If you have ever felt frustrated or self-conscious about the appearance of your nose, then you might be a good candidate for rhinoplasty. This surgical procedure, also known as a “nose job,” allows you to make structural changes to the size or shape of your nose, either correcting its shape or bringing it into greater harmony with your other facial features.
As you consider getting a nose job, it is natural to feel excited. After all, the chance to rethink your appearance and regain your sense of confidence can be life-changing. With that said, it is also natural to feel trepidation. And often, the trepidation revolves around the recovery period.
Recovery from rhinoplasty can take some time, and it will involve some discomfort and inconvenience. With that said, there are some steps you can take to ensure your recovery is as smooth and expedient as possible. We will cover all the bases in this article about what nose job recovery entails and invite you to contact Eos Rejuvenation with any additional questions about the rhinoplasty journey.
Part I: Before Your Rhinoplasty Procedure
There are several steps you can take to ensure a smooth recovery even before the procedure takes place. Specifically, we recommend doing your homework to select the right facial plastic surgeon, verifying that you are a qualified patient, collecting as much information as you can about the nose job process, and stocking up on necessary supplies.
Choose The Right Surgeon
You will need to make a few important decisions about your rhinoplasty, but the most important decision of all is who will perform the procedure. Keep in mind that not all facial plastic surgeons are created equal, and it is important to be thoughtful and intentional in your search for the right provider. This means interviewing different doctors, voicing any questions or concerns you might have, and seeking the right credentials.
Look For A Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon
One of the most important things to look for is board certification. Board certification shows that the surgeon has received advanced education and training and has been rigorously vetted for competence and professionalism. Simply put, board certification gives you an assurance that the surgeon is legitimate, prepared to do good work, and that they will prioritize your safety and wellbeing.
While some cosmetic surgeons may be skilled, there is really no way to assess these surgeons without simply going through with a procedure. Board certification offers you a much higher level of peace of mind.
Ask The Right Questions
During each of these interviews, feel free to ask any questions or raise any concerns you might have about the rhinoplasty process. For example, here are some questions that may be useful as you try to assess potential surgeons.
- Which type of rhinoplasty do you recommend (open vs. closed) to achieve my aesthetic goals?
- What is the total cost of the procedure? What financing options are available?
- What should I expect from the recovery process?
- What are the risks or potential complications?
In addition, you should ask for testimonials from past patients, as well as before-and-after photos that reveal the surgeon’s style and approach.
Look For A Good Fit
When seeking a facial plastic surgeon to perform your nose job, you naturally want to make sure you find someone who is skilled, competent, and properly credentialed. However, you also want to find a surgeon you like, whose presence and demeanor you find to be reassuring, and who inspires real confidence in the procedure itself. If you simply do not care for a surgeon’s communication style or personality, that is reason enough to continue your search elsewhere.
Ensure You Are A Good Candidate For Rhinoplasty
When you go in for a consultation with your facial plastic surgeon, one thing you can anticipate is a brief physical evaluation, accompanied by some basic questions about your medical history as well as your aesthetic goals. All of this is intended to “qualify” you for surgery; in other words, to give your surgeon a chance to ensure you are a good candidate for a safe and successful procedure.
The ideal candidates for rhinoplasty meet the following criteria:
- They do not have any underlying health problems that could compromise their ability to heal.
- They are not smokers or are willing to cease smoking for at least a couple of months.
- They have talked with a plastic surgeon and have clear, realistic expectations about the rhinoplasty procedure, the potential outcomes, and the recovery process.
Again, the best way to verify that you are a good candidate for a nose job is to make an appointment with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon.
What Rhinoplasty Patients Wish They Knew
In addition to choosing the right surgeon and ensuring your candidacy for a nose job, it is also important to gather as much data as you can about what the process entails and what you can anticipate from the recovery.
You Are Not Likely To See Results Right Away
Keep in mind that, following your procedure, you will have some bruising and swelling, which means you will not get a clear glimpse of your new nose for three or four weeks. In fact, some surgeons say that it may be a full year before your results are fully settled in place.
