Rhinoplasty, a nose reshaping operation that is often known as a “nose job”, has been performed for thousands of years. As one of the most popular plastic surgery operations performed today, modern rhinoplasty techniques have been developed to produce the best possible outcomes while maintaining the highest safety standards. Because of this, complications during or following rhinoplasty are very rare. However, the procedure still involves a fairly major surgical procedure and the risk for complications exists. No matter how small that risk may be, if you are considering undergoing nose reshaping surgery, you should make sure you are well-informed about potential complications and do your best to prevent negative side effects by staying vigilant and attending to any signs of trouble, taking care of yourself before, during, and after your surgery, and contacting your surgeon should you notice anything out of the ordinary.
What are Some Potential Rhinoplasty Complications?
One potential complication is a poor aesthetic or functional outcome. Other risks are as follows; and these are, fortunately, very uncommon.
• Anesthesia complications
• Excessive bleeding
Complications during recovery:
• Skin necrosis
• Nasal blockage
• Poor healing
• Excessive pain
You will experience bruising following your rhinoplasty, particularly if your surgery required that the nasal bones be broken. You should be aware that aside from normal bruising, swelling and discolored skin can indicate a hematoma and should be brought to the attention of your doctor right away. Additionally, sneezing or blowing your nose during recovery can, in some cases, trigger bleeding. Prevention is best, of course, but seek help immediately if you experience excessive bleeding. Keep in mind that some bleeding is common. In some cases, nasal packing may be used to help control bleeding.
Infection is a risk following any surgery. You may be given antibiotics to help ward off infection, but that doesn’t mean you have no risk of developing one. The most important step you can take in controlling potential infection is to take your antibiotics on time. Monitoring your temperature can also help you to catch early infection. If your temperature is elevated, be on high alert–a high temperature can signal an infection’s onset. Look for changes in your skin and for anything else that doesn’t look or feel right. If you notice anything unusual, call your surgeon right away. It pays to be cautious when recovering from surgery. Do not fuss or pick at your incisions or your nose in general, as you could compromise your outcome or put you at risk for complications. It is best to simply leave your nose alone to heal.
Caring For Your Nose During Recovery
Rhinoplasty is a very complex operation, and the surgeon is not the only factor in the final result of a rhinoplasty. The patient must take the proper steps during recovery to help prevent poor healing and other complications. Here are some basic tips for caring for your nose during the first week of recovery:
• Do not exercise vigorously
• Do not chew, laugh, smile, or brush your teeth with excessive force
• Do not wear glasses that rest on the bridge of the nose
• Do not expose your nose to the sun
• Keep your head elevated
• Do not blow your nose, and avoid sneezing if possible
• Have someone care for you for the first few days
• Take your pain medication responsibly
• Eat a healthful diet to promote healing
• Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or take unapproved supplements
• Drink lots of fluids
• Do not allow your cast to get wet
• Do not bend over or lift anything heavy (more than 5-7 pounds)
• Take care not to bump, hit, or scrape your nose on anything
• Take it easy!
Should You Call Your Surgeon?
Absolