Whether you had rhinoplasty to surgically improve the appearance of your nose or you needed to solve a breathing problem, you’ll need time to recover when your procedure is over. While every patient heals at their own pace, there are steps you can take to support your body as it heals.
What should you expect after rhinoplasty?
After your surgery, your nose will be covered in bandages and protected by a splint. You’ll also have a gauze bandage taped underneath your nose to catch any drainage. These bandages generally stay in place for at least a week.
As you’d expect following surgery, you’ll have temporary pain, swelling, and possibly some bruising. On the positive side, by the time your bandages and splint are removed, your post-op swelling and bruising should also be gone.
Dr. Cecil Yeung at Houston Sinus Surgery offers these tips for speeding your recovery:
Stick to your post-op instructions
One of the best ways to speed your recovery is to be diligent about following your post-op self-care instructions. They’re carefully designed to protect your nose and promote your recovery with simple directions, such as keeping your head elevated while you sleep and avoiding sun exposure after the bandages are removed. Getting a sunburn on your nose causes swelling and delays your overall recovery.
Plan for your recovery time
Your first priority after surgery is to give yourself time to heal. Even though rhinoplasty is a simple procedure compared to other major surgeries, it still causes trauma and stress. You need time to recuperate during the week following your procedure.
You may not be able to step away from all your responsibilities, but with advanced planning, you can make your recovery week as calm and activity-free as possible. Here are a few ideas:
Stock your pantry
Whether you live alone or you’re responsible for children, a partner, or others in your household, plan meals ahead of time and stock your pantry with everything you’ll need for a week. Don’t forget to include plenty of water, tea, and other non-alcoholic beverages — it’s important to stay hydrated during your recovery.
Step away from stress
Give your friends, family, and coworkers a heads-up that you’re officially on rest-and-relaxation for a week. Adjust your phone alerts so you only get the ones that are necessary. Your goal is to limit demands placed on your time, especially if they’re likely to increase stress. Stress has a significantly negative impact on healing.
Plan for a babysitter or pet-sitter
It’s important to limit your activities during your week of recovery, so be sure you have someone to help with the kids or walk the dog.
You’ll need to limit your activities to prevent bleeding. Gentle walking and visiting with friends is great for your body, mood, and recovery, but all strenuous activities should be avoided. Your body uses a significant amount of energy to heal following surgery. If you don’t rest, you may experience a setback and lengthen your recovery time.
If you smoke cigarettes, put them away for at least two weeks. Smoking significantly delays healing and increases the risk of complications.
Eat a balanced diet
As your nose heals from surgery, your body regenerates multiple types of tissues, such as blood vessels, connective tissues, and skin. If you want to maximize your recovery, you’ll need:
Your body needs extra energy to repair wounds and regenerate tissues, so don’t suddenly cut back on calories because you’re worried about a week of inactivity.
A protein deficiency slows down healing.
Vitamins and minerals
The key nutrients for healing are vitamin C, vitamin A, the B vitamins, zinc, and iron. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, orange or yellow vegetables, and fortified cereals help supply these essential nutrients.
You may have a hard time taking it easy for a week, but taking care of yourself — resting, eating well, avoiding stress, and following your post-op instructions — can speed up your recovery.
The quicker you heal, the sooner you’ll see the exceptional results of your rhinoplasty.