It Will Be At Least A Week Before You Look Like Normal
For about a week after your procedure, you will have a splint over your nose, holding it in place. Once this splint is removed, you may feel more comfortable going out into public without people knowing that you just had surgery. Some patients also have some bruising around the eyes that makes it harder for them to cover up.
You May Be Constipated
Many rhinoplasty patients do not anticipate this side effect. Keep in mind that all those medications that keep you out of pain tend to block up your system. As such, constipation can be expected for a few days post-procedure. One way you can mediate this is to switch to a high-fiber diet for the week before your nose job. Beyond that, your best bet is simply to stock up on stool softeners and laxatives.
You Will Not Be Able To Wear Eyeglasses
For a few weeks, you will have to refrain from wearing your eyeglasses. This goes for sunglasses, reading glasses, and anything that puts pressure on the nose. Wearing glasses can cause swelling or additional bleeding and ultimately delay your recovery.
If possible, switch to contact lenses for the recovery period. If that is not an option for you, switch to the lightest possible frames.
You Will Not Be Able To Blow Your Nose
As you recover from rhinoplasty, you will be advised against blowing your nose. If you do blow your nose, the force of it may cause irritation or bleeding. It can also blow out your stitches.
As such, you will want to wash your hands diligently, minimizing your risk of catching a cold. And if you suffer from seasonal allergies, make sure you have the medications you need to keep them under control.
You Are Going To Need Help
Due to lingering grogginess from the anesthesia, you will need to have someone stay with you during your surgery and drive you home once you are cleared to leave.
We would really recommend having someone who can stay with you for the first 48 hours, at a minimum. This might be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or a close friend.
You are going to feel very tired and weak as your body bounces back from the surgery, and you will need all the help you can get around the house. Even getting up to go to the bathroom may be challenging during the first day. Having a helper is essential.
Additionally, this person can monitor you, ensure you do not have any unexpected reactions or complications, and, in the event of an emergency, call your surgeon for help.
It Is Important To Stock Up On Supplies In Advance
You will not be able to drive for a couple of days after surgery and getting into the passenger’s seat for a quick errand may prove rather taxing. As such, we would recommend stocking up on food, medications, and other important supplies before the procedure. We will provide a more detailed shopping list below.
You Will Want To Start Moving, But Not Right Away
When you first arrive home after surgery, you are going to feel pretty worn out. Over the course of the first day or two, we recommend gradually working your way up to some modest movement, even if that just means walking around your house at first, then down the street a little way. Motion will ultimately help with your recovery, but it is important to be incremental and not push yourself too hard.
A Pre-Surgery Shopping List
We have mentioned a couple of times now how important it is to head to the store to stock up on supplies before your surgery. This way, you will have everything you need close at hand and will not have to interrupt your rest to run errands. Of course, you could always send your helper to the store instead-but stockpiling before your surgery may prove more convenient.
With that said, what are some of the items on the pre-rhinoplasty shopping list? Here are a few items we would recommend having handy before your surgery.
- Prescription medications (get your antibiotic and pain management prescriptions filled in advance, as well as any other routine medications you might need).
- Over-the-counter pain relievers (ask your surgeon for a specific recommendation, but generally, Tylenol is the way to go).
- Vaseline or Chapstick (you will likely need to breathe through your mouth for the first few days and will need a way to rehydrate your lips).
- Bottled water, juice, and/or Gatorade.
- Bags of frozen berries or peas (you can use these as ice packs to help you control the swelling following your rhinoplasty procedure).
- Arnica cream (to keep bruising and swelling at bay).
- A digital thermometer (you may wish to check your own temperature periodically, as fever is one of the top signs of infection).
- Q-tips (to gently clean out your nostrils once the bandages and splint are removed).
- Antibacterial soap.
- Items to keep you occupied as you rest and recover, such as magazines or books.
- A cool-mist humidifier (this can help keep both your lips and your nasal passageways properly hydrated).
