What to do during rhinoplasty recovery
If you’re thinking of having a nose job, or you’ve just had one, you’ll have a lot of questions to ask. Besides planning your surgery date (super exciting!) you might be wondering what to do straight after your operation. What actually happens once you’ve woken up from surgery, and you’re dispatched from the care of your surgeon and medical team? How do you look after yourself to ensure the best possible results? We’ve listened to your questions, now we’ve got some answers…
1. Be patient
Although a nose job takes just two hours to perform, the results take a lot longer to show. As the months tick on post-op, it’s normal to doubt the outcome of your rhinoplasty surgery. But before you go questioning your choice of surgical provider or surgeon, take a deep breath! It can take up to a year (in some cases, longer) to see the full results of nose surgery, so try not to panic when your splint is whipped off and you are not inundated with joy about what you see. Recovery time varies from patient to patient, but it also depends on the technique you opted for (open or closed rhinoplasty). Your surgeon will advise you of how long you can expect to wait, but for example, if you had a bump removed, your nose is likely to heal a lot quicker than if you have reconstruction on the tip. Small changes can happen every day, so you may benefit from taking pictures of your nose each week to track the changes. If you enjoy watching your new nose take shape, you’ll eradicate a lot of the stress! Opting for cosmetic surgery is a big decision, so you want to cherish the moment you did something for you and only you.
2. Keep it lubricated
Your surgeon may advise that you use a saline intranasal spray (a salt water solution) after rhinoplasty surgery. Different surgeons prefer different sprays, but most recommend that you optimise some kind of nose spray for 4-6 weeks to prevent dryness of the skin. Besides combatting flaking skin, it is important that you keep your nose tissue moistened (without wetting your dressing) as this will promote quicker healing. Using a good nose spray will also help to relieve congestion- so you’ll be able to breathe much easier after a few uses, too. Always remember to follow medication as prescribed, and listen to the advice given by your surgeon as to when you should use the spray and for how long. It can be tempting to reach for over the counter sprays for extra relief, but you should seek professional advice before doing so as your results may be affected.
3. Don’t blow your nose
Nose surgery can leave you feeling very congested, particularly in the first week while your splint and packing are still in place. You’ll have an urge to blow your nose like never before, but it is very important that you follow your surgeon’s advice on how long you should wait before grabbing the pocket tissues. Blowing your nose, sniffing or sneezing too early could lead to a bleed, and a bleed could lead to a prolonged recovery period (best case) or injury (worst case). Chances are, the congestion in your nose is either packing, swelling or bodily fluids left over the from your surgery, and it needs to stay in there until your nose is ready to dispose of it. P.s. If you have not been able to breathe through your nose for two weeks- then don’t worry- it’s a normal symptom of your recovery! You may also be having trouble smelling or tasting food, which is quite honestly one of the most frustrating parts of nose surgery recovery. And that’s not us being extra- the taste of Domino’s is everything! Just know that it won’t last forever.
4. Use cold compressions
Many patients experience bruising, or `black eyes` during the early days of recovery. This is completely normal and is just a side effect of swelling of the midfacial area. Using a cold compress or ice pack for the first 48 hours will help reduce the swelling, and ice packs can be used after this period to treat discomfort. Top tip: always wrap ice packs well to ensure your dressings are kept nice and dry.
5. Tolerate the packing
If you’ve Googled `what happens after a nose job? `, then you will have heard about the HELL that is packing. Patients dread having their packing removed, and if you’re having rhinoplasty surgery, you will not be looking forward to it either. But to be honest, although packing removal is painful for a few seconds, it comes with a new level of relief. Effectively, having your packing pulled out is like having two large tampons pulled from your nostrils. It’s not pretty, it’s a little uncomfortable, but it has to be done. Aside from your packing, it’s important to look after your dressings and splint by always keeping them dry. If they become loose for any reason, it’s a good idea to consult your patient advisor for advice on how to wrap you back up again.
6. Don’t worry if the tip goes hard
If the tip of your nose is very hard or stiff, there is no need to panic! A hard tip is usually due to the swelling of the nasal tissue; this can fluctuate throughout your recovery period and is a normal part of the healing process. A hardness of the tip may also be a sign that scar tissue is present or cartilage grafts have been used to reconstruct the nose. Following a low-salt diet can help to relieve fluid retention, so consider cutting back on the white stuff until the tip moves more naturally. If your nose has been stiff for more than a few months after nose reshaping and you feel concerned, seeking professional advice from your surgeon is always an option.
7. Learn to do nothing
Taking a few weeks out to do absolutely nothing can be difficult and tedious, but it is paramount to your recovery. Gym bunnies, busy mummies and girl bosses alike need to take the time to rest and recuperate- the world will still be there when you’ve finished, so enjoy every moment! We’re not just talking about vigorous exercise; you should refrain from bending over, cleaning and doing any actions which involve the close proximity of your face (if you can). Keeping your head elevated while you rest and sleep will allow circulation to your nose and will decrease swelling, so chuck a few extra pillows underneath your neck. Don’t be afraid to rest alone, either- you want to lower the risk of having your nose knocked by your cats, kids, and while playfighting with the husband…
8. Wear zip-up tops
This one might be obvious, but we’d always advise the wear of loose or zip-up tops during the early stages of recovery. Zip-ups are much easier to put on and you can completely avoid your mid facial area, minimising the risk of catching your new nose on a hood or toggle. While turtle neck jumpers and tight pull-over hoodies are a no-no, light and oversized jumpers can be worn if you are confident that you won’t catch or bash anything. There’s no harm in asking a partner, friend or family member to help you- take advantage of the support where you can!
We guide thousands of women each year through rhinoplasty surgery. Please follow the links below if you would like to find out costings or to book a free consultation.