Rhinoplasty surgery is a common procedure that is used for both cosmetic reasons and for medical purposes. Individuals who would like to change the look of their nose or who have medical issues such as difficulty breathing often opt for rhinoplasty surgery. It is important to understand the nose surgery recovery process if you are scheduled for a procedure. This will help you to plan your post-surgery schedule accordingly. Once the surgery is complete, your surgeon will place a splint made of plastic or plaster to the external area of your nose. This ensures that the newly shaped nose area is maintained after surgery. In addition, a nasal pack or a soft plastic splint will be inserted within the nostrils in order to stabilize the septum. According to Dr. Melvin Dassinger of the University of Tennessee, splints should be worn for 1-2 weeks after surgery while the nasal pack (or soft plastic splint) can be removed within 3-5 days. During recovery from nose surgery, it is common for some swelling and bruising around the eyes to occur for a few days post surgery. Rhinoplasty surgeons recommend that patients apply a cold compress while keeping their head raised in order to reduce swelling and bruising. In most cases, recovery after nose surgery is quick. Most patients are able to return to work or other low-impact daily activities within just a few days after the procedure. However, complete recovery can take a few weeks. Dassinger recommends that patients avoid high-impact, strenuous exercises for 2-3 weeks after surgery, exposure to sun for the first 2 months, and to take care whenever washing the face during the weeks following the procedure. It is important to follow the instructions of your doctor after rhinoplasty surgery so that you can be sure to avoid complications and can be certain that the recovery process goes as smoothly as possible.
Aside from knowing how their improved nose is going to look and function after a rhinoplasty surgery, patients are also eager to learn what to expect during the healing process. While the end results of the surgery can be quite dramatic and even life changing, complete recovery can be a long and gradual process. During the surgery, the bones and cartilage of the nose are transformed significantly, and the body needs ample time to heal and adapt completely. The good news is that majority of the discomfort associated with the surgery subsides rather quickly. Lets take a closer look at the phases of rhinoplasty recovery.
Two to Three Days After Surgery
Like with any surgery, the first two to three days of recovery are the most challenging. This is when you are likely going to experience a few side effects of the healing process, such as headaches, bruising, nosebleeds, and mild discomfort. During this time, you may have nasal packaging, stitches, or a splint in place to assist with the shaping and healing of the nose. Your physician will likely prescribe mild pain medications, as well as detailed instructions for post op care. These guidelines will help you keep the area clean and healthy.
During the first few days of recovery, it is especially important to rest, stay well hydrated, and enable your body to heal. A cold compress may be applied very carefully in order to reduce swelling. It may be necessary to have a friend or family member ready to help you with tasks around the house, as it is best for you to remain in bed with their head elevated as much as possible for the first few days.
One Week After Surgery
After approximately a week after the surgery, majority of the pain, discomfort, and other side effects of the recovery process will have subsided. The nose will likely still feel a bit puffy and swollen at this point, and the upper lip may retain a bit of stiffness.
Your physician will schedule a follow-up appointment at this point to monitor the progress of your recovery. If the nose is healing as intended, any bandages or splints will likely be removed at this time. In order to maintain the shape of the nose, it is recommended that you do not place any weight on the nose, including wearing any eyewear that rests on top of the nose.
If the one week follow-up appointment shows good progress, you will likely be ready to return to a more normalized routine. You can presume going to work, or school, as long as you are not required to partake in any strenuous physical activities.
Two Weeks After Surgery
At the two week mark, you should feel almost completely recovered. There may still be some signs of swelling around the nose, but for the most part all discomfort will have subsided. At this point, it is even safe to partake in physical exercise again. The only activities that should be avoided are those that will put your nose in danger of being impacted, such as contact sports. Activities that could cause result in an impact to the nose should be avoided for at least two months after the surgery.
Beyond Two Weeks
Majority of the healing issues presented by rhinoplasty surgery are mild, or even largely imperceptible, after the first two weeks of recovery. Most of the recovery process involves practicing good post-op care, and keeping your nose protected as it heals. Slight swelling can persist for an extended period of time, and the definitive results of your surgery may not be completely apparent until up to one year after the procedure.