Are you excited to see the results of your nose job? Curious if the road to recovery after having a rhinoplasty is difficult or painful? Well, here is your recovery guide for nasal surgery. Listed below are the things that you can expect and the steps that you should take to heal faster with minimum discomfort.
Follow the doctor’s advice
Although it is good to do research, it is always best to follow your surgeon’s advice. First of all, every surgeon has slightly different “rules” that he/she will want you to follow. Secondly, the recovery will vary slightly depending on exactly which maneuvers were performed. A procedure to reduce a hump will have a quicker recovery than, for example, a rhinoplasty in combination with a septoplasty in which multiple cartilage grafts were placed in the nose. In the old days, surgeons placed packing in the nose which was a source of discomfort but that is rare these days. The surgery takes from 1-3 hours and is really not very painful. Most patients do not require opioids during the recovery period.
Listen to your body and rest
Let your body heal itself so rest as much as you can. Keeping your head elevated so that it is higher than your heart will help minimize the swelling and decrease the risk of a nose bleed. You will feel some discomfort because of the congestion and you will likely not sleep very well for a few days. A humidifier will help with the dry mouth and throat that you may have from breathing through your mouth instead of your congested nose. It is best to avoid blowing your nose if possible to minimize bleeding. Cold compresses will also help reduce the swelling. Your surgeon will give you advice about how to apply the cold without excessive pressure to the nose itself. If something does not seem right, call your surgeon. Your surgeon would rather hear about a problem when it occurs rather than have you be stoic and tell him/her later.
Avoid strenuous activities
Strenuous activities will cause your nasal tissues to swell. Most surgeons recommend 3 weeks without full exercise. For your bones to heal properly it will take an additional 3 weeks (so a total of 6 weeks) after the rhinoplasty, so wait for your doctor’s recommendation before resuming contact sports like soccer or basketball.
When the tape or splint is removed a few days after surgery and you first see your nose, you will see the improvement immediately and will be reassured. But that won’t be the final appearance. Don’t be nervous; the nose, especially the tip, will still be swollen. As a general rule, 2/3 of the swelling is gone after one month and the last 1/3 after about a year. Most nose surgeries involve manipulation of the nasal bones in the upper part of the nose which causes bruising. The bruising varies but is usually gone in 7-10 days.
If you would like to talk to an expert, Dr. Charles Thorne has been a cosmetic surgeon in New York City since 1989. He specializes in Rhinoplasty and other facial procedures for more than 30 years. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation.