So, you’ve booked in for your rhinoplasty and now you’re wondering, what happens after the surgery? Well, your surgeon’s hard work is almost done, but now it’s your turn to ensure the best possible recovery for yourself, and your new nose.
Post-operative care is critical in avoiding unnecessary pain and complications associated with infection and swelling. You can take advantage of the positive changes associated with a rhinoplasty by paying close attention to your recovery. Here are our top five tips to achieving the best results.
Pay close attention to your doctor
We know you will do your own research, getting surgery is a major decision. However, the most important tip to ensuring the best result for your personal recovery, is following your doctors’ instructions and advice. You will receive personalised and specific direction on medications, care and follow-up details. We recommend taking notes and writing down questions where you are unclear so you can remember to ask them. If something doesn’t feel right, be sure to alert your doctor too.
You’re likely to feel somewhat congested following your procedure, making sleep slightly more difficult, but having a plan for rest is vital. Your body uses energy to heal itself, so getting a solid seven – eight hours of sleep should be your number one goal.
Be sure to sleep on your back with your head elevated for at least six weeks post-surgery. Sleeping on your side will not only be uncomfortable, but you also risk displacing your nose. Try to prop yourself up with two or three pillows, or sleep in a recliner to achieve this. If you know you’re one to toss and turn, try to keep your head in place with a travel pillow or by surrounding yourself with rolled up towels.
Avoid anything too strenuous
Vigorous exercise is not recommended for at least the first 6 weeks. Allow your body to heal and avoid putting any extra pressure on your nose, it’s likely you won’t feel up to it for a short while anyway.
It is likely that you will experience congestion because of swollen nasal tissues, which can make it very tempting to blow your nose. Please resist the urge to blow your nose for at least the first six weeks too. Avoiding unnecessary, powerful movements is important to ensure you don’t do any damage to your fragile nasal passages and slow down your recovery time. As for sneezing, we know you can’t just choose not to do it so try instead to sneeze through your mouth.
Other strains you may not have considered include those you experience when lifting or going to the bathroom. So, try to stay relaxed and take this as a time to heal.
Avoid wearing glasses
That includes sunglasses, reading glasses and prescription glasses. Your surgeon will advise when its safe to don the glasses again, and we will provide a splint to facilitate this if necessary. Switching to contacts, or at least the very lightest frames, avoids putting any extra pressure on the recovering nose that may aggravate it.
Heat dilates or opens your blood vessels, which increases blood flow and therefore swelling, making recovery a little more difficult. Avoid long soaks in the bath, warm showers and hot soup and instead opt for cool salads, air conditioning, and turn down the temp, just a little, at shower time.
Ice is an important addition to effective healing. Immediately after surgery a cold compress can be applied, not to the nose where pressure should be avoided, but to the cheeks to help reduce swelling. We have also found frozen peas a great, moldable option later in your recovery.
While you’re staying cool, try and relax into your recovery. With any surgery, the best thing you can bring to your recovery is patience. Every individual’s journey is different so try and set yourself up for success with thorough preparation, support from friends and family and trust for the doctor you choose. That way, when it comes to some of the more difficult parts of recovery, you avoid stress and make the process as smooth as possible for yourself.
Choosing to have plastic surgery is a serious personal decision and undertaking. Please be mindful that any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. If you’re ready to schedule your first consultation, get in touch with Dr. Mark Lee here.