- Biotene® mouth spray (this can be used to keep your throat moist and hydrated until you are able to resume breathing through your nose).
- Pillows (you will likely want at least two or three pillows to keep your head elevated; this can help with breathing and minimize the risk of bleeding from your nose).
In addition to these items, stock up on some soft food items that will be easy to digest. This is mostly because, as you recover from the effects of anesthesia, you may have some mild nausea, which can last for a couple of days. Some foods that you might want to have on hand include:
- Saltine crackers
Additional Ways To Prepare For Your Rhinoplasty
As we wrap up this section on preparing for rhinoplasty, here are just a few additional guidelines and suggestions that may help you to prepare for a safe, successful procedure as well as a smooth and expedient recovery.
Take The Right Health Precautions
Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for a nose job and the subsequent recovery:
Get The Logistics In Place
Next, a few reminders about coordinating your logistics:
- Be sure you have a reliable friend or loved one who will drive you to and from your surgery and who is willing to wait during the surgery itself.
- Arrange to have a helper stay with you for a minimum of 48 hours following your nose job surgery.
- If you are traveling to Beverly Hills from somewhere far away, make sure you book a comfortable hotel room or Airbnb for at least one full week.
- Arrange to take at least one to two weeks off from school or work. Note that you will probably be physically able to return within one week, but you may have some visible bruising for up to two.
Prepare Your Mindset
Finally, here are a few brief tips to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally.
- Get a good night’s rest the night before your procedure and seek calming activities to put you in a relaxed state of mind.
- Remind yourself to be patient with the process and gentle with yourself, as it will take a few weeks for you to really see the full extent of your rhinoplasty results.
Part II: The Day Of Your Procedure
Once the day of your surgery arrives, you will inevitably feel a combination of excitement and anxiety. All of this is perfectly natural. Keep in mind that there are a few steps you can take to make sure the big day goes as smoothly as can be and that your recovery can start off on the right foot.
Eating And Drinking
Unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon, you should avoid eating or drinking anything for at least eight hours before your procedure. Fasting like this can help keep your blood sugar levels in check, avoid nausea-related complications from the anesthesia and more.
Leave Plenty Of Time In The Morning
You will want to be sure you check in at the surgery center on time, if for no other reason than to prevent yourself from feeling stressed and frazzled. If you are someone who tends to struggle with timeliness, then take whatever precautions you need to get to your procedure with time to spare: Set multiple alarms, task your helper with calling to wake you up, etc.
Dress And Groom Appropriately
What should you wear to your rhinoplasty procedure? We would generally recommend loose and comfortable clothing. Avoid wearing anything that you would need to pull over your head, such as non-button-up sweaters or sweatshirts. Do not wear any makeup to your procedure and do carefully wash your face before arriving for surgery.
Know What To Expect
Once you get checked in for surgery and sign any last-minute forms, you will be asked to change into a gown. A nurse will begin an IV line, helping to prepare you for sedation. Your procedure will take anywhere from one to four hours, and you will not be awake while the surgery takes place. When you wake up, you will be in a recovery room, your nose already bandaged. You should anticipate that when you wake up, you will be unable to breathe through your nose, and you may have a significant headache. This is all due to the swelling and can all be mediated in short order.
Prepare For An Emotional Journey
Rhinoplasty is a journey, one that takes you through some emotional highs and lows over the course of several days or even multiple weeks. Prepare accordingly, remembering to be patient with yourself. Some specific emotions that you can anticipate during your nose job journey include:
- Excitement over the results that you are anticipating (and eventually, excitement over the results that you see).
Anxiety, both about the logistics of the surgery and about the uncertainties of the recovery period.
- Happiness that you chose to take this important self-care step.
- Sadness or sensitivity, simply because getting any kind of plastic surgery can be a highly emotional, life-changing event.
- Frustration and fatigue, especially in the early days of recovery, when progress may seem slow-going.
