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Nasal Surgery Recovery

At the completion of surgery, a small protective adhesive dressing and splint are applied to the nose. Although a drip dressing is applied, which obstructs the nostrils, note again that we do not ordinarily “pack” the nose after surgery. Patients, therefore, are more comfortable and generally less swollen. With the elimination of nasal packing, pain, swelling, bleeding, discoloration, etc., are dramatically reduced, making the recovery period much more pleasant.

The external protective splint and tape are to remain in place for one week. There will be some swelling, bruising, and nasal congestion following surgery, but most patients tell us that the operation is absolutely painless.

Patients may wear glasses during the first week as long as they rest on the splint. After that, glasses must be supported from the forehead or cheeks for a period of about 4 weeks. We will show you how this is to be done if you must wear them. This is important, because the pressure of the glasses could change the new contour of the nose. Contact lenses may be inserted the day after surgery.

You may clean the outside of the nose and the upper lip with cotton-tipped applicators (Q-tips) moistened with hydrogen peroxide as soon as you return home from the clinic or surgery center, but do not rub too vigorously. After one week, the inside of the nostrils may be gently cleaned with an antibiotic ointment applied with a Q-tip. The ointment helps soften crusts and usually makes the inside of the nose feel better. This may be continued for several weeks.

When the dressings are first removed, the nose appears turned up due to the effects of the bandage and swelling of the tissues. Therefore, the patient who expects to see a perfectly shaped nose as soon as the dressings are removed may suffer keen disappointment. Some additional swelling disappears within 3 or 4 days after removal of the bandage, and the nose begins to resemble its eventual shape. The average acquaintance met on the street would probably not notice any swelling.

It generally takes at least one year for the last bit of swelling to disappear; this does not usually bother the patient nor distract from the appearance of the nose. Rather, the elements of the nose seem to have improved “definition” as the last bit of swelling subsides. This is especially true in the tip of the nose.

In like manner, the tissues inside the nose are somewhat swollen after surgery. Therefore, progressively decreasing amounts of nasal blockage should be expected for a time following the average uncomplicated nasal surgery.

Patients who have very oily skin may use rubbing alcohol and cotton balls to remove excess oils from the nasal skin for 2-3 days after the dressings have been removed.

You are advised to sleep with the head of your bed elevated for 2 weeks to help minimize swelling. You must not lift heavy objects or exercise for 2 weeks, as bleeding risk is increased during this time.

Please also avoid hitting or bumping your new nose. It is wise not to pick up small children, and you should sleep alone for 2 weeks after your operation. Forceful sniffing, nose blowing, and nose rubbing must be avoided for the first week as well.

The upper lip is a key area in rhinoplasty surgery since work is frequently done there. You should not move it excessively as long as the bandage is in place so that the healing tissues are not disturbed. Avoid smiling and eating foods that require excessive chewing. Lipstick should be applied carefully, and teeth should be brushed with this in mind as well.

Remember, that the nasal surgery was performed for improvements; perfection is almost never achieved.

Contact the New Orleans Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery today to find out more about expert rhinoplasty.