When a patient undergoes a rhinoplasty, there is usually some bruising, swelling, and downtime associated with the procedure. This usually takes about two weeks. Luckily, there are a few tips that can help make the healing process a little easier.
1. Follow Doctor’s Orders Carefully
It can seem tempting sometimes to rush recovery or be casual about following post-op instructions. However, even if it seems like the healing process is going smoothly, issues can arise as swelling subsides, especially if the area is not cared for properly. Patients should take care to follow all of their doctor’s orders as closely as possible.
2. Stick to a Low-Salt Diet
In the weeks following the rhinoplasty, patients should avoid eating foods that are high in salt. High-sodium diets cause water retention, which can increase swelling, resulting in discomfort. Patients should be sure to drink plenty of water, too.
3. Sleep Upright for a Few Nights
Staying upright has several benefits. First, it will help keep swelling to a minimum, which will reduce pain during the recovery. Secondly, being upright will keep blood from pooling in the nasal area, which can increase bruising.
4. Apply Regular Compresses
Cold compresses should not be applied directly to the nose, as any excess pressure can disrupt the healing process. Instead, a chilled gel pack or ice packet wrapped in clothes can be placed gently on the patient’s closed eyes to soothe pain and relieve swelling, especially for the first 24 hours after the surgery.
5. Use a Humidifier
After a rhinoplasty procedure, the doctor will insert nasal packing into the nasal cavity, which makes it impossible to breathe through the nose. This packing stays in place for anywhere from five to seven days. Many patients experience dry mouth during this period. A humidifier placed in the recovery area can help keep that dryness from becoming uncomfortable.
6. Stock up on Nasal Mist
Although each doctor will have his or her own instructions, many recommend the use of a saline mist spray several times a day, starting as soon as the packing is removed. This natural recovery aid will help keep scabs to a minimum, which can sometimes increase discomfort.
7. Avoid Strenuous Activities
Patients should receive thorough instructions from their doctor about when they can resume physical activity. In most cases, any strenuous lifting or vigorous exercise should be avoided for about three to four weeks following the procedure, as these can cause bleeding.
8. Be Mindful of Kids and Pets
Most re-injuries of the nose come from small children and animals, as they do not know to be as careful. Kids and pets should be supervised, and no roughhousing should be permitted.
With these tips and the care of a qualified, experienced surgeon, much of the pain and discomfort from a routine rhinoplasty should be alleviated. Pain and swelling will typically peak the second day after surgery and then subside gradually. Final results may not be achieved for up to a year after a rhinoplasty. Of course, if the patient is experiencing a sudden spike in pain, excessive bleeding, or any other complications, they should contact their physician immediately.