Nasal Surgery - What to Expect Afterwards

What to Expect Afterwards

NASAL PACKING/CAST/STITCHES- Most patients have a small amount of nasal packing initially after surgery, which is easily removed in the office. If changes were made to the appearance of the nose, a plastic waterproof cast is placed over the bridge; this remains in place for one week after surgery. Usually, flesh-colored tape is placed over the bridge (to reduce swelling) for the second week after surgery. All stitches used are dissolvable, except if an "open" approach is used. In that case, 5-7 stitches are removed from the area below the nasal tip around one week after surgery.

ACTIVITY AFTER SURGERY- In order to allow your tissues to heal properly, we ask that you refrain from brisk physical activity for one week. Walking and non-physical activities are allowed, but it is best not to exercise for the first week. After the first week, aerobics, running, stair climbing, exercise bicycling and treadmills are permitted, but weight lifting (free weights or machines) should not be done until after the end of the second week after surgery. However, once the effects of the anesthetics have worn off, it is not necessary to remain in bed or at home.

While we ask that you keep the nasal cast dry, you may shower while it is in place. Should the cast become wet, use a blow dryer (set on "cool") to lightly dry the cast.

SWELLING - Nasal swelling is expected and may not be really noticeable until after the splint is removed. Much of the swelling resolves in the first 10- 14 days, and most subsides in 4- 6 weeks. The swelling usually resolves in a "top- to- bottom" fashion, with nasal tip swelling taking the longest to subside. Subtle swelling (so little that you will notice changes on a "month-to-month", rather than a "day-to-day," basis) may persist for 6- 12 months.

BREATHING- Nasal breathing may be more difficult immediately after surgery due to swelling inside the nose. This "stuffiness" will subside gradually in 4-6 days after surgery, and IS NOT improved with decongestant nasal sprays. These sprays may actually cause damage to the nose, impair healing and SHOULD NOT be used. Saline (Salt-water) sprays may be used if desired, beginning one day after surgery. Do not blow your nose for the first week after surgery, as this may provoke a nose bleed.

BRUISING- Bruises following nasal surgery usually manifest themselves as "black eyes". In order to limit bruising and swelling, ice compresses should be applied over the forehead, both cheeks and eyelids for the first 24- 36 hours after surgery. Compresses should be applied for 20 minutes at a time, with 20 minutes before reapplying. Also, homeopathic medications Arnica Montana and Bromelain may limit bruising and swelling. This is best started at least 1 week before surgery and continued for 3 weeks; check with your doctor before using these. Most bruising will disappear in 5-7 days, with the rest resolving in 2 weeks. This may be concealed with makeup if desired.

BLEEDING - Bloody stained drainage is common in the first 48 hours after surgery, and does not represent significant bleeding. Blood- tinged nasal mucus may persist for 1- 2 weeks following surgery. Profuse bleeding is unusual. Should this occur, pinch the base of the nose against the bone above the upper teeth firmly for 10 minutes without interruption. If this does not stop the bleeding, call our office immediately.

ITCHING/NUMBNESS- Itching, numbness and a "wooden" feeling to the nose are common after rhinoplasty. All of these do subside, although it may take a few months for your nose to feel completely "normal".

PAIN/DISCOMFORT- As surprising as it may sound, most patients experience little discomfort after nasal surgery. Most complain of a headache and nasal congestion on the night after surgery. Once nasal packing is removed the day after surgery, this discomfort resolves, and patients usually manage their pain with Tylenol.