Once you arrive back home after your rhinoplasty surgery you should expect to feel tired for a few days. Most people don't experience a lot of pain, but rather describe more of an aching, throbbing sensation after surgery. This is often well controlled with plain tylenol. If you have persistent discomfort you should take your prescription narcotic medication. It also helps to apply ice packs to your face to further reduce any discomfort.
To further maximize your healing Dr. Lamperti recommends the following post-operative care:
- Do not disturb your cast or allow it to get wet. It is okay to wash your hair or shower as long as you do not get the nasal dressing wet.
- Do not blow your nose for 10 days after surgery. It is okay to rinse your nose with salt water (saline) rinse in the meantime to help flush out your nose.
- Use an open mouth sneeze, if you have to sneeze.
- Elevate your head at all times. At night sleep with your head in an elevated position at least 30 degrees. This can be done using several pillows or by sleeping in a recliner.
- Eat less than 1000 mg of sodium (salt) per day to help reduce postoperative swelling.
- Avoid prolonged chewing with hard foods or chewing gum for 2 weeks after surgery.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure to the nose. Wear SPF 30 or higher and a hat that protects your nose from the sun. This helps to prevent excessive swelling and darkening of any external incision.
- Avoid bending over, heavy lifting and straining for at least 2 weeks.
- Avoid strenuous exercise for at least 3 weeks.
- Clean the incision lines and inner nostril area gently with diluted hydrogen peroxide using a q-tip 2 to 3 times a day. Continue this for 2 weeks.
- Apply plain vaseline or saline gel to the incision lines after cleaning with peroxide.
- You may wear glasses (or sunglasses) while the cast is on. If controlled bone fractures were done, once your cast is removed you should avoid resting heavy glasses on your nose for 6 weeks after surgery. It is okay to wear contact lenses.
What else can you expect during your rhinoplasty recovery?
- Your nose will be congested after surgery from the internal nasal swelling.
- You may experience a runny nose for a few weeks after surgery
- You may have bruising and swelling around your eyes (especially if controlled bone fractures are done during surgery). Any bruising should resolve after 7-14 days, though it can be covered with makeup in the meantime.
- The external nasal dressing and any external sutures are removed one week after surgery. The internal nasal sutures are dissolve-able and will come out on their own.
- Most people are able to return to work and social activities 7-10 days after their rhinoplasty.
- If an open rhinoplasty approach was used you will experience temporary nasal tip numbness for about 8 months. This resolves as the nerve endings regrow into the nasal tip skin.