If you're thinking about having rhinoplasty surgery, you're probably wondering what to expect once the surgery is over. Your surgeon will tell you about the surgical procedure and recovery process, but even so, you'll probably wish you were better prepared to handle some of the smaller details. Here are some things you want to know about recovering from nose surgery.
Stuffy Nose and Congestion
You know how miserable it is when you have a stuffy nose with a head cold, but that's nothing compared to the stuffiness you'll experience after a rhinoplasty. Your nose will be packed with a dressing and swollen after the surgery. With your nose totally blocked, you won't be able to breathe through your nostrils or smell and hear properly. There is nothing you can do about it; in fact, you won't even be allowed to blow your nose at first. While you'll get the dressing removed in a few days, it will take about two weeks for the swelling to go down.
Since your nose will be blocked, you'll breathe through your mouth all the time. It won't take long for your mouth and throat to become dry and sore. You can buy a vaporizer for your home to add humidity to the air. It also helps to suck on ice chips or hard candy frequently to stimulate saliva.
It's also more difficult to eat with a blocked nose. You have to breathe and chew at the same time through your mouth. For that reason, you may want to stock your pantry with soft foods and foods you can blend into a smoothie.
Pain and Bruising
Your nose and eyes will have significant bruising after the surgery. The bruises may make you appear to be in more pain than you actually are. Your doctor will probably send you home with a prescription for pain killers. As long as you are careful, you may be able to manage the pain very well without the need for pain medication beyond the first few days. Just avoid situations where your nose will be bumped. You'll be surprised at how often you bump your nose every day. You don't even notice it now, but you will when it causes you pain. If you have kids or pets, be very watchful for quick movements from them that could lead to your nose being hit.
You may want to sleep alone so you don't get bumped in the night. You might even need to change the type of clothes you wear. Avoid shirts that pull over your head and wear those that button instead. Of course, you'll need to limit your activities, too. Contact sports are off limits until you heal. Anything that makes you strain, such as lifting a heavy object, should also be avoided. Your doctor may even tell you to change your diet so you avoid straining with constipation.
Plan on taking at least 7–10 days off work for your surgery. Although you'll still have swelling and bruising, you can cover bruises with cosmetics so they are not obvious. While you'll gradually resume more activities as your surgery further heals, it may be many months until the swelling is completely gone and your nose assumes its final shape. If you have more questions or concerns about rhinoplasty, contact a doctor, such as one from William M. Parell, MD, PSC, for more information.