I could not taste anything and really had no appetite. I ate apple sauce, chicken soup (just the broth that day), as well as Ensure nutrition shakes. I used straws to drink all my liquids and for me it was a lifesaver, because opening my mouth wide was really uncomfortable. I also got a pack of plastic baby spoons and forks and used those for eating. Again, those are smaller in size and also non-metal, so it was easy to eat using those instead of regular utensils.

I was able to watch TV, but like I said Percocet made me really loopy, so I passed out several times throughout the day. Sleeping at night was same as the night before, dry mouth, coating in the back of the throat and by this point my lips felt very chapped even though I continuously applied chapstick. What happens is, breathing through your mouth non-stop dries out your lips, but also, your lips swell up after surgery – so they kind of crack, no matter how moisturized they are. Just keep applying chapstick/Vaseline, whatever your lip product of choice is.

Day 2

The swelling and bruising had gone down around the eyes, but increased around the jawline. I continued my icing and Arnica regimen. I stopped taking Percocet altogether and just took 2-3 Tylenol every 4 hours to control the discomfort and pressure (I also took my antibiotic as prescribed).

I pureed pineapple chunks in a blender and ate that, I also had chicken soup w/its ingredients and decided that it was too early for solid food (I then pureed it in a blender and it went down much easier). I continued w/Gatorade, Ensure shakes and that’s pretty much it for food. I bought different baby food blends and I think I ate one can, pureed turkey dinner.

I continued changing my drip pad every 3 hours or so. I also started to gently clean my nose w/hydrogen peroxide and Q-tips every time I changed the drip pad. I put a dab of Bacitracin in each nostril to moisturize it.

I took a two minute shower/rinse, facing away from the shower head and w/the shower curtain open, so as not to have the shower stall steamy. I did not wash my hair because, I don’t have a tub and my showerhead is not removable. I watched TV, felt better compared to day 1 and slept better that night (by this point I was getting used to it).

Day 3

My bruises were yellow at this point, which is great because that’s almost the last stage (although it’s very long-lasting). This fact put me in positive spirits and I continued w/my icing/Arnica Montana regimen (I continued to do this every day since surgery).

Food-wise, the only thing I added to my diet was Greek yogurt. I was advised against dairy for the first 48-hours after surgery (it may cause nausea). So, I finally had my yogurt for breakfast, no nausea (I did not feel nauseous at any point post-surgery).

Also, and this may be filed under TMI: it’s true what they say about post-surgery/anesthesia constipation. Well, this was – the day. LOL ?

I started taking less Tylenol, 1-2 pills every 5 hours or so and non-overnight.

Sleeping: same as days 1 and 2 and I did not change the drip-pad overnight.

Day 4

Big day – first day I went outside (walked to and from the car lol) and took a bath and washed my hair. I never realized how much unwashed hair would get to me. Anyway, I ate toast that day and all the other foods from the days before. I must say I felt pretty exhausted that evening, maybe because it was the most active day up to date.

The bruises under my eyes were getting smaller but remained yellow and my face was really swollen, it looked and felt puffy.

Got a call from a nurse to check up on me, she suggested something w/pseudofed to help relieve congestion, so I started taking Claritin-D (24-hour).

Sleeping was the same as before, the coating on your teeth and in the back of the throat is extremely irritating. I used mouthwash several times throughout the day. By the way, I used a baby toothbrush to brush my teeth, because it’s smaller and opening your mouth wide kind of hurt.

Day 5

Definitely felt well, just in general a better day. I took off my drip-pad, my nose still leaked, but I just wiped it gently with tissues or baby wipes. Claritin definitely helped. I actually cooked a meal, went for a walk in the neighborhood.

Being more active made me feel winded and my legs felt somewhat shaky, I don’t even know how to explain it. Maybe it’s from inactivity.

At this point, I only took 1 Tylenol as needed.

