What to Expect While Recovering from a Rhinoplasty

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After rhinoplasty surgery there will be mild to moderate amounts of pain around the nose. This can be easily managed with the oral medications, such as Tylenol with codeine. The patient usually starts feeling reduction in pain within 72 hours after surgery.  

Bruising and swelling are common after the surgery. These symptoms often worsen on the second day following operation and then steadily improve thereafter. The amount of bruising that occurs varies significantly from one person to the next. Most swelling occurs around the eyes, but some bruising may also affect and  cause discolouration on the cheek area. If only the septum and/or nasal tip are operated on, there will be only slight, if any, bruising in that region.

Here are some things that you should know about what to expect post-surgery: 

  • What can I expect right after the surgery when I undergo rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty is an outpatient surgery and depending on how complex the procedure is and the work that you’re expecting, it may take a couple of hours. The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia typically, and you will be able to go home after that surgery the same day. Right after the surgery, the doctor will put some bandages on the operated area and a splint on the outside of the nose. It will be taped onto your cheek, or sometimes taped onto your forehead. You may have some blood dripping from the nostrils and a gauze is put under there, if needed. So right after the surgery, you’re not going to be looking your best. You’ll go home and the main thing for the first couple of days is to just take it easy and let things heal so that there isn’t any bleeding or complications.

  • After the first few days, do the bandages come off? What happens after those first few days?

This depends on how much work has been done. If the bones have to be narrowed or just the soft tissues need to be remodelled. But, in general, as a rule, most patients after rhinoplasty have to wear a splint or a bandage on their nose for almost one week. So  for one week having a little cast on the outside of your nose will probably prevent you from going out and engaging in social events. You want that splint to stay stuck on, so avoid having a lot of moisture on it. 

  • As there’s going to be some swelling, and  discomfort, what precautions are recommended for the first few weeks?

To minimize swelling, keep your head elevated as it can help reduce this. The patients are generally advised, when they go home, to get themselves a comfortable space to sleep in, where they can keep some extra pillows behind their back, while sleeping. Keep your head elevated for the first couple of days while you go through the peak swelling time period.

  • When does that splint finally come off?

Normally, between five and seven days, when you’ll go in for your follow-up visit with your surgeon. They’ll take the splint off, take out any stitches that need to come out. After this, you’re going to look a lot more presentable. You will still have some swelling and possibly some bruising. There can be some residual bruising under your eyes, so you may need to put on some cover-up. But after one week, you can usually go back to work as long as you’re not doing anything very strenuous or heavy lifting.

  • Once the splint is off, can I immediately see the final results that I wanted, or does that take some time?

One of the things that people don’t always understand and surgeons always try to emphasize before the surgery to set the expectations is the swelling. The nose holds onto swelling longer than other parts of the body. Also, it’s right there in the front of your face. So even a tiny bit of swelling is going to be recognized. Usually, the patient doesn’t go back looking normal after one week. But after a couple of weeks, the swelling is going to be very subtle, mostly only you’re going to be noticing it or maybe some close friends or family may notice it. But there was a very small amount of swelling left after about three weeks. So if one is looking for the best final results of the nose job, they have to be pretty patient. As there is lots of money involved in the procedure so one should be patient enough to get the desired result. However, rhinoplasty cost in India is comparatively much cheaper than in other countries.

  • There can be a little swelling for around a year. Why does the nose hold onto the swelling for so long?

That’s just because of the nature of the skin, particularly on the tip of the nose. Again, it’s a very small amount of swelling, and it may not be too noticeable to other people. But for the final results, it takes around 10-12 months of time to see the desired changes.

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