Part III: After Your Surgery
Recovery happens in phases, over the span of multiple weeks. This does not mean that you are going to be confined to your bed, but it does mean that you need to give your body plenty of time to recuperate. In this section of the article, we will share a basic timeline for rhinoplasty recovery and provide several specific tips for managing pain, swelling, and more.
Rhinoplasty Recovery: A Timeline
First, what should patients expect in terms of a rhinoplasty recovery timeline? The specifics can vary from one patient to the next, depending on a range of factors. If your recovery ends up taking a little longer than the norm, do not beat yourself up about it. It does not mean you are weak; it simply means that your body needs a little extra time to bounce back.
With all of that said, here is the rough timeline patients should anticipate as they recover from a rhinoplasty procedure.
The First Three Days
During the first 72 hours, you will want to rest as much as possible. You can get up to use the bathroom and go for short walks around your neighborhood as you feel your strength returning. For the most part, though, we recommend lying down as much as possible. Rhinoplasty patients typically feel most comfortable sleeping on their back, with their head elevated using two or three pillows.
During these first 72 hours, your swelling, bruising, and pain may be at their worst. Most patients report feeling significantly improved by the end of those first three days.
Days Four Through Seven
Within the first week, you will start to feel much more like your normal self. Your strength will return, and your symptoms will decline. Usually, nose job patients have all their bandages removed around day seven.
Most patients feel like they are ready to return to school or work within a week to 10 days of their procedure. Note that you may still have some lingering bruising.
Weeks Two Through Four
Within two weeks or so, your bruising and swelling will be mostly gone. As such, most patients feel comfortable being seen in social settings.
Physically, you should be feeling healthier and stronger. Many patients are ready to head back to the gym within three to four weeks, though you will want to ensure you get a green light from your surgeon.
Week Eight And Beyond
Within eight weeks, your swelling should be entirely or almost entirely gone, and you should have strength enough to resume all your regular physical activities.
Note that your nose job results may continue to develop and to settle for up to a year, but by week eight or so, you should have a clear idea of your outcome.
Dealing With The Aftereffects Of Rhinoplasty
Most patients will experience discomfort, including some pain and swelling, during the 48 to 72 hours following their procedure. In this section, we will help you determine roughly what to expect during this phase of your rhinoplasty recovery and advise on how to manage these symptoms optimally.
You can anticipate a mild to moderate amount of pain following your nose job. This will likely include a significant headache, especially for the first day or so, which is a result of all the swelling in and around your sinuses. You can also anticipate some soreness and tenderness near the site of the incision.
This pain can be managed quite easily with oral medications. Use prescription pain medications as recommended by your physician or over-the-counter remedies if your pain is not too severe. In the rare event that you experience a major increase in pain after the 72-hour mark, call your facial plastic surgeon’s office to let them know. This could be the sign of infection or some other kind of complication.
Bruising And Swelling
It is normal to experience some bruising and swelling following a rhinoplasty procedure. Most patients find that these symptoms are more uncomfortable from the first day to the second, but by day three should start to fade.
The level of bruising varies quite a bit from one patient to the next. It is not unusual to experience some bruising around the nose and the upper lip. You may have swelling around the eyes, as well.
The best way to keep swelling under control is to apply ice packs or bags of frozen peas or berries. Apply them to the swollen area for 10 minutes or so, then remove the ice for a while.
You can also expect there to be some nasal discharge. Your surgeon will likely send you home with a “moustache”-style bandage, which you can place below your nose to catch this bloody discharge. The bleeding will be most intense during the first 24 to 48 hours. Replace the moustache bandage as needed; this may be 10 or 12 times daily.
Nasal Stuffiness And Drainage
For the first week or so, it may be difficult to breathe through your nose. Around day seven, when the splint is removed, nose breathing may become easier. Your nasal stuffiness will clear up considerably in the days following.
In the meantime, there is not much you can do except breathe through your mouth. Make sure you have some Chapstick or Vaseline handy to keep your lips hydrated. Also, consider getting a cool-mist humidifier for the room where you are resting and recovering.
Steam can potentially clear your airways and help you feel a little less stuffy, so run a shower if you like.
