Rhinoplasty Recovery: Healing Stages and Recovery Timeline
Rhinoplasty is one of the most sought-after cosmetic and plastic surgery around the world. But it is not a simple one. Performing a good rhinoplasty is like sculpting but with modern tools. This plastic surgery requires the expertise of an experienced and reputable plastic surgeon otherwise the results can go irreversibly wrong for the patient.
Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure it can help improve the structure, and shape of the nose and causes an impact on the facial aesthetics and functional functions of the nose. The nose job has many benefits and rhinoplasty aftercare plays an important role in ensuring that you get the maximum benefits. If you too have been thinking of getting rhinoplasty done then understanding the recovery time, healing stages, and expected recovery is an important aspect. It is completely normal to ask as many questions as you want.
For a surgical rhinoplasty procedure, the complete healing time is about 12 months to eighteen months which may seem like quite a long time. But healing happens in stages and you must understand what stage does what. Nose job recovery also depends on the type of nose surgery done. For every person the nose job recovery rate is different. For example, if your skin is thick it can take up to 2 years to see the full result of the rhinoplasty It takes about 6-12 weeks for the swelling to come down and it is usually the tip of the nose where the swelling goes down the last. Also, revision rhinoplasty patient needs a slightly longer recovery time.
Rhinoplasty aftercare including a rhinoplasty recovery diet plays an important role in boosting the healing procedure and getting the desired results. Taking proper rest and eating a good idea essential components for rhinoplasty recovery day by day. Recovery post-rhinoplasty surgery depends on how well the individual follows the doctor’s instructions. The key is to relax as much as you can in the initial days. Here is a general rhinoplasty recovery timeline for an average patient.
Prepping for the nose job
A good recovery post rhinoplasty surgery starts with good prep work before the surgery. Your surgeon will give you a list of instructions with dos and don’ts to prepare for the surgery. listen to the details carefully. Post-surgery you will not be able to drive and will need somebody to stay with you for a day or two. Other things that will help include
- Avoid certain prescription medications or OTC medicines that you might be taking that can cause excess bleeding. These include vitamin E, aspirin etc.
- Stop smoking at least 2 weeks before the surgery. Smoking includes nicotine and it can use an adverse effect on the blood vessels limiting the oxygen supply. This hampers the healing process post-surgery.
- You will have to sleep semi-upright for a few days to control the swelling therefore make sure you have a wedge pillow or neck pillow at home.
- Go through your wardrobe and keep some front button shirts handy to wear on the day of the surgery and during the initial recovery period.
- Cut down on alcohol and caffeine.
- Keep a good supply of cough drops, sanitizer, nasal spray, light ice packs, baby wipes, etc. to keep the infection away and prevent cold and cough from delaying rhinoplasty recovery.
On the day of the surgery
Your nose job recovery actually begins the moment you come out of the OT and move to the recovery room. In the early hours, you might not feel much sensation but slowly it will return. Depending on the type of rhinoplasty done on you the surgeon might place a drip pad under the nostrils to catch the blood or place packing in the nose. Slight congestion and pressure around the nose are common. On the day of surgery post the procedure
- Take pain medications as needed
- Once the packing is removed you need to keep the incision clean by using the ointment the doctor has given.
- If your throat feels raw you can drink water but avoid any acidic drinks.
- Stick to eating soft foods for the first few days post-rhinoplasty surgery
- Stay away from the sun for the next two months
Your face might feel sore and you might not be able to breathe through the nose which is quite normal. Keep sipping water whenever your throat feels dry. Don’t try to move too much and sleep as much as you can.
1-4 days post nose job
You are on your way to full-nose job recovery. The first 1-4 days are the most uncomfortable. It might feel like you have a cold with a congested nose. The surgeon will remove the packing in 4 days. Probably you cannot smell anything. If the pain gets out of hand, then call the surgeon immediately. Take regular medications and do regular nasal irrigation to make yourself feel better.
- Don’t try to move or touch or jerk your nose.
- Sleep upright to minimize swelling
- You can do a light activity like walking around the house and doing some chores but don’t bend or try to lift anything
- Don’t blow your nose
- You can use light ice packs around the cheeks and forehead for 15 minutes at a stretch max. Don’t press on the areas around the nose.
In the second-week post rhinoplasty
If the surgeon has placed a nasal splint, it will be removed. You still need to avoid blowing your nose as it could damage the incision. You will be able to notice the changes in the size and shape of the nose. but the nasal tip, and skin of the lips and cheeks might still be swollen and stiff. You might think this is not the shape I asked for but don’t fret it is quite common, just keep in mind that the final result is still weeks away. Have patience for the swelling and unevenness to go down.
- The pain is considerably less and you can travel by flight if you want.
- You can start going to the office but strenuous activities should still be avoided.
- Any residual bruising can be easily covered with makeup
- If you have had an open rhinoplasty or a septoplasty then you might be asked to do a complete rest for two weeks.
Week three to six of nose job recovery
Good news! You can wear your glasses again but only for short period. If you have to wear them for a long then ask the surgeon how to use the tape to avoid pressure on the nasal bones, and sidewalls.
- There will be a significant decrease in swelling and discomfort.
- You can see a more defined nose shape
- You can start moderate exercising but be careful of sun exposure
- Ask your surgeon about the exercise you can do because exercises increase blood pressure and cause swelling, both of which you don’t want.
- Avoid contact sports
2-3 months into rhinoplasty recovery
There will be barely any noticeable swelling although the tip might be a little numb which is quite normal. If there is a scar it will start to face and you will be able to see the new nose quite clearly.
3-4 months after surgery
This is the time when the nose takes its final shape. The changes are slow but they are there. You should not have any swelling and the nose contours should appear clearly defined. You can now compare the before and after photos. See your doctor for a follow-up and discuss your outcome. It is time to enjoy the compliments that the new nose brings to your face.
6 moths to 1-2 years post nose job recovery
There is no swelling or pain or any indication of surgery. Subtle changes are still happening in your nose. Full breathing function is back to normal and your face has symmetry and balance. You can go back to exercising, working out, and normal travel and work activities.
Be mindful that any injury or trauma can still cause the nose shape to alter. There are several things that can disrupt the timeline such as
- Thicker skin texture
- Revision surgery
- Extensive and dramatic reconstruction
- Oily skin
- Bruise prone skin
What to eat for rhinoplasty recovery?
What you eat will go a long way in helping with the recovery or delaying the recovery. Therefore, choose your food wisely.
- For the first 24 hours post nose surgery eat bland diets with more proteins and carbohydrates. Stay hydrated.
- First-week post rhinoplasty opts for easy-to-chew and digest food such as yogurt, oatmeal, porridge etc.
- You can start the regular diet after the second week of recovery as long as they don’t cause any discomfort.
Avoid the following foods
- Spicy foods
- High sodium foods
By following the doctor’s instructions and taking basic care you will have a great recovery.
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