Why Your Rhinoplasty Recovery Is So Important

The nose is a vital part of your facial structure. It influences facial symmetry and balance, and it can enhance or detract from your other features depending on whether it accentuates your face properly. If you want to achieve the perfect nose to bring balance to your face, you might be a good candidate for a rhinoplasty — also called nose surgery or a “nose job.” Choosing rhinoplasty surgery can be an amazing way to rediscover your self-confidence and fall back in love with your appearance.

But just like any surgical procedure, cosmetic or otherwise, rhinoplasty comes with a recovery period. Since your nose is so delicate and sensitive, this process can be awkward and uncomfortable at times — some patients are unable to blow their nose; others find that they bump or itch their nose much more often than they thought. But it is important to be aware of the different stages of rhinoplasty recovery so that you can care for yourself and your new nose as it settles into your face. The key to a successful rhinoplasty and a nose you love is ensuring that you take plenty of time to heal and that you keep in touch with your surgeon every step of the way.

Your First Three Days

You will be particularly sensitive in the first few days post-op. Most rhinoplasty patients require prescription pain medications for three or four days to help them manage their discomfort, but you will be able to switch to ibuprofen or Tylenol soon afterward. You should spend these days resting and avoiding physical activity or day-to-day responsibilities; you should relax, keep your head elevated and try not to touch your nose. You should also be sure to stay hydrated and eat healthy foods. Avoiding salty, high-sodium foods can be especially helpful in reducing initial swelling.

If at any point you develop pain that is not controlled by your prescribed medications, a fever, intense swelling or excessive bleeding, you should contact your surgeon or seek emergency care right away. You should also contact your surgeon if you incur any injuries to your nose, as your surgeon may need to take corrective actions very soon.

Your First Week

You will have a follow-up appointment scheduled about seven days after your rhinoplasty procedure. At this point, you should be transitioned off of prescription medications for your pain and noticing that swelling and bruising have begun to subside. At this one-week appointment, your surgeon will remove your bandaging or splints. Some patients have nasal packing, which is gauze inserted through the nasal passages into the sinuses, that also comes out at this point. This is usually an immense relief, as it once again allows you to breathe through your nose and reduces any sensations of stuffiness and congestion. Many patients find that the first week of recovery with bandaging in place is the time where they feel the most discomfort and feel unsure about their progress. Rest assured that bruising and swelling are normal during this time and that any pain and sensitivity will continue to improve after your bandages are removed.

This first week can be difficult, and we encourage you to give our office a call at any point if you have questions or concerns. We are here to help reassure you that what you are experiencing is normal and to offer suggestions to help keep you as comfortable as possible. This is also the most important stage of your recovery as it is the time when the majority of your healing is set in motion. It is essential that you are careful not to excessively bump or injure your new nose to avoid interfering with your final results. We often recommend that our patients stay away from work or daily responsibilities during this first week, though recovery time before you are cleared for light activity varies depending on the patient and their particular procedure.

Three Weeks and Beyond

The three-week point is typically when all initial healing has occurred and patients can see the shape of their new nose. Bruising and swelling have all but disappeared at this point, and any sensitivity will have returned to normal. You may continue to experience moments of pain or have some days when you might feel more swollen or sensitive, but this will improve over time. Usually, the 6-month mark is when any residual concerns like this have faded completely.

After three weeks of healing, your surgeon will likely clear you to return to all normal activities including exercise. At this point, it is best to listen to your body — if you have a day where you feel more sensitive, avoid anything that may cause harm to your nose; otherwise, your risk of impacting your results is low barring serious nasal injuries.

Although you’ll be able to get a good feeling for how your new nose looks at just three weeks after surgery, it can take up to 2 years for your results to appear completely. Tiny, almost imperceptible changes continue to happen as any scarring fades, your skin adjusts to its new shape and your bone structure settles in to place. The tip of the nose especially can take a while to fully reform. For this reason, unless there is an obvious problem, most surgeons recommend waiting a year or two after your initial surgery before seeking a revision if you are unhappy with your results.

Rhinoplasty Revision

If after your initial recovery period has ended you believe that you are in need of a rhinoplasty revision surgery, you should reach out to your plastic surgeon to discuss your concerns. You can also feel free to schedule a consultation with a different plastic surgeon — rhinoplasty revisions are slightly different than regular rhinoplasty procedures because there is typically less skin and structure to work with, so the surgeon who performed your first procedure may not be as experienced in revisions. Dr. Jabor and Dr. Reynolds of the Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Centers of El Paso are trained in both rhinoplasties and rhinoplasty revisions, and are always available to help you address your concerns and determine if a rhinoplasty revision is necessary.

Contact The Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Centers of El Paso

If you are interested in nose surgery in the El Paso, Texas area, let our team guide you through the surgery and recovery process. Dr. Jabor and Dr. Reynolds, our expert plastic surgeons, are highly trained and experienced in performing facial surgeries like rhinoplasties. We always help our patients throughout their recovery, providing plenty of helpful tips and information and ensuring they feel as safe and comfortable as possible. We want you to love your results, and we know that the best way to accomplish that is by providing top-quality surgeries and procedures and giving you all the tools you need to heal quickly and without complications. To learn more about nose surgery at our Eastside and Westside locations in El Paso, contact us today at (915) 855-7800 or (915) 543-5600 respectively.

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