Rhinoplasty, otherwise known as a nose job, is a common plastic surgery procedure for reconstructing the nose. This may be for aesthetic purposes to create a facial profile that’s more pleasing to the eye, or it may be performed to improve breathing or to repair injuries or defects.
As with all surgery, the rhinoplasty procedure can cause swelling in the tissues of the nose and face, which may take some time to reduce.
The amount of swelling may vary between different rhinoplasty surgeries depending on the individual and the type of procedure performed. If your nasal bones are fractured, as part of the surgery, you will experience more swelling around the cheeks and eye area.
With proper post-operative care following the procedure, you can help to reduce the swelling, which will not only make you feel more comfortable but will also allow you to see the results of your surgery sooner.
Keeping your head higher than the rest of your body and avoiding lying down flat will help excess fluids drain away from your nose.
Use a number of pillows when you lie down, and try to sleep in a semi-reclined position to avoid liquid pooling around the surgery site overnight.
You should also avoid bending over or any strenuous exercise that will increase your blood pressure.
Cold compresses placed on the face after surgery will feel soothing as they numb the area slightly and slow blood flow, which reduces inflammation and minimises bruising.
To make a cold compress, dampen a clean towel with water and seal it in a plastic bag before putting it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
You can place the compress on your skin for up to 20 minutes, however, do not put it directly on the nose area, as it may put too much pressure on your nose and will dampen the cast. Instead, put it on your forehead or cheeks. Make sure the cloth is not too wet so that water doesn’t run onto the cast.
Cold compresses are most effective in the first 48 hours following surgery and you should alternate between 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
Ice should never be applied directly to your skin, as this can affect blood flow and cause tissue damage.
Drinking plenty of fluids will help to flush out toxins from your body and can reduce swelling more quickly.
Drink lots of water and avoid caffeinated drinks. You should also keep an eye on your sodium intake, as a high-sodium diet can lead to fluid retention. Don’t add salt to your food and avoid salty snacks.
You should devote the first couple of weeks after your surgery to rest and relaxation. After this time, most of the swelling and bruising should have reduced enough, so that you don’t feel self-conscious about going out.
Don’t schedule surgery too close to a special event such as a holiday or wedding – allow several months to make sure all the swelling is gone.
Arnica is a herbal remedy that has been used for many hundreds of years to reduce pain, bruising and swelling after soft tissue trauma.
You can either consume it internally in tablet form, or apply it topically as a cream, salve or gel to speed up the healing process.
There are only a limited number of scientific studies into the effectiveness of arnica, but much anecdotal evidence points to it being a useful remedy.
Applied topically, arnica has few side effects, although it should never be applied to broken skin. However, you should take more care if consuming it internally. Arnica can increase blood pressure, so it should not be taken if you already have high blood pressure. Arnica may also increase bleeding after surgery.
For these reasons it’s advised to use arnica externally only, after the cast on your nose is removed and the incisions have started to heal.
Stop taking any supplements or other drugs and medications in the two weeks prior to your surgery, as well as post-surgery, as they may affect your blood pressure, circulation and healing.
Don’t take any anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen for pain or to reduce swelling. These medications can actually increase bleeding and lead to more inflammation.
Alcohol is a diuretic and can cause dehydration. It should be avoided until you are fully recovered and the swelling after rhinoplasty has gone down.
After your operation, Dr Shahidi will place splints and surgical tape across the nasal bridge and nasal tip to help minimise swelling and keep your airways open.
These splints will be removed and the tape will be replaced when you return to have your stitches removed.
After about two weeks you’ll only have to wear the tape at night. Make sure to apply the tape as directed for at least a month after the procedure, although you may be recommended to use the tape for longer.
Nightly taping of your nose for a long period may seem like a pain, but it’s important to keep up so that your nose heals in the proper shape, and it may also help to reduce scarring.
All of these can cause swelling in the nose and can irritate the stitches, causing them to bleed or even burst.
Using a humidifier can help to keep the air in your room moist to avoid coughing, and you should stay away from cigarette smoke and other pollution.
The initial swelling from surgery will be worst within the first week and should have subsided after about 10 days. However, some slight swelling due to fluid retention can remain for several months and up to a year after your surgery. This swelling is very subtle and is unlikely to be noticed by anyone else, but for this reason, if you’re not completely happy with your nose job, it’s advisable to wait up to a year to see the final result, before having any further surgery.