With any specific questions about how to prepare for a nose job, we invite you to talk directly with your facial plastic surgeon.
When your procedure day approaches, you are inevitably going to feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety. This is all perfectly normal. Your excitement stems from the prospect of a more balanced and proportional facial appearance and potentially a new sense of self-confidence. Your anxiety may stem from uncertainty over the final result, trepidation about the recovery process, or some combination of the two.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you will not see the full results of your nose job for a few weeks. There will be some swelling and bruising following your procedure, making it hard to get a real sense of the outcome. Additionally, your body will require plenty of rest following the surgery, and it will be a while before you can once again do vigorous exercise or lift heavy objects. These factors may cause some frustration or even disappointment but hang in there and be patient with yourself! Patients who get rhinoplasty tend to be elated once they see the results and usually say the whole process was more than worthwhile.
Tips for the Day of Your Procedure
In the meantime, there are a few steps you can follow to ensure a smooth experience on the day of your surgery. Here is what we recommend:
- Arrive at the surgical facility on time.
- Bring any paperwork your facial plastic surgeon instructs you to bring.
- Make sure you have someone with you to drive you home once the procedure is over.
- Wear comfortable clothing that does not need to be pulled over the head.
- Do not wear jewelry or bring any valuables to the surgery.
- Do not take any medications or supplements unless your doctor gives their permission.
What to Expect
Once you are checked in at the surgical center, a nurse will start a line of IV sedation. This ensures that you do not experience any pain or discomfort during the surgery itself, and it also helps you avoid any triggering or traumatizing memories of your surgery. You may also receive nitrous gas to help mediate any anxiety you feel leading up to the procedure.
The procedure itself can take anywhere from one to several hours, depending on the type of rhinoplasty and the scope of work your surgeon is performing. Once your surgery is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room for further monitoring. Around this time, your surgeon will head out into the waiting area to talk with any family members or friends who are there with you, simply reassuring them that the procedure went well.
In the recovery room, a nurse will monitor you and keep an eye on your vital signs. Rhinoplasty is an outpatient procedure, and you should be cleared to head home as soon as the anesthesia has fully worn off. (This may take a couple of hours.)
Recovery from Rhinoplasty
Once you are safely back home, you will need to allow your body plenty of time to rest and recover. Here is a brief guide, letting you know what you can expect from the recovery process.
What Side Effects Can I Expect During Recovery?
During your recovery, you can anticipate some swelling and bruising around your nose, upper lips, cheeks, and around your eyes. These side effects will gradually fade away and should be mostly gone within seven to 10 days. In the meantime, you can use ice packs to help keep the swelling under control.
You will also have a little blood discharging from the nose. This is normal, and your surgeon will provide you with a “moustache” bandage to help catch the drip. The bleeding should fade within two or three days, and when it does, you are free to stop using the moustache bandage.
Most patients will have a little bit of discomfort over the first week. Generally, patients say that the worst of their pain is over within 48 hours. You may use prescription or over-the-counter medications to manage your discomfort, as directed by your facial plastic surgeon.
What About Breathing?
Due to the swelling, you will likely be unable to breathe through your nose. Most patients regain their ability to breathe through the nose within a week’s time, and in some cases, it may take just two or three days. In the meantime, apply Chapstick to dry lips in order to mediate any discomfort due to mouth breathing.
Am I Allowed to Blow My Nose?
Your facial plastic surgeon will strongly advise you to avoid blowing your nose for at least a week, preferably closer to three. Blowing your nose so soon after getting a nose job may irritate the incision site, cause bleeding, or otherwise impede your healing. During this season, be careful to wash your hands often to minimize your risk of catching a cold.
What Can I Eat Following Rhinoplasty?
As you recover from your surgery and from the effects of the anesthesia, there are certain dietary restrictions to keep in mind. Try to keep your diet light and cool, with a focus on soft foods and liquids. Steer clear of hot or spicy foods for at least a couple of days.
Immediately after surgery, you may not feel like eating much; in fact, the anesthesia may make you feel nauseous at the very thought of food. It is okay to go slow on eating for the first couple of days, gradually working your way back up to a normal diet.
How Much PTO Should I Request?
Different people recover at varied rates, but generally speaking, patients feel ready to return to school or work about a week after their surgery. However, if you have a job that requires you to do heavy lifting, you may want to take even more time off.
When Can I Resume Working Out?
Following your procedure, it is critically important to rest as much as you can and to avoid vigorous exercise or heavy lifting. Your facial plastic surgeon will advise you on when you may return to your normal workout, but for most patients, it will be three to four weeks.
Is it OK to Wear Glasses?
You will want to avoid wearing any kind of glasses (including reading glasses and sunglasses). Anything that puts pressure on your nose can ultimately contribute to further swelling or bruising. Switch to contacts if possible, or opt for the lightest possible frames otherwise. Your facial plastic surgeon will let you know when you can wear glasses as normal again.
When Can I Remove the Bandaging?
Most rhinoplasty patients have a splint to hold the nose steady and secure. We recommend keeping it in for about a week unless your surgeon recommends otherwise. Once this splint is removed, you can go out in public without it being obvious that you are recovering from surgery (unless you have major bruising around the eyes).
Additional Tips for Rhinoplasty Recovery
Here are a few additional guidelines for patients to keep in mind as they prepare for an expedient rhinoplasty recovery.