Nose Surgery Recovery
The recovery is a little bit different for every patient. Talk to other patients who've had the procedure to find out about their experiences. Recovering from rhinoplasty can be very bearable if you know what to expect and RhinoplastyGuide.com has prepared this useful list of frequently asked questions about rhinoplasty to help you. In most cases, you will look much worse than you feel!
Should someone be available to drive me home after the surgery?
A: Yes, you should definitely arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery. You'll have some swelling, pain, and will be experiencing some after-effects from anesthesia, so it is not safe for you to drive right away.
How much pain should I expect? Expect some dull aching and headaches for a short time after surgery.
A: You may need to take pain medication for a couple of days. You may also feel a bit of pain if you bump your nose or roll over onto it while sleeping, but this is normal. Severe pain is not common unless you have an infection. In fact, most patients experience very little pain.
What is the usual recovery time ?
A: Some swelling may last as long as 6 weeks. Be prepared for your nose to look swollen or puffy for 3 to 4 months. You may have to wait up to 18 months before the swelling has diminished and you can see the final shape of your new nose.
How will I feel after rhinoplasty surgery?
A: You will probably feel the most uncomfortable on the first day following surgery. Some patients feel slightly nauseous. You may experience congestion caused by the internal swelling in your nose and may have to breathe through your mouth until your nasal passages clear up. You can expect to have moderate swelling and bruising during the first week. It may feel strange to smile and the parts of your nose (in particular, the tip) will probably feel slightly numb. By the end of the second week, much of the swelling, bruising and numbness should have subsided and, while it will still be obvious to you, should not be so noticeable to the casual observer.
Do I need to wear bandages and, if so, for how long?
A: You will usually have bandages, sterile tape and a protective splint on your nose. Some patients may need an internal splint. You will be expected to keep the bandages dry. In about 7 days, you'll return to the surgeon to have the splint/bandages and any stitches removed. Most rhinoplasty surgeons will ask you to wear the protective splint for an additional week or tape your nose to protect it while you sleep.
What kind of care will I need at home?
A: Keeping your head elevated and using cool compresses over your eyes and cheeks in the first 48 hours after surgery will help with the swelling. You should not let your nose dry out or crusts may form. Your rhinoplasty surgeon may give you a nasal rinse kit to help you keep the nose moist and clean on the inside.
Is there any special diet I need after my surgery?
A: Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Protein in your meals accompanied by a multivitamin will help your body accelerate the healing process. Refrain from drinking alcohol for several months after surgery or you will risk increasing the swelling in the nose.
Do I need bed rest after my rhinoplasty surgery and for how long?
A: Get a lot of sleep. Adequate rest will help your recovery process.
Are there activity restrictions and for how long?
A: Avoid blowing your nose for about two weeks following surgery to minimize the risk of bleeding. You should also refrain from exercise for at least 24 hours. After this, a little light exercise, such as walking, will improve the blood flow and help you recover faster. You can usually resume your normal activities at this point. Avoid bending or lifting anything heavier than a few pounds for several weeks. You can resume light aerobics or jogging after week two. After about three weeks, you will be able to resume your normal leisure and recreational activities. There will normally have no restrictions aside from contact sports (which you should not engage in for at least 6 weeks).
What medications do I need to take after surgery?
A: Your surgeon may prescribe a short-term pain medication or some type of herbal remedies to help with bruising. You will probably receive a list of medications to avoid after surgery do you don't disrupt your healing process. Speak to your doctor about this and don't take anything without asking about it.
Is there anything that I should refrain from after my rhinoplasty surgery (for example, heat or sun)?
A: The skin on your nose may be more prone to breaking out and will be more sensitive to sunburn. It's a good idea to avoid extreme heat and protect your face from the sun. Once the inflammation resolves, your nose should return to normal.
How long before I can go back to work?
A: Most patients choose to remain home for a week, but some adventurous patients return within a few days! Once the splint is removed, you should be "restaurant ready" about two weeks after rhinoplasty surgery.