Days 6 & 7

Good days, no painkillers. I went for walks, pretty much took it easy though. The swelling in my face was subsiding. My yellow bruises were getting smaller but were still there. I showered, ate as before, watched TV, read. I did not sleep during the day for some reason, as a matter of fact I did not take naps during the day after day 3.

Day 8 – Splints & Cast Removal

I was really excited to get the splits and cast off, mainly because I wanted to breathe through my nose so badly and of course, just as importantl, to see my nose.

I took 2 Tylenol before my appointment, not sure if it helped at all, but the cast removal was fine, just super sticky so it takes a few minutes, the splints felt weird coming out, like nothing I’ve ever experienced, lol not painful though – just a brief discomfort followed by relief. My stiches came out somewhat painlessly, again it was a brief discomfort – I didn’t even realize the doctor was done. The whole appointment took approximately 10-15 minutes.

I was pleased with but at the same time surprised at my nose, it did not look like my nose at all, it was quiet swollen and got progressively more swollen throughout that day. I was able to smell things and taste food, so that was a major relief but I wasn’t able to breathe well out of my nose.

That night was probably as rough as night 1, I had the chills, followed by episodes of hot flashes all night. I started taking 2-3 Tylenol every 4 hours again to control the discomfort. I woke up a lot and still breathed through my mouth.

Day 9

Your nose definitely swells up after the cast removal. My nose looked huge, so I continued applying Arnica gel and now that included putting it directly on my nose. The nose feels “raw” and very tender, touching it does not hurt but you definitely feel it. I was glad to finally be able to take a long shower and w/the splints out, I cleaned my nose every few hours (gently, not too deep).

Days 10 – 13

My bruising got progressively better; the overall swelling in my face went down. I have been taping my nose overnight. I noticed that when I shower in the morning, the steam makes my nose run and afterwards I use saline nasal spray in each nostril and gently blow once nostril at a time. I then use Q-tips dipped in hydrogen peroxide to get all the mucus out and once it’s clean, I apply Bacitracin inside each nostril. I have been using Mederma gel on the scar since my stiches were taken out. Note: get the cream version of Mederma, as the gel flakes up, so you cannot use it under make-up. I don’t care because I have been home all this time, but I’m going back to work, so I’ll be getting the cream.

Day 14 (exactly 2 weeks post-op)

I can breathe!!! Today is first day I can finally breathe through my nose! I’m really excited because it has been a while. It still gets stuffed up and I continue w/my cleaning and Arnica care, but I can breathe through it during the day and at night! I have been sleeping on two pillows in my bed the last 3-4 days and it takes some getting used to. I haven’t gotten good sleep in a while, but I hope soon.

3-Week Post-Op Update

Just wanted to give a brief update on days 14 through 21. Overall, I’ve been feeling much better, physically I don’t get winded as much and I finally returned to work (Day 18). I also noticed that my upper lip regained some of its movement and I’m able to smile more widely, however I’m still unable to smile normally. I can now use a regular toothbrush and pretty much eat anything and everything. However, I still cannot feel my four, upper front teeth.

My nose is still swollen, actually so are my cheeks (they may not look it but I can definitely feel the inflammation), the area of the cheek that connects to the nose. I tape my nose overnight and I think I will continue to do so for at least another month. Also, I noticed that now my nostrils are somewhat uneven – I read that it’s pretty common at this stage, so we’ll see what happens.

My scar is reddish and I use Mederma gel and now cream daily. I believe I’ve previously stated that the gel version flakes once dry, the cream doesn’t + it has SPF in it, so it’s great to use under make-up or just during the day.

I think people at work definitely noticed that my nose looks different, but everyone is too nice/polite to ask questions. I watched some rhinoplasty experience and recovery videos and it seems like my symptoms and what I’m experiencing in general at this point is quiet common and “typical” for 3 weeks post-op. I’ll give another update at the 1-month post-op mark. Thank you.

