In recent years, rhinoplasty methods have taken a giant leap forward: Today, the nasal bones are gently manipulated with precision tools during rhinoplasty, which greatly reduces postoperative swelling and shortens recovery time. Still, even minimally invasive facial procedures require specialized aftercare. The bones inside the nose are delicate and easily stressed by movement, so you’ll want to treat your face very gently while you heal from nasal surgery. To ensure a rapid and comfortable rhinoplasty recovery, we suggest following the five tips below:
5 Rhinoplasty Recovery Tips
- Eat only soft foods for at least one week after having surgery.
The human bite is surprisingly strong; on average, our molars can bite with 171 pounds of force. The act of chewing therefore puts a lot of pressure on the cheeks and the soft palate behind the nose. Normally this isn’t an issue, but when you’re recovering from rhinoplasty, chewing can worsen soreness and swelling by putting added pressure on your nasal bones. Eating only soft foods (like bananas, pudding, and smoothies) for at least a week after your surgery will protect your nasal bones while they heal. After a week has passed, slowly reintroduce other foods into your diet and monitor how you feel. Return to eating soft foods if you experience pain or an increase in swelling.
- Don’t smoke.
You should never smoke after having any type of invasive surgery because smoking impairs the body’s ability heal. Smoking is especially damaging after rhinoplasty, however. When tobacco smoke comes into contact with the nasal passages, it dries them out and introduces a number of toxins that directly damage healing tissue. Smoking after rhinoplasty is associated with a greatly increased risk of pain, infection, bleeding, and other complications. If you can’t stop smoking entirely, use a smoking cessation aid (such as a nicotine patch) for at least a few weeks while you recover.
- Sleep correctly.
For about two weeks after having rhinoplasty, you should sleep with your head elevated and try to keep your face upright. Sleeping with your head elevated will reduce swelling and help you heal faster. Placing a humidifier in your room can also be helpful, as moistening the air will ease throat dryness and make it easier to breathe through your mouth.
- Don’t blow your nose.
You might notice that your nose feels “stuffy” for a week or two after surgery. This sensation is caused by swelling and increased mucus production. Annoying as this feeling can be, you must resist the urge to blow your nose. Blowing your nose will only inflame your nasal tissue further, often resulting in pain. Your surgeon will provide you with a soothing solution you can use to irrigate your nose in place of blowing it.
- Apply a cool compress three times per day.
Gently placing a cool compress (or a bag of frozen peas) over your nose and cheeks can dramatically reduce swelling and increase comfort. Try to use a cool compress at regular intervals throughout the day to keep inflammation in check.
Two weeks after rhinoplasty surgery, you should start feeling like your old self again—and you’ll be able to see your new nose shape emerging as swelling subsides. For most people, the rewarding feeling of confidence that follows aesthetic nose surgery is well worth the temporary inconvenience of recovery.
If you have any questions about rhinoplasty recovery, feel free to contact us. Dr. David Gerth will be happy to provide you with guidance during a one-on-one consultation.