What symptoms should I watch out for and report?
A: Contact your surgeon if you experience any difficulties breathing or hear whistling when you breathe. You could have an obstruction or some type of perforation in the septum, and these problems should be addressed as soon as possible.
Swelling and Bruising
Swelling and bruising after rhinoplasty are very common and are to be expected when you subject your body to the trauma of any type of surgical alteration. You may see swelling of the nose, bruises around the nose, black eyes and some peeling skin. These are all temporary. They're also very annoying because you can't see what great results your surgeon has created until the swelling subsides!
The amount of swelling will depend on several factors. If you have open rhinoplasty, broken nasal bones or a history of previous nasal surgeries, you can expect the swelling to be more prolonged. Some surgeons say that male patients often swell more than female patients. Patients with thicker skin usually experience more swelling and the tip of your nose will most likely remain swollen longer than the rest of the nose. Finally, if your nose was reduced in size, your skin will have to shrink to fit the smaller size, and swelling may last longer.
Bruising is caused by blood that leaks from blood vessels and stains the surface of the skin from underneath. The thinner the skin, the more apparent the bruising can be. In the case of surgery, you can expect this bruising to show itself most prominently in the form of blackened eyes or eyelids, since eyelid skin is the thinnest on the human body and is very close to your nose. Also, darker-pigmented ethnic skin may bruise more heavily. Even in the worst cases, most of the bruising should clear up within one week.
Can I minimize the swelling after rhinoplasty?
- Your rhinoplasty surgeon may suggest that you keep your head elevated while you sleep for 7 to 10 days after surgery.
- Your surgeon may recommend cold compresses for one or two days after surgery, followed by alternating hot and cold compresses for one or two additional days.
- He or she may also recommend splinting, taping or massaging the nose, or even injectible steroids for persistent swelling and scar tissue.
- Discuss all of these options with your surgeon so you will know what to expect.
Can I minimize the bruising?
- Stop smoking several weeks before surgery. Your blood vessels and the cells that fight infection and dissolve bruises will strengthen.
- For one to two weeks before your surgery, avoid products that thin your blood or weaken your blood vessels. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Motrin, Aleve, Naproxen), Coumadin, vitamin E, garlic and many natural herbs such as ginseng and gingko.
- Ice packs and eye masks or gels may help, as will sleeping with your head elevated above the level of your heart.
- Ask your surgeon about oral medications, vitamins or herbal supplements that may help with bruising and healing.
Remember, patience is a virtue! Most of your swelling and bruising WILL subside within a few weeks after rhinoplasty surgery and you will be able to enjoy your new nose!
It will take one to two months for your swelling and scarring to heal after rhinoplasty. Follow RhinoplastyGuide.com's tips for helping the process along and making your recovery easier:
- Bring someone with you to drive you home after surgery.
- Arrange for someone to help you for one to three nights after surgery, especially if you have children.
- Make sure you have everything ready for your post-surgery care, such as clean towels, ice packs, comfortable clothes, bandages or special garments.
- Ask your doctor if you will need any prescriptions after surgery and get them filled ahead of time.
- Ask your surgeon if you will need a special diet after surgery and if there are foods he or she recommends during the first few days.
- Ask your doctor how soon after surgery you will be able to drive.
- Avoid extreme heat or cold. Don't take hot baths for at least a week after surgery. And wear a hat to protect your nose from the sun.
- Avoid strenuous physical activity and exercise until advised by your surgeon.
- Use a timer or written schedule to remind you to take your medications on time.
- Plan activities that will entertain you, such as reading books, watching movies or making puzzles. These activities can keep your mind occupied and distract you from pain or discomfort, as well as make your recovery more enjoyable.
- Have your surgeon's phone number handy in case you have any questions. Following these tips will reduce your risk of complications and increase your chances of a successful recovery and great outcome from your rhinoplasty surgery!