The previous article on Rhinoplasty discussed the popularity of nose jobs with teenagers. This article explains what to expect after surgery at any age.
Swelling: All surgeries no matter how minor create swelling as the body sends the healing fluids to the traumatized area. Swelling may be greater if both the inside and outside of the nose are operated on.
- To help the swelling subside more quickly, cold compresses are advised for the first 48 hours being careful to not get the splint wet.
- Keep the head elevated or upright as much as possible after surgery. Sleeping in a recliner or with two pillows (firm) to elevate the head is important.
- Do not lift anything over 8-10 pounds and do not bend over. This can raise the blood pressure increasing the risk of a hematoma (blood clot).
- Avoid hitting or bumping the nose.
- Use a hand-held hair dryer to dry your hair. Do not sit under dryers at the hair salon for at least two weeks.
- Avoid excess sun exposure and when you are in the sun, use a sunscreen with SPF 30. Wear this every day and reapply every two hours for maximum benefit.
- Avoid getting the nasal dressing wet. If the tape becomes wet, just pat it dry. Avoid getting the splint wet. Wash your face with a cloth — do not stand under the shower and let the water hit on your face.
- Avoid “sniffing” for the first week after surgery. Sniffing will not relieve the sensation of blockage but will aggravate the sensation because suction created on the inside will cause more swelling.
- Do not blow your nose for two weeks after surgery or until your doctor instructs to do so. This can cause bleeding. A saline nasal spray can be purchased and used to clear the nostrils.
- Avoid rubbing the nostrils or the base of the nose with tissues or a handkerchief. This can aggravate the area, cause infection, bleeding or dislodge the cartilage inside the nose.
- Dried mucus or a crust may form in the nose. Use just the cotton tip of a Q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide to clean the area.
- If there are dissolvable stitches at the base of the nose, clean them 4 times a day with hydrogen peroxide and apply ointment over the stitches. Your doctor will tell you what to use. Apply ointment with a clean Q-tip. This will keep the area comfortable.
Discoloration: You may experience some bruising or black eyes after nasal surgery. If bruising occurs, it usually resolves within a week to ten days. Camouflage make-up may be applied when the doctor okays it.
Hemorrhage: When the nasal passages are blocked, the nasal glands produce more mucus than normal. After surgery you will experience some drainage that may be tinged with blood. This is not a problem unless the drainage becomes very bloody and flows profusely.
If this occurs, the patient should lie down with head elevated. Cold compresses should be applied on the nose, face and neck. Applying pressure to both sides of the base of the nostrils is helpful. A decongestant spray such as Afrin may be used in the side that is bleeding. If bleeding continues, contact your doctor.
Pain: You may experience some pain. Of course, pain varies patient to patient. Some do not experience any pain and some do. The pain is usually the result of the swelling and may seem worse at night. Your doctor will prescribe a pain reliever. Do not wait until the pain is intense.Use your pain relievers when discomfort begins. Pain can increase the blood pressure and increase the risk of bleeding. Do not take any products that contain aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These products thin the blood causing excessive bleeding.
Insomnia: Your doctor may prescribe a sleep medication. Do not drive when taking these medications. Dramamine and Benadryl are antihistamines with mild sedating properties that can be purchased over the counter and taken if needed.
Depression: This is not an uncommon experience for a patient to go through a period of mild depression after surgery. It is temporary and will subside shortly.
Sneezing: Try to avoid sneezing until the bandage is removed. If it happens, let it come out like a cough – through the mouth.
Wearing eyeglasses: Your doctor will probably suggest that you wear your glasses suspended from the forehead or supported on the cheekbones for about six weeks. This is important because the pressure of the glasses may change the new contour of the nose. Contact lenses may be worn when your doctor gives permission.
Dryness of the lips: Breathing through the mouth can cause dryness of the lips. Use lip balm to moisturize the lips.
Returning to work or school: You can usually return to work or school when the bandages are removed which would be 7 to 8 days after surgery. You can go back after about 3 days if you do not mind being in public with a splint on your nose. Another determining factor is the amount of physical activity your job entails. Your doctor will instruct you in this regard.
Full recovery: Your nose will appear large and the tip may be turned up a bit when the bandages are first removed. This is because of the operative swelling over the nose and upper lip. Swelling subsides during the first week, more the second week and by the third week, most visible swelling and bruising is gone. The body continues healing for up to a full year.
Your doctor will go over all the recovery procedures and expectations with you during your initial consultation and your pre-operative consultation. This list is to help you understand and perhaps think of other questions to ask your doctor.
Always seek a board certified cosmetic or plastic surgeon. View the websites for The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and The American Society of Plastic Surgery to confirm that your doctor is certified. Ask for credentials and references. Also ask to see photographs of actual patients.