What is the recovery after rhinoplasty/ nose reshaping surgery? The truth revealed…

What is the recovery after rhinoplasty/ nose reshaping surgery? The truth revealed…


A common question
that I get asked is what is the recovery time after
rhinoplasty or nose reshaping? And the great majority of my patients
are back to normal activities a week after surgery. However the truth is, with recovery
after rhinoplasty surgery, is that there is a great deal
of individual variability. And we could really look at this
from 3 different perspectives. Firstly, what we do
actually mean by recovery, because different parts of the
nose recover at different times. Secondly, what are the individual
factors that influence recovery? And finally, what are the factors
that you can do in order to speed up the process,
and speed up the recovery. So if we look at
the first of these points, what do we mean by the recovery? Well after rhinoplasty surgery
everyone one has a degree of swelling. And 80% to 90% of that
swelling will disappear on and during the first week. However, a degree of the
swelling will remain and a further 80% to 90%
will go in the second week. Now the great majority of
patients are able to get back to their normal activities, social and
professional activities after a week. However, if you have a second week
that is to your benefit. The final result, and by that I mean
when all of the swelling has resolved is really 6 to 12 months
after surgery, and there are particular parts
of a nose, the tip of the nose, the bridge of the nose that are
particularly sensitive to swelling, and these areas take longer for the
swelling to completely disappear. And there are factors that you
can do to reduce the swelling, and I’ll come on to this. The other, the other aspect of that
coincides with swelling is bruising. And about 10% to 20% of my patients
will have bruising under the eyes. And this is because this is the
thinnest skin in the entire body, and bruising here can last
for even 6 weeks after surgery. You can cover this with
makeup after 1 week, and it’s barely noticeable
to the human eye. In terms of pain, well the great
majority of patients have relatively mild pain after
rhinoplasty surgery, and most patients don’t require
analgesia 48 hours after surgery. So most of the discomforts
is over the first 48 hours, and analgesia relieves this. In terms of sensation, well there
is usually some change in sensation in the tip of the nose, and some patients
will report some changes in the feeling in the upper lips,
some stiffness in the upper lip. The great majority of patients,
this will resolve over the first few weeks. However, occasionally
this can last for many months. In terms of feelings of
congestion, well the swelling on the inner lining of the nose results
in less comfortable breathing, and changes in your
sense of smell. And as the swelling resolves
over the first few weeks, the sense of smell and
your breathing will improve. And in general your breathing
improves vastly over the first week, at the end of the first week,
and the sense of smell improves over a 4 to 6 week period,
in general. In terms of going back to
regular activities, well in terms of watching the television,
reading, using the internet, well these kind of activities can be
continued even the day after surgery. However, in terms of lifting,
exerting yourself, things that will increase
your blood pressure, it’s very important to avoid these
for the first 2 weeks after surgery. And this is because changes
in your blood pressure will also result in increased
bruising and swelling, and the potential from
bleeding from the nose, and so they are best avoided. In terms of exercise, well it’s important
that you avoid aerobic exercise for the first couple of weeks
after surgery. Generally speaking you can go back
to exercise after 3 to 4 weeks. If you play contact sports and
these really includes ballgames such as tennis, you should
leave a longer period, more like 6 to 8 weeks as there
is a risk if you’d have trauma to the bridge of the nose,
it may damage the nose. So it’s best avoided during this
early period after the surgery. So really in terms of recovery
different parts of the nose recover at different times. But generally speaking
most patients are able to go back to their normal activities
a week to 2 weeks after surgery, and the final result
in terms of nose appearance is really 6 to 12 months
after surgery. If you have like an
important event such a wedding, I really recommend a
minimum of 2 to 3 months to allow sufficient time for the nose to
settle, and to give you the best result. So let’s talk a little bit about the
individual factors that influence healing. Well, there is no doubt if you have
pre-existing medical conditions, if you have other external factors
in your social lifestyle, this can influence
your healing rate. If you smoke, I only perform
rhinoplasty on patients who are able to stop smoking,
as this not only delays your healing, but it also has the risk of giving you
adverse effects in the recovery period. In terms of your constitution, well everyone heals at different rates, and 2 patients having similar operations
will heal at different rates. Part of this is related
to your genetics, and part of this is related
to your ethnicity. I think an important factor
during the healing process is having a positive
mental attitude. And there is no doubt that
for some people having cosmetic surgery can be in an emotional rollercoaster,
and having a positive outlook definitely has a significant effect on
improving your recovery during this period. The other aspect is the
type of surgery you have, and different surgeons
will use different techniques. I tend to use small incision
and minimalistic techniques in order to reduce the amount
of trauma to the nasal tissues, and also reduce the amount of
bruising and swelling that you have, and this includes innovation techniques
such as 3D telescopes, and so on. The final element is what
you can personally do to speed up your recovery
after rhinoplasty surgery. And there are factors both
before surgery and after surgery that should be considered. And before surgery, factors such as
avoiding some medications. And this is both prescription
and herbal medications, and non-prescription medications
which should be avoided. Because some items will have a
tendency to thin your blood, and avoiding these will not
only speed up your recovery, but reduce the amount of
bruising that you have. Now, I give my patients very detailed
information on what should be taken, and what should be avoided, and this is very useful information
to speed up your recovery. In addition to that there are steps
that you can take after the surgery to speed up your recovery, and this includes icing
the bridge of your nose. And there is no doubt that using ice,
frozen peas, a gel foam, all of these used for 10 minutes every hour,
for the first 3 days will reduce the amount of swelling that
you have on the bridge of your nose. Other aspects are related to
sleeping with several pillows. This stops gravitational fluid
collection towards your face and towards the tip of your nose which is recovering
from the surgery. The final aspect I would say
it is very important to follow your surgeon’s
instructions, and I give my patients
very detailed information, and thought about advice on
how to speed up their recovery. And one factor would be
using tape after your surgery. I advocate using a tape in order
to reduce the amount of swelling, and if patients were able
to follow this advice, there is no doubt that it
has a beneficial effect.

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