What to Expect the First Week After Rhinoplasty: A Plastic Surgeon Explains

If you’re choosing to undergo rhinoplasty (a.k.a, “nose reshaping” surgery), then you know there’s a lot to consider. Which surgeon do you go with? What are the risks? How should you prepare for surgery? Those are just a few of the many questions that may be swimming around your head.

We find that even if a patient has answers to all of those questions, not all patients are as informed as they could be for the post-surgery recovery period—especially the crucial first week of recovery. As experts in rhinoplasty, we wanted to let you know exactly what to expect within the first seven days of your recovery period. Symptoms vary from patient to patient, but in general you may experience the following:

  • Post-operative depression: Feeling depressed, regretful, unmotivated, or “blue” is normal for about a week after surgery. After all, your body has just experienced a trauma. These feelings are the body’s way of keeping you still and quiet as you recover. If the depression doesn’t lift, or gets worse, then see your primary care physician.
  • Nasal congestion: Many patients will feel “stuffed-up” for about seven days following their nose job due to swelling inside the nose. You may be tempted to blow your nose, but try your best not to. Blowing your nose so soon after surgery could cause a nosebleed and delay healing. You should be able to gently blow your nose after about a week.
  • Headache and/or face pain: You may feel a headache or pain around specific areas of your face or nose for about a week after surgery. Drink a lot of water and take pain medication as prescribed by your doctor to help alleviate the discomfort. But definitely avoid taking any over-the-counter medications because many popular brands have blood-thinning properties and may increase your risk of bleeding.
  • Tingling/Burning:You may feel a burning or tingling sensation around your nose and face for about a week after surgery. This is actually a good sign because it means your nerve endings are healing. Your nerves will regenerate surprisingly quickly and that burning sensation will fade away.
  • Nausea/dizziness:It’s normal to feel queasy, dizzy or nauseated after surgery. Those symptoms should disappear within a few days. Staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest will help reduce the severity of your symptoms.
  • Itching: After your surgery, your nose will be heavily bandaged or even have a cast, which will inevitably cause some itching. But don’t worry, the itching will be limited to a small area and will be gone within days.
  • Swelling/Bruising: You may have significant swelling and bruising around the cheeks, nose, and eyelids after the surgery, depending on how much work was done. You can use ice packs on your cheeks and eyelids to reduce selling, but avoid putting ice directly on your nose. Any extra weight placed on your nose may alter the work that was done and affect the final outcome. Plus, it’s important that your bandages remain dry.
  • Bleeding: Moderate bleeding is normal for the first several days after surgery, so dress your nose with gauze and change as often as needed.
  • Crusting: As your incisions are healing, you may experience “crusting.” This is simply a build-up of dried blood, skin, small scabs, and other biological debris around the incisions. You can gently wash it away with saline. Know that crusting usually causes a strange odor, which should go away after the saline treatment. If the odor persists, then contact your doctor as the smell might be a sign of infection.

Remember, the surgery itself is just the first step. As with any type of plastic surgery, the end results won’t be immediately visible. Be patient with the healing process and your new nose will emerge.

Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have about the procedures we offer. We strive to ensure that your experience with us is positive. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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