Unlike many plastic surgery procedures, rhinoplasty surgery is designed to be a long term solution, and a successful rhinoplasty will look good for a lifetime. It would be ideal, of course, if patients could simply skip the discomfort involved with the procedure and see their great results immediately, but unfortunately, recovery from surgery is an inevitable part of the rhinoplasty process. However, due to advances in technology, technique, and knowledge, it is possible for many patients to minimize the side effects involved with rhinoplasty recovery. While it’s not possible to eliminate all swelling and bruising (two inevitable side effects of surgery), minimizing their impact can help aid in a speedy recovery. Here are some tips for making sure bruising and swelling don’t take over after nasal surgery.
Follow Pre and Post-Operative Precautions
There are many different medications and substances that will need to be eliminated about two weeks prior to surgery, including a variety of over-the-counter medications, certain herbal supplements, and alcohol. Smoking is prohibited for several months, or at least weeks, before surgery, as the habit can have severe repercussions during and after the procedure. These substances are also prohibited during initial recovery, as they can interfere with healing and eventual results, and make swelling worse. Don’t risk your results by taking any of these without your doctor’s advice.
Leave Your Bandaging
You should always do as your doctor says with regards to pre and post-operative care. This includes keeping any bandaging, splints, or packing in place until he or she removes them or gives the green light for you to remove them. Splints help keep swelling under control and protect your nose’s new shape. Also be careful about getting your bandaging wet or dirty, as this can be detrimental to the healing process or encourage infection.
Your nose will be very fragile and delicate after surgery, so treat it with care. Be gentle when brushing your teeth, showering, and during other everyday activities. The more you can leave your nose alone to let it heal, the better.
For the first few days after rhinoplasty, ice will help greatly for reducing swelling and discomfort. It should be applied as necessary, but never directly on the nose with no insulation. Ask your surgeon for tips on this important anti-swelling method, and make sure you are well-stocked with ice, ice packs, and even frozen vegetables to get you through the first few days.
It is important to get ample rest during initial recovery, but light activity is encouraged to help keep swelling down and reduce the risk of blood clots. Be careful to keep your head elevated and avoid bending and lifting, as these can be dangerous and detrimental. Take it easy and follow activity restrictions, but don’t be sedentary during recovery – your body will thank you.
Take Approved Medications
Many recovering rhinoplasty patients take approved medications to help control swelling. The most common of these are Arnica and bromelain (which can also be found in pineapple juice), compounds which are usually approved by surgeons. It is important to ask your surgeon for guidance and approval when choosing anti-swelling supplements.
When Necessary, Cover Up
While it’s important to schedule enough time off from work or school for proper recovery, sometimes bruising doesn’t fade as quickly as expected, as each patient is unique. For patients returning to work after a week or two with persistent bruising, it may be necessary to cover up with makeup. Ask your doctor if there is any restriction on makeup use, and for how long.
Remember Residual Swelling
While the majority of rhinoplasty swelling should subside after about 4 to 6 months or so, there will be residual swelling that will disappear gradually within the year following initial healing. It is important for rhinoplasty patients to have patience and wait at least 6 months to seek revision surgery for any problems, as swelling can distort results and present a false image of poor results.
Ready to Learn More?
Dr. ShervinNaderi, MD, FACS of the Naderi Center Rhinoplasty& Cosmetic Surgery is a facial plastic surgeon located in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
He has dedicated himself and his practice to the specialty of rhinoplasty, treating the area of the nose both cosmetically and functionally. Because of his dedication to each patient as an individual he always seeks the best approach to improve both form and function. His goal is a nose that works with and complements the face, making it look both attractive and natural. He is also an expert in the even more delicate areas of revision rhinoplasty and reconstruction. The results of just some of his work can be seen here in the Naderi Center Photo Gallery.
Dr. Naderi is certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. If you’re considering a cosmetic procedure and want to consult with an experienced Washington, DC-area facial plastic surgeon, call the Naderi Center Rhinoplasty& Cosmetic Surgery. For the convenience of his patients he has two office locations, one in Herndon, VA 703-481-0002 and the other in Chevy Chase, MD 301-222-2020. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The doctor can also be reached by email.