Keep in mind that until your nasal splint is removed, you may have some excess mucus running down your throat. This may make your throat feel a bit sore and potentially even produce a slight cough. This will clear up once the splint is removed.
Some patients may experience some numbness following their surgery. This numbness may be concentrated at the tip of your nose, the roof of your mouth, or even your upper teeth. This is because surgery to the nose can disrupt nerve sensitivity. You will experience sensation in the area gradually returning over the course of a few days or a few weeks.
A handful of patients experience a temporary loss of their sense of smell. Again, this is largely due to that disruption in nerve sensitivity. You should find your sense of smell returning within one to two weeks following the procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rhinoplasty Recovery
If you have any additional questions about recovering from a nose job, we welcome you to contact our Beverly Hills facial plastic surgery practice, Eos Rejuvenation. In the meantime, here are a few of the most common inquiries we receive from prospective rhinoplasty patients.
When Can I Start Wearing My Glasses Again?
You will want to avoid wearing eyeglasses after surgery, opting for contact lenses instead. (And, if you must wear glasses, you will want to get the lightest frames you can.) This helps prevent any undue pressure on your nose, which can sometimes slow the healing process or contribute to greater swelling. Generally, we advise that patients avoid wearing glasses for the first month after their surgery.
When Am I Allowed To Blow My Nose Again?
As you recover from rhinoplasty, you may also want to avoid blowing your nose. We would recommend waiting at least one week before you resume blowing your nose as normal, and you may even want to hold off for a full three weeks. Remember to wash your hands and practice good hygiene during your recovery, which can help minimize your risk of catching a cold.
When Am I Allowed To Take A Shower?
You can take a shower the day of your surgery, but there are a few precautions you will need to take. You will want to keep your nose and all bandaging dry. This means especially taking great care when washing your hair. Similarly, when you wash your face, use a washcloth and be gentle. We would also recommend keeping the shower warm but not excessively hot. For the first day or so, steam may make swelling worse (though it may also potentially clear the airways).
When Can I Go For A Swim?
Avoid going for a swim, or submerging yourself in a bathtub or hot tub, for about six weeks. Give your nasal tissue plenty of time to “set.” If you get your nose wet prematurely, it could have an adverse effect on the results of your rhinoplasty.
When Can I Drink Alcohol?
The biggest problem with alcohol is that it can mix with your pain medications and cause some unwanted effects. You can resume moderate, responsible alcohol consumption when you are completely off the pain medication.
What About Smoking?
We recommend that you quit smoking at least two to four weeks before your surgery and remain tobacco-free for at least four weeks following the surgery.
How Should I Sleep Following A Nose Job?
For the first week of your recovery, we recommend sleeping on your back, with your head propped up by two to three pillows. You may wish to continue sleeping on your back well past the one-week mark, simply to avoid any possible damage to your nasal tissues. Your facial plastic surgeon will provide you with a more personalized recommendation for how to sleep.
Seeing Your Results
In the days following your surgery, you may have some bruising and swelling. This means that it can be exceedingly difficult to get a clear sense of your real surgical results; in fact, some patients find that, due to the swelling, their nose appears larger or more oddly shaped than before their procedure.
The best course of action is to prepare yourself in advance for a slow reveal, then try your best to be patient with the process. Be prepared to get a clearer sense of your results within a month or so after your surgery.
Conclusion: Getting Ready For A Life-Changing Procedure
It is no exaggeration to say that getting a nose job can be life-changing. Not only can it offer permanent changes to your appearance, but it can also provide you with a major and lasting boost to your self-confidence. Many patients dream of getting rhinoplasty for many years before they finally go through with it; and, once they get a feel for their results, they are almost always elated.
To get to those results, you may need to endure a few weeks of recovery and downtime. It will not always be easy, but it can be worth it. And there are some simple steps you can take to make this recovery period as manageable as possible.
With any additional questions or concerns about rhinoplasty recovery, please reach out to Eos Rejuvenation in Beverly Hills, CA.