As anyone who has gone through any type of surgery knows, recovery is an inconvenient but important part of the process. Though advances in medical technology over the years have made the recovery process more comfortable, plastic surgeries like rhinoplasty still require that patients take it easy for a week or more following surgery. While most of the surgical process is entirely in the surgeon’s hands, the patient has some responsibilities as well. Successful pre- and post-operative care rely on the patient’s dedication to the instructions provided by the surgeon, and the quality of this self-care can mean the difference between a good outcome and a poor one. Because a successful rhinoplasty involves a large number of variables, patients need to be prepared to take on the responsibilities of aftercare to help prevent possible complications and a need for revision surgery. Here is what you should know about caring for yourself following rhinoplasty.
Control the Swelling
Every surgery produces some swelling, and rhinoplasty is by no means an exception. In fact, residual swelling can persist for up to 18 months following surgery, although the majority of this swelling will have subsided after a few months. Keeping your head elevated and using ice packs or Arnica can help prevent some swelling and make you more comfortable. You should sleep with your head elevated in the days following surgery.
No Nose Blowing
While rhinoplasty can cause the nose to feel “stuffed up”, nose-blowing should be avoided entirely for several weeks, as the force exerted during this process can have a negative effect on healing and bleeding. It will take some getting used to, but it is extremely important to avoid anything that could distort your results. Your doctor will have advice on alternatives to blowing your nose, and you should get information on when doing so is safe again.
During the first few days, any activity that places your head beneath your heart should be avoided. Activity should be gradually increased, with strenuous exercise, bending, and lifting being avoided for several weeks. You will be given guidelines on when it is safe to start mild to moderate exercise.
No Alcohol, Cigarettes, or Supplements
Just as cigarettes and alcohol can cause major problems during the surgical process, they can also be extremely detrimental after the procedure. Cigarettes can constrict blood vessels and restrict circulation, compromising healing. Both alcohol and cigarettes can induce poor healing in a myriad of ways, and should be avoided at all costs. Some over-the-counter drugs and supplements can also interfere with proper healing, so these should not be used without your surgeon’s approval.
Eat and Drink Well
While it is easy to subsist on takeout when you are feeling tired and uncomfortable from recovery, you should be careful about what you eat during this time. Whole foods with lots of vitamins and minerals will help you feel better and heal faster. You can prepare food ahead of time in anticipation that you will not have the energy to cook during recovery. You should also stay hydrated with plenty of water during this time.
Watch Out for Infection
While rare, infection after rhinoplasty can occur, and you should be vigilant for any signs of problems. Fever, unusual discharge, and excessive heat or redness in the area around the incisionsare indications of infection. Do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor or head to the emergency room if you think something is wrong.
If you wear glasses, you will need to find a method for wearing them that does not rely on the support of your nose, or switch to contact lenses during your recovery. The restriction on glasses can last for several weeks, so you will need to plan ahead.
Do Not Take Chances
You may think that it is just fine to ignore a few small instructions your surgeon gives you, but why take the risk? He or she knows much more than you about the possible complications involved with rhinoplasty, as well as the steps that need to be taken to avoid them. Follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter, and do not take chances on your outcome because some aftercare instructions are inconvenient and uncomfortable. A good rhinoplasty lasts a lifetime, and beautiful results are worth a few weeks of inconvenience.
Choose a Knowledgeable Surgeon
You need to be able to trust the advice and instruction your surgeon gives you, as well as have complete faith in his or her surgical skills. For this reason, it is important to choose a board certified surgeon you have rapport with. If you are looking for an experienced rhinoplasty expert in the Boston area, come to Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester(508-363-6500) or Stoneham(617-247-0033), MA and meet with acclaimed facial plastic surgeon Dr. Stuart Bentkover. Dr. Bentkover has been providing patients with beautiful, natural results for over 25 years, and specializes in the art of rhinoplasty. Call today to schedule your consultation at either location.