Once you come out of rhinoplasty surgery, the work isn’t over—your nose still has to heal properly, and how you care for yourself in the days following the procedure will be a major factor in your eventual results. Your surgeon may be extremely skilled, but it is possible to compromise your results, simply by not following instructions you are given for post-operative care. During the first few days, activities will be uncomfortable, and it may be difficult for you to even get enough rest, something you need during any sort of recovery. So what are some tips for getting some sleep while you wrestle with congestion and a nasal splint?
Sleeping with Elevation
For the first few days, your plastic surgeon will recommend that you sleep with your head elevated, higher than your heart. This is for a few reasons. First, it will help to minimize swelling that is an inevitable part of rhinoplasty. Second, it will help prevent you from injuring your nose while you sleep. And finally, sleeping with your head elevated, at least by a few extra pillows, will help reduce uncomfortable congestion, which is very common during the early days of recovery.
Using Your Medications
You may want to try to tough it out without the painkillers you are prescribed, but during the first few days after surgery, there’s no harm in taking your medications when you need to, as long as your doses are within the limits of the pills. Feeling better will help you sleep, which can only help along the healing process.
Your daily cup of coffee is one routine you should skip during your recovery period. In addition to directly impairing your sleep, caffeine’s effects along with your painkillers can make it even more difficult to get good quality rest you will need.
Consider Sleeping Solo
Depending on your bedmate’s nighttime habits (whether human or pet!), you might consider sleeping separately for the first week or so after your procedure, particularly if he or she is a restless sleeper. Tossing and turning can be dangerous to your fragile nose, and you may just find you just need that extra peace. Some patients choose to sleep in a recliner the first few nights, or you can always ask your partner to spend a few nights on the couch for your nose’s sake.
Don’t Give In to Temptation
When you’re in the throes of recovery, it can be tempting to ignore your doctor’s advice and blow your nose, sleep flat on your side, or do something else to alleviate discomfort. However, it’s important to understand that doing so can have consequences, so why take a chance? For just a week or two of discomfort, you will likely gain a beautiful result that will last a lifetime. It’s very important to follow all of your doctor’s advice as closely as possible.
Find a Knowledgeable Surgeon
Because the two major factors in your rhinoplasty’s success will be your surgeon’s skill and successful healing, it makes sense to choose a skilled surgeon who can pass on the knowledge you need to set yourself up for success. Rhinoplasty is an extremely difficult procedure, and should only be performed by an expert, board certified plastic surgeon. Take your time and consult with several specialists before you choose your surgeon—this is one decision you don’t want to rush into.
Dr. Shervin Naderi is a rhinoplasty specialist of the highest caliber, offering patients beautiful, natural, custom results at the Naderi Center in Herndon, VA (703-481-0002), and Chevy Chase, MD (301-222-2020). Dr. Naderi focuses nearly 100% of his practice to nasal surgery, and is considered a true expert in the field. Call either location today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Naderi.