Before you decide to have a rhinoplasty, it’s important to understand what the surgery can and can’t do for you. It’s also key to get an idea of what your life will be like after the surgery. Like most surgeries, there is some downtime needed after rhinoplasty. Knowing what to expect in terms of your appearance and understanding what you can and can’t do during recovery will help you make the most informed decision about rhinoplasty.
During the First Week After Rhinoplasty
The first few days after rhinoplasty involve a number of adjustments. Your nose will be far from looking “finished” at this point. In fact, you might not be able to see it at all, since you’re likely to be wearing a splint during the first week. Even after the splint is removed, you will have some bruising and swelling in the area which often obscures the nose’s new shape. Bruising or dark circles under the eyes are also common during the first week or so after rhinoplasty.
If you’re concerned about the swelling or bruising, cold compresses can help to reduce their severity and might help you feel better. Keeping your head elevated will also help with the swelling. You’ll want to sleep with your head propped up on at least a few pillows at night. When you’re relaxing during the day, keep your head up. A recliner can be a comfortable chair to sit in while you recover. It will also help to keep your head at the proper angle.
It’s not uncommon to feel some discomfort after your surgery. Your surgeon will most likely prescribe you pain medication to take for any discomfort. Take the medicine as directed and be careful not to drive if it makes you drowsy or groggy.
During the First Month After Rhinoplasty
Many people return to work or other daily activities after about a week. If you have a physically taxing job, you might need to take more time off.
While you can resume light activities like walking a few days after surgery, you’re going to want to hold off on more challenging or physically stressful activities. Wait about a month or so after rhinoplasty before you head to the gym again or resume any strenuous workouts.
You may also want to avoid any sort of movement or activity that puts pressure or strain on the nose. Even eating certain foods, like steak, might be too chewy during the first few weeks after surgery. You’ll also want to avoid blowing your nose after rhinoplasty. It’s best to wait until you get the all clear from your surgeon.
During that first month after surgery, you might find that you need to make some adjustments to your fashion sense and accessory choices. Glasses are usually a no-go, as they put weight on the bridge of your nose. If you need glasses to see, try wearing contacts until you can wear glasses again. Another option is to tape your glasses to your face, just above the nose. It won’t be the most stylish look, but it will be better than not being able to see or compromising your results.
To avoid bumping your nose while you get dressed, switch to button-front shirts instead of pullovers. Your surgeon will let you know when it’s OK to start wearing t-shirts and other pullover style shirts again.
During the First Year After Rhinoplasty
Although many people see significant improvements in the appearance of their nose within a few months after rhinoplasty, it could be a full year, or in some cases, longer, before you see the final results of your surgery. Residual swelling can persist for many months. You’re most likely going to be back to all your normal activities within the first few months after your surgery, but you can expect to continue to see subtle changes in your nose’s appearance for some time after that.
Dr. Shervin Naderi specializes in performing rhinoplasty at his practice in Virginia. To learn more about what to expect after rhinoplasty, call 703-481-0002 (Reston, VA Office) or 301-222-2020 (Chevy Chase, MD). You can also contact us online for more information.