Rhinoplasty (also known as a nose job) is one of the most popular plastic surgeries worldwide, partly because it’s so versatile. You can request rhinoplasty to improve the size or shape of your nose, resolve breathing issues caused by a deviated septum, or restore the function and appearance of your nose after a traumatic injury.
As with all procedures, however, nose surgery does involve some recovery time. The details of your rhinoplasty recovery will depend on your goals and the extent of the surgery, which can range from minimal cosmetic alterations to deviated septum surgery to nasal reconstruction using strategically placed cartilage taken from your ear or rib. Here’s what you can do to make your recovery go as smoothly as possible.
After rhinoplasty, your surgeon will place a splint or dressing over your nose to protect the new structures and to reduce swelling. Although most of the work is performed internally, you can expect at least some swelling and bruising. Keep your head elevated and ice the area around your nose every two to three hours to reduce inflammation, relieve discomfort, and encourage healing. Your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics and pain medication.
Your surgeon will examine your nose the next day and may see you up to three times during the first week to ensure that you are healing properly. The splint and dressings are usually removed after one week. Bruising typically fades within five to six days, and the initial swelling gradually subsides within 10 to 14 days. Plan to take time off from school or work and avoid strenuous activities to encourage healing.
Your plastic surgeon should provide you with a full list of instructions to help you care for your nose after the operation. Following them closely will help you get the best possible results and reduce your risk of developing complications. Here are some tips to encourage a smooth recovery and excellent results:
Resting after nasal surgery is an integral part of healing. It is best to take one to two weeks off of work after your surgery.
Vigorous activity will increase your heart rate and blood pressure, worsening rhinoplasty swelling. Therefore, it’s best to avoid activities like basketball, cycling, aerobics, and running for two to four weeks and to avoid swimming and going underwater for a minimum of six weeks to reduce swelling and to protect your new nose.
Keep your head elevated above your chest to reduce nasal swelling after rhinoplasty. Use pillows to prop yourself up while watching TV, reading, and sleeping. Avoid bending over and do not lift anything heavy because this will increase the pressure inside of your nose.
Use Cold Compresses
You can apply ice compresses to your forehead, cheeks, and other areas of your face to reduce swelling after rhinoplasty, but you must keep the ice away from your nose. Even minimal weight applied directly to your nose can shift the healing tissue, cause scars to become visible, and alter the results.
Use Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Prescribed or over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication can reduce rhinoplasty swelling. Anti-inflammatory substances are also found in natural sources like pineapple and omega-3 fish oil if you prefer to use natural remedies.
What To Avoid
Sun Exposure: Your skin will be sensitive after the surgery and you should avoid the sun during healing to prevent the development of discoloration and to encourage optimal results. You should also avoid saunas and steam rooms.
Wearing Glasses: Do not wear sunglasses or prescription eyeglasses for up to four weeks after the surgery. The weight of the glasses can add pressure to your nose and distort your healing. You may be able to tape your glasses to your forehead until your nose heals. Although this is not an ideal solution, it will prevent nasal pressure while allowing you to see. Alternatively, you can wear contacts starting one to two days after the surgery.
Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes: It’s important to stop smoking several weeks before the surgery because smoking reduces circulation and makes it harder for the surgical site to heal. Alcohol can also inhibit healing and should be avoided during the early stages of your recovery.
What To Practice
Practical Daily Care: During recovery, plan to wear zipped or buttoned shirts to avoid bumping your nose while getting dressed. Avoid blowing your nose. Gently brush your teeth without moving your upper lip.
Do not drink hot beverages for several days after the surgery. Avoid salty foods, which could encourage swelling. During the first few days, smoothies and soft foods that require minimal chewing are best. There are many different smoothie recipes online that incorporate fruits, vegetables, protein, nuts, or seeds for a healthy meal.
Bathe Safely: The bandages and dressings placed over your nose must remain dry. Avoid swimming and take showers instead of baths, but do not let the shower water spray on your face. Follow the instructions that are provided by your surgeon for cleaning and drying your face. A good rule of thumb: avoid your nose!
Prevent Infection: Although infection after rhinoplasty is rare, the risk is something that should be taken very seriously. Your surgeon may prescribe oral antibiotics after the procedure and should give you detailed instructions on caring for your incisions. In some cases, your doctor may have you complete antibiotic nasal soaks in addition to oral antibiotics. Follow these detailed instructions carefully to achieve the best results and to prevent infection or complications.
Attend All Follow-ups: Follow-up visits are crucial because they will improve your outcome. The first follow-up visit will take place on the day after surgery. During each follow-up visit, your surgeon will examine you to ensure that your nose is healing properly. They may make minor alterations during these visits, administer a small number of anti-inflammatory steroid injections, or have you complete nasal pressure exercises to reduce swelling.
Schedule a Rhinoplasty Consultation
Ready to make a big change? Call 800-943-7295 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Anthony Bared M.D., F.A.C.S. to learn more about the rhinoplasty procedure and to visualize your future nose with computer imaging.