Risks with Rhinoplasty
There is a possibility of contour irregularities, but these usually resolve with time. Occasionally, a minor secondary procedure is necessary. Rarely are friends and associates able to tell that surgery has been done. This seems hard to believe, but it is true for two reasons. A natural, non–surgical appearance is achieved and others do not clearly remember that a deformity existed.
After your surgery
After surgery – particularly during the first twenty–four hours– the patient’s face will feel puffy, the nose may ache, and may have a dull headache. The patient can control any discomfort with the pain medication prescribed by the doctor. He should plan on staying in bed with the head elevated (except for going to the bathroom) for the first day.The swelling and bruising around the eyes will increase at first, reaching a peak after two or three days. Applying cold compresses will reduce the swelling and make the patient feel a bit better. The surgeon may use a cool gel mask to gently cool the tissues. In any case, you’ll feel a lot better than you look. Most of the swelling and bruising should disappear within two weeks or so. (Some subtle swelling – unnoticeable to anyone but the patient and the doctor –will remain for several months.)A little bleeding is common during the first few days following surgery, and the patient may continue to feel some stuffiness for several weeks. It is advisable not to blow the nose for a week or so, while the tissues heal.If there is any nasal packing, it will be removed after a few days and the patient will feel much more comfortable. By the end of one or, occasionally, two weeks, all dressings, splints, and stitches should be removed.
The minimal discomfort most patients experience after surgery is easily controlled with mild analgesics. A cast is placed on the nose for approximately six days. In the immediate postoperative period, the patient receives medication for swelling and is instructed to place ice on the eyes to keep swelling to a minimum. In most cases, there will be some swelling and bruising around the eyes, lasting six to ten days. When the cast is removed, nasal swelling is present, but this generally goes down quickly and is not obvious to others. However, depending upon the amount of work necessary and the thickness of the skin, the final shape of the nose is not achieved for several months. There will be some stuffiness and nasal obstruction for a short time after surgery, accompanied by a temporary decrease in sensation of the nasal skin. Strenuous activities should be avoided for approximately two weeks.
Getting back to normal
Most rhinoplasty patients are up and about within two days, and able to return to school or sedentary work a week or so following surgery. It will be several weeks, however, before they are entirely up to speed.The patient will receive specific guidelines from the doctor for gradually resuming normal activities. They’re likely to include these suggestions: Avoid strenuous activity (jogging, swimming, bending, sexual relations–any activity that increases your blood pressure) for two to three weeks. Avoid hitting or rubbing the nose, or getting it sunburned, for eight weeks. Be gentle when washing the face and hair or using cosmetics.Patients can wear contact lenses as soon as he/she feels like it, but glasses are another story. Once the splint is off, they’ll have to be taped to the forehead or propped on the cheeks for another six to seven weeks, until the nose is completely healed.The surgeon will schedule frequent follow–up visits in the months after surgery, to check on the progress of healing.
Your new look
In the days following surgery, when the face is bruised and swollen, it’s easy to forget that you will be looking better. In fact, many patients feel depressed for a while after plastic surgery–it’s quite normal and understandable.Rest assured that this stage will pass. Day by day, your nose will begin to look better and your spirits will improve. Within a week or two, you’ll no longer look as if you’ve just had surgery.Still, healing is a slow and gradual process. Some subtle swelling may be present for months, especially in the tip. The final results of rhinoplasty may not be apparent for a year or more.In the meantime, the patient might experience some unexpected reactions from family and friends. They may say they don’t see a major difference in the nose. Or they may act resentful, especially if the patient has changed something they view as a family or ethnic trait. If that happens, one must try to keep in mind the reason for opting for this surgery.