1-month post surgery

I cannot believe it’s been almost a month since my surgery. Time flies! Well, I’m happy to report that I can definitely smile almost completely normally and my teeth are almost fine. I still have slight numbness right above my two front teeth but I can feel it when I floss there, so it’s all coming back slowly but surely. It’s a really odd sensation, not being able to feel your front teeth or the front part of the roof of your mouth.
Another thing I noticed is that my nose is super sensitive to the cold, because it’s winter here and the temperatures have been consistently below freezing, my nose feels really “raw” and sensitive when I’m outside. It’s uncomfortable to say the least, so I’ve been wearing a winter face mask and that really helps. Overall, the nose is tender to touch and still very sensitive.
I’ve been taping my nose overnight and I think I’ll continue to do so for another 2 weeks, for a total of 6 weeks post-surgery; after that I don’t think it would make a difference.
The swelling has been gradually going down, I know I’m being very impatient, since it’s only been a month (and only 3 weeks post cast removal), but time seems to drag when it comes to healing. I can tell my cheeks and nose are still swollen, but the swelling inside my nostrils has significantly gone down. I continue to clean inside my nose several times a day, I also gently blow out each nostril (one at a time) twice a day, using saline; doing so after taking a shower is super helpful because the steam makes your nasal passages open up more.
Physically, I think I’m completely back to normal, I don’t feel tired or winded, well not anymore that I did pre-op. My scar is still red, so I use Mederma cream during the day and Mederma gel overnight.
Thank you for reading and I’ll be back at a 2-month post-op mark.

Dr. Jeffrey Darrow review

Review of my doctor
Dr. Jeffrey Darrow

I wanted to wait a little while after my surgery before writing my review of Dr. Darrow and his practice. The reason I delayed writing my review is because I wanted to give an unbiased, honest review and now that it’s been approximately 6 months since my surgery, I feel like I can give an objective opinion, rather than base my review on initial, post-op results which drastically differ from the final result looks. I’ve written a post op diary on this site as well, detailing my experience, so for anyone interested, please check those posts. I found Dr. Darrow while doing a thorough research on top plastic surgeons in my area (Boston). This site, as well as numerous others have led me to narrow down my picks to Dr. Darrow and one more doctor. I’ve had in-person consultations with both of them and honestly liked both doctors very much. At the end of the day, I chose Dr. Darrow because of his years of experience in the field of plastic surgery, as well as (and this is probably the main reason) the fact that he is a board certified plastic surgeon. I’ve had a deviated septum for as long as I can remember and have had difficulties breathing, which became increasingly worse over the last few years. I also had a slight dorsal hump as a result of a fall as a child. When I first met with Dr. Darrow, he listened to my concerns and gave me an honest/realistic opinion about what he was going to be able to do. I did not want a different nose, I wanted to breathe better and remove the tiny hump that wasn’t there when I was born. He made me feel very comfortable about the procedure and surprisingly, I didn’t feel nervous about getting my rhinoseptplasty. On the day of surgery, Dr. Darrow was there super early, he had this sense of calm about him, which made me feel very relaxed about the surgery. I was under for approximately 4 hours and woke up in recovery. Dr. Darrow spoke to me briefly after surgery and I was released to go home within about 2 hours. I would like to emphasize that your nose looks NOTHING like what the final result will look like immediately post-surgery, a week, a month or even two months later. There is so much swelling that has to go down and it takes, weeks and months. I took two weeks off work to recover and took a picture of my face every single day post op for the first 3 months. It’s amazing to see how I looked when I returned to work 2 weeks after surgery (now I see how swollen my face was, it looked nothing like what I look now that my nose is finally taking its permanent shape). My follow-up visits w/Dr. Darrow were a breeze, he has a very pleasant demeanor and is always super professional. Some of my relatives did not know about my surgery and did not notice the change even after seeing me. To me, that’s a great result, when your features look natural and you look like yourself but improved. My breathing has been so much better, I can finally breathe from both of my nostrils and esthetically my nose looks so much better. I would highly recommend Dr. Darrow and his staff, they’re wonderful professionals and I am forever grateful to them for this life changing procedure.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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