Whether you're having a rhinoplasty performed in order to improve the appearance of your nose or to make it easier to breathe, you'll be happy to know that recovering from rhinoplasty is typically an easy process. The worst after-effects of a rhinoplasty will clear up within two or three weeks, although it can take months before the incision scar disappears and the majority of the swelling goes down. For those first few weeks, you'll want to protect your nose and minimize discomfort. To help ease the recovery process, here are three things you should do after your rhinoplasty.
1. Take a Week or Two Off of Work
The first week after your rhinoplasty will be the hardest — you'll have internal splints on your nose in order to shape it during the first part of the healing process, and these splints can be distracting and can interfere with breathing. You'll also produce excessive amounts of mucus, sound very congested, and suffer from nasal discharge. At the end of the week, the internal splints in your nose will be removed, and your mucus and congestion will clear.
Since you'll experience the most extreme congestion, bruising, and swelling during the first week, it's a good idea to take a week off from work after your rhinoplasty. You should focus on healing and recovering instead of working. Once the internal splints are removed and the bruising has subsided, your surgeon will very likely clear you to return to work.
If your job duties include heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity, then you may need to take two weeks off of work. If that's not possible, ask your employer if you can perform light duties instead for the first two weeks after your rhinoplasty. It's important to avoid heavy lifting for the first two weeks after surgery, as lifting can place excess pressure on your nose and interfere with wound healing.
2. Protect Your Nose From Damage While It Heals
Since your nose contains a large amount of pliable cartilage, even very small amounts of pressure can affect the way your nose heals after a rhinoplasty. Avoid contact sports or other physical activity where there's a possibility that your nose could be hit and damaged for at least three months after surgery. Similarly, you shouldn't wear glasses for at least three months either — the portion that rests on your nose can change the way your nose heals and give you unacceptable results. Either switch to contact lenses while you recover from your rhinoplasty or tape your glasses to your face with invisible tape to prevent them from resting on your nose.
Always sneeze with your mouth open during the first month of recovery and never blow your nose. Sneezing and blowing your nose places an extreme amount of pressure on your sinuses and nasal passages, which can dislodge clots and cause bleeding. When this happens, it will delay the healing process. Minimize any exposure to allergens during this time in order to reduce sinus congestion and the need to sneeze or blow your nose.
3. Use Over-the-Counter Saline Spray and Sleep Aids to Help Recovery
During the first three weeks, you may need to use an over-the-counter saline spray to prevent the inside of your nose from crusting over. The extra mucus you produce after your rhinoplasty can dry on the inside of your nose, forming crusts. Not only is this annoying, but it can interfere with the healing process. A saline spray will moisten the inside of your nose and prevent crusts from forming.
You may also need to purchase over-the-counter sleep aids in order to help you fall asleep during the first few weeks after your rhinoplasty. You'll need to sleep with your head elevated and will suffer from nasal congestion at night — for many people, this makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Sleeping well is important for recovery, so don't be afraid to use over-the-counter sleep aids at night.
Overall, recovering from rhinoplasty surgery is easy for most people. Recovery is hardest during the first few weeks. Afterwards, all you will experience is slight swelling. If you need a rhinoplasty, whether for cosmetic reasons or to correct a medical issue with your nose, contact a surgeon like William M. Parell, MD, PSC and follow their instructions during the recovery process in order to ensure that your nose heals fully after the surgery.