While you may experience some discomfort after your rhinoplasty procedure, and your nose might feel a bit strange for a few days, in most cases the recovery period is nothing to fear. If you plan well, you might find that you’re able to use the recovery time productively, catching up with a few books or reconnecting with people you’ve been meaning to call or email.
To make your recovery as comfortable as possible, follow the instructions your surgeon gives you and follow up with him or her if you have any concerns. The following tips will help you have an enjoyable and pleasant recovery process.
Take It Easy
You’ll get the best possible results from your recovery and your surgery if you make an effort to take it easy afterwards, especially for the first day or two. Before your surgery, set up a comfortable area in your home, where you can relax. If you’ll be in bed, put plenty of pillows on it to keep your head elevated. If you’ll be on a couch or easy chair, make sure it’s comfortable enough for you to sit with your head upright. Your surgeon will recommend keeping the head elevated for a few days after the procedure, to keep swelling down.
Plan a few light activities for that first day or two back. You can watch a movie, read or try to write a letter. You may simply want to use the time to take a nap, and that’s perfectly fine.
Be Gentle to Your Nose
Your nose will be in a splint or dressing for the first week or so after the surgery and will most likely be packed with gauze. As it heals, you’ll want to be very gentle with it, avoid bumping it or causing yourself any discomfort. If your surgeon gives you permission, go ahead and put a cold compress or ice on the area to reduce swelling and bruising. But be careful not to press too hard.
Your nose may feel stuffed up after the surgery. It’s very important that you not blow it, as that can impact the healing. Don’t sniff through the nose, either. If you feel that you need to wipe or clean the nose, use a damp cotton swab to gently wipe the area, being careful not to shove the swab into your nostrils. Moist towelettes can also be useful for wiping the nose.
You’ll also want to be careful about what you put on the nose, what you use around the nose and the way you get dressed after the surgery. Avoid pulling things over your head and face and stick with garments that button or zip for the first few weeks, so that you don’t bump the nose. Your surgeon will most likely recommend not wearing glasses for several weeks after your surgery. Contacts are usually fine, as they don’t put weight on the nose.
Go High Fiber
Eating a healthy, high fiber diet is a must after rhinoplasty for a few reasons. It will provide you with an adequate amount of nutrition, which your body needs for healing. Fiber will also help you avoid constipation, which can occur when you’re sitting around a lot. Constipation can cause straining, which can be problematic for a healing nose, as it can put pressure on the area and slow down healing.
If you weren’t in the habit of wearing sunscreen before your surgery, use it as an excuse to start. Sun exposure after surgery can discolor the area of the incision, and that discoloration can be permanent. You may want to completely avoid the sun for the first few days after surgery. After that, use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and wear a hat with a brim when outdoors.
Wait to Exercise (But Take a Walk)
Your surgeon will most likely recommend that you hold off on heading to the gym for about a month after rhinoplasty. You’ll also want to avoid low impact exercises such as swimming, since you don’t want to get water up your nose.
One form of exercise that is recommended, starting a day or so after your surgery, is walking. Walking has a number of benefits, from improving blood flow to reducing constipation. Just remember to take it easy when you walk and avoid straining or bending. If you feel tired, it’s okay to stop for the day and go back to resting.
Recovery after rhinoplasty isn’t something to rush. In many cases, people feel well enough to go back to work or school after a week. But, everyone’s different and it’s best to listen to your surgeon and follow his advice.
Dr. Stephen Smith performs rhinoplasty at Smith Facial Plastics’ two locations in Ohio. If you are interested in learning more about the surgery and what to expect during recovery, call (614) 702-7342 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Smith today.