After rhinoplasty, it’s important to rest and give your nose enough time to heal properly. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of instructions to follow to improve your results and your comfort level during the recovery period. Following these instructions is crucial for the overall success of your procedure.
How you should care for your nose will evolve as your recovery progresses. Within a few weeks, your nose will heal enough that you’ll be able to resume your normal activities. Here’s a guide to what you can expect right after surgery and in the days and weeks that follow.
Immediately After Surgery
Depending on the specifics of your procedure, the surgeons at the Glasgold Group might perform your rhinoplasty in-office or at a nearby surgical facility. Your surgeon might use general anesthesia or give you IV sedation during the procedure. No matter where your surgery takes place or the type of anesthesia you receive, you’ll almost certainly be able to return home the same day.
Right after surgery, you’ll be taken to a recovery room. There, you’ll wait for the sedative or anesthesia to wear off. Your surgeon will examine you after you wake up to confirm that you’re ready to return home.
You’ll need to have someone bring you home from the office or surgical center. You won’t be able to drive yourself, due to the anesthesia. Ideally, someone should stay with you overnight after your surgery.
Your nose will be bandaged after your procedure. The surgeon will place a metal splint over the bridge of your nose and tape the splint in place.
They will also place gauze beneath your nostrils to catch any blood or fluids that might drain from the nose. You’ll be given instructions on how and when to change the gauze.
You’ll also be given instructions for safely cleaning your nose, medications to help manage discomfort (if needed), and instructions on what to eat and drink after rhinoplasty.
The day after rhinoplasty, you can expect to see a considerable amount of swelling in the area around your nose and eyes. Your eyes might look puffy as if you were crying a lot or didn’t sleep well.
Applying an ice pack or cold compress to the area around the nose and eyes will help minimize swelling and improve bruising. You can use the ice pack frequently, just make sure to rest for about 15 minutes after applying it for 15 to 20 minutes. Never apply ice directly to your skin; always wrap it in a towel.
Continue to change the gauze pads under your nose on the second day after your surgery. You’ll likely find that after 48 hours, there isn’t much drainage and you can remove the gauze altogether.
Clean your nose as instructed and take it easy. The day after surgery is a good day to rest and watch TV or listen to podcasts.
About one week after rhinoplasty, you’ll return to our practice for a follow-up visit. During this visit, your surgeon will remove your splint, dressings, and sutures.
You might feel well enough now to participate in light activities, such as cooking, taking short walks, or doing the laundry. Some people feel well enough to go back to work after one week, while others wait until the second week to do so.
Continue to clean your nasal cavity as directed by your surgeon. You should keep using the provided ointment inside your nose for at least another four days. Spray saline inside the nostrils twice a day for the next four weeks to prevent crusting and discomfort.
At the one-week mark, you can start to gently blow your nose. You might find pieces of the sutures in the tissues, but don’t be alarmed.
You can start showering or getting your nose and head wet at this stage. Avoid submerging your head entirely underwater, though.
You’ll have another follow-up visit about one month after your surgery. By this point, you’ll most likely have been back at work or school for a couple of weeks. You’ll also probably be able to resume more strenuous activities, such as working out or going for a run.
What to Eat After Rhinoplasty
During the first few weeks after rhinoplasty, it’s best to stick with foods that don’t require much chewing. Soft foods, such as yogurt, mashed vegetables, and smoothies, are ideal.
Foods that require a lot of chewing, such as steaks or crunchy snacks, can be downright difficult, if not painful, to eat after rhinoplasty. Chewing too vigorously can also affect the healing process.
It’s a good idea to avoid foods that can cause inflammation or irritation as you recover from rhinoplasty. Press pause on eating spicy foods for the time being, as they can make your nose run and might make you feel nauseated. Also, skip high-sodium foods, as they can cause you to retain fluids and make swelling worse.
How to Sleep After Rhinoplasty
Keeping the head elevated as much as possible will help your nose heal and bring down swelling following rhinoplasty. You might have to adjust your sleeping position to avoid bumping your nose after your surgery.
Sleep on your back to protect your nose. Use several pillows or a “husband” cushion to keep the head propped up at a 45-degree angle.
Another option is to sleep in a recliner the first few days after your surgery. The recliner will hold your head at the correct angle.
Your surgeon will most likely prescribe pain medications to help you manage discomfort after rhinoplasty. We’ll also let you know which OTC medications and supplements should be avoided following surgery.
For example, medicines that contain ibuprofen or aspirin can increase bleeding risk, and shouldn’t be taken for at least two weeks following surgery.
You’ll want to take good care of your nose after surgery to help improve your results and comfort during recovery. Avoid handling your nose as much as possible, and be gentle when you must do so. Following your surgeon’s instructions will set you up for success.
How do I clean my nose after rhinoplasty?
Cleaning the inside of the nose after surgery will help reduce the risk of infection. We’ll give you Bactroban ointment to apply inside both nostrils during the first 10 days or so after rhinoplasty. Use a cotton swab to gently dab the ointment inside the nostrils twice a day.
Also, spray saline solution (saltwater) inside each nostril two or three times daily during the first month or so. The saline will help to keep the nasal passages moist, minimizing crusting. Increasing the moisture inside the nose will also help you breathe more comfortably.
What Not to Do
As your nose heals, here are a few activities to avoid:
- Sun exposure. Shield your nose from the sun as much as possible to avoid irritation, burns, and hyperpigmentation. Always wear sunscreen.
- Swimming. Avoid submerging your head until your surgeon gives you the green light.
- Wearing glasses. If you have to wear glasses, wear them over the nasal splint during the first two weeks.
Contact Us for More Rhinoplasty Post-Op Instructions
The surgeons at the Glasgold Group are happy to answer any questions you have about the recovery and postoperative period after rhinoplasty. Feel free to contact our New Jersey office at 732-838-6621 with any questions.