After your rhinoplasty, you will experience some swelling and bruising of the face. This is an unavoidable part of your recovery, and while these symptoms will naturally subside with time, there are some steps you can take to help speed up your recovery.
Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline
On average, your rhinoplasty recovery will follow the following timeline:
One week post-surgery: Your splint can be removed, and most noticeable signs of surgery will have subsided. However, there will likely still be some swelling and bruising around the eyes.
Two weeks post-surgery: Most swelling and bruising will be resolved.
Three to four weeks post-surgery: More intense cardiovascular activity, such as cycling and running, can be reintegrated into your daily routine.
Six weeks post-surgery: Since your bones will have stabilized, you can resume wearing eyeglasses and blowing your nose.
Three to six months post-surgery: Any abnormal sensations you experienced on or around your nose will have disappeared.
One year post-surgery: Your healing process is complete.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions
While there is plenty of information available online about how to best recover from your rhinoplasty, the best advice you will receive will be from your plastic surgeon. Follow this advice closely, and don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification, or contact the office with any concerns you have during your recovery period.
Your doctor will be able to advise on what types of medications you can take to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort you may experience following your surgery, and will be able to prescribe medication to help make your healing process more comfortable (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, is generally not recommended in the weeks immediately following your surgery).
Use Cold Compresses
Cold compresses can be applied to your face to help alleviate any pain you are experiencing following your rhinoplasty surgery and help reduce swelling. However, cold compresses should never be applied directly to the nose, as this may compromise your surgery’s results. Instead, apply the compress to your cheeks or your eyes.
To make a cold compress, wrap ice or an ice pack in a soft cloth, and apply it gently to your face. Do not apply ice or an ice pack directly to your skin, as this can lead to frostbite and other skin damage.
Get Plenty of Rest
You will be eager to resume your daily activities following your rhinoplasty procedure, but getting plenty of rest is key to ensuring a speedy, complication-free recovery. When sleeping or lying down, try propping your head up on extra pillows. You may also consider using a travel pillow, which wraps around your neck to keep your head elevated while you are reclined.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Since protein is an essential building block of cartilage, muscle, and skin, eating plenty of proteins following your surgery can help speed up your recovery by encouraging your body to rebuild the tissue damaged during your rhinoplasty procedure. Vitamin C, which helps your body produce collagen, should also be a part of your diet, so consider citrus fruits and vegetables such as brussels sprouts and broccoli. Vitamin A, meanwhile, is a good immune booster, and can help your body avoid post-surgery infections. Dark, leafy greens, yellow fruits, and oily fish are good sources of Vitamin A.
Heat will cause the tissues in and around your nose to swell, which can lengthen your recovery time. If the weather is hot after you’ve had your procedure, avoid spending too much time outside, and don’t take long, hot showers or baths. You should also avoid hot tubs or saunas.
Don’t Blow Your Nose
While it is unlikely that you will be able to completely avoid sneezing and coughing in the weeks following your surgery, it is best to steer clear of anything that will irritate your nose or lungs. Do not smoke or expose yourself to cigarette smoke or other airborne irritants following your rhinoplasty, such as perfumes, pollen, or construction dust. You may want to consider using a humidifier in your home, which can help to prevent the irritation that can lead to sneezing or coughing.
In addition, it is best to avoid blowing your nose. You will experience some congestion in the weeks following your surgery, but blowing your nose to relieve this pressure can result in a longer recovery time. Consider using a saline spray to relieve the feeling of congestion you are experiencing until your swelling subsides more fully.
Avoid Exercise As Much As Possible
Keeping fit and active is an important part of any post-surgery recovery, strenuous exercise that raises your blood pressure significantly may exacerbate or increase swelling. You can still engage in physical activity in the weeks immediately following your surgery, but try more leisurely activities, such as walking or gentle yoga, until your swelling has subsided. In addition, it is best to avoid any resistance exercises, such as weight lifting.
Avoid Wearing Glasses
Prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, and goggles put pressure on the nasal bridge, which can lengthen your recovery time and compromise the final results of your surgery. Wearing eyewear too soon after your surgery can affect your results so much that a revision rhinoplasty may be necessary. Your surgeon may be able to provide you with a protective face guard or splint if it is essential for you to wear prescription eyeglasses after your surgery.
Stay Out of the Sun
Your nose is more susceptible to sunburns immediately following your rhinoplasty. In addition, the sun can cause any scarring you have experienced following your rhinoplasty to darken and become more noticeable following your recovery.
Nicotine inhibits blood flow, which interferes with your body’s healing process. In addition, the irritation from smoking may result in the need to cough or sneeze, which can affect your surgery results and lengthen your recovery time.
Cold compresses, rest, and good health and nutrition practises will encourage your swelling to subside and should result in a smooth, complication-free recovery. If you have any additional concerns, your surgeon will be able to make recommendations on how to ensure you heal comfortably so you can enjoy the results of your rhinoplasty as soon as possible.