Recovery after surgery

Rhinoplasty or a “nose job” is usually performed with general anesthesia. After the procedure, as the anesthesia wears off, expect to feel tired and groggy. Most patients are able to return home on the same day as their procedure, although they cannot drive due to the anesthesia after-effects. Plan to take several days at home to recovery before trying to resume your normal activity level. Patients usually take about a week away from work after undergoing rhinoplasty.

Expect to feel some degree of discomfort, pain, and tenderness in the nose area. Your nose will be held together with a splint and packed with gauze, which can create some uncomfortable pressure in the nose. Any pain you feel can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. You may also be prescribed antibiotics.

Some side effects of surgical rhinoplasty

Common side effects following a nose job include swelling and bruising. The bruises often extend outwards into the eye area, so you may experience “black eyes.” The first few days after surgery, it can be a little unsettling to look at yourself in the mirror due to the after-effects of surgery, but these will begin to subside quickly. Most of the bruising will be gone within about ten days. Patients who smoke may experience bruising for up to three weeks. You may also experience bleeding, peeling skin, or temporary numbness.

Many patients find swelling to be the side effect that takes the longest to go away. Some residual swelling may continue for up to six months after the rhinoplasty surgery. To minimize swelling, say hydrated and get plenty of rest. If your doctor recommends doing so, use ice or cold compresses.

During the first week after surgery, sleep with several pillows to keep the head and neck elevated. This can reduce swelling and bruising, as well as reduce the risk of disturbing your nose in your sleep. In this initial recovery period, it's also important to avoid wearing cosmetics or glasses, both of which can irritate the nose. If you wear contacts, you can resume their use immediately.

Avoid bumping or disturbing the nose as it heals. Doing so can prolong recovery, cause pain, and even move the nose out of alignment. For at least one to two months after undergoing a nose job, avoid strenuous exercise, especially activities that could cause a blow to the nose.

Follow doctor's orders

The splints or tape applied by the surgeon at the end of the procedure will help the nose heal in the correct position by applying slight pressure. Your doctor may instruct you to replace the tape as needed. In other cases, this is done at the follow-up appointment, during which time the sutures will also be removed. Do not remove the splints or tape until your doctor has advised you to do so. Even after the splints have been removed, the nose will continue to settle. The final results of your surgery can be seen six months to a year after the surgery.


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