Rhinoplasty Recovery & Downtime
If you choose to get rhinoplasty then it’s important to know what the recovery will be like and how much downtime will be required in order to properly recover.
Rhinoplasty is different for everyone and the type of surgery you get will determine what your recovery is like. That being said, there are certain common side effects that most patients deal with.
Common side effects during the first few days
A very common side effect that occurs immediately after surgery is a dull aching in the head and around the nose. This side effect is only temporary and usually goes very quickly. It’s uncommon for patients to experience severe pain following rhinoplasty. Pain medication is recommended for the first few days after surgery to help deal with any pain, after which time it’s usually OK to switch to mild, over-the-counter pain medication.
Another common side effect of rhinoplasty is congestion. This is caused by internal swelling in the nose. It’s worth noting that congestion is usually at its worst in the days immediately following surgery and will continue to improve as the weeks go by.
Once you’ve come round and are starting to feel more awake, try to have a small amount of water, a few sips at a time, but don’t eat or drink too much or too quickly as it could cause nausea and sickness.
The first week after surgery
During the first week after surgery, it’s important to get plenty of rest and avoid any heavy lifting. You will need around a week off work in order to give yourself the time needed to recover.
- Washing and bathing
- Splint removal
Painkillers can be taken to ease any pain or discomfort but should only be taken when necessary. They aren’t a mandatory part of the healing process but most people prefer to use them.
When sleeping for the first few days, try to keep the head slightly elevated. One of the best ways to do this is by sleeping with two or three pillows. Also avoid sleeping on your side or front because it can offset the bones that have been reshaped.
Bruising is common in people that are recovering from a rhinoplasty procedure, although some people show no signs of bruising at all. Bruising tends to clear up on its own and is usually completely gone after 10 days. Around the eyes and across the nose are the most common areas of bruising after surgery.
Nausea and vomiting isn’t something that affects everybody after surgery however, it can affect a few rhinoplasty patients. It’s usually nothing to worry about but it’s best to inform your surgeon if you begin vomiting during your recovery.
The splint that protects the bridge of the nose after surgery needs to be avoided and kept dry for a minimum of a week after the surgery to enable the nose to heal correctly. If the splint is disturbed, it can cause the bridge of the nose to widen.
Once the splint is removed, the nose can appear to be more slender as the shape of the nose is influenced by the splint. The nose is likely to swell a little after the removal of the splint, however, as the swelling reduces, the final result become more noticeable.
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One month after surgery
One month after surgery, the final results of the rhinoplasty will start to appear, although, it won’t be until the swelling has completely gone down that the full results will be visible. You will have been able to return to work and life should be getting back to normal. There are still a few things that you will have to be cautious about.
- Cleaning the nose
- Breathing through the nose
Avoid picking or blowing the nose to prevent trauma inside the nose. Use saline solution to clean the nose during the first month of recovery.
After a rhinoplasty, it’s better to wear contact lenses instead of glasses because glasses cause pressure on the bridge of the nose. Sunglasses should also not be worn.
Airways can be restricted straight after a rhinoplasty procedure due to swelling so it can prove more difficult to breathe through the nose. This improves after a few weeks and breathing through the nose becomes easier and less restricted.
How long until final results are seen?
Because of the swelling, you won’t be able to appreciate the results of your surgery for the first few weeks. Around 3 weeks after your surgery, the swelling should have reduced considerably and at around 6-8 weeks you should be able to start noticing the finer details of your surgery as the swelling subsides even more.
It’s recommended that you take a couple of weeks off work after your surgery, at least until any splints and bandages are removed. It’s important that you follow all the recovery advice that your doctor gives you if you want the healing process to be as speedy as possible.
When recovering from rhinoplasty it’s important to be aware that for the first few weeks after surgery it’s to be expected that your nose will not feel like your own. Common facial expressions such as smiling and frowning might feel strange, as well bumping or touching your nose. This is all part of the healing process however and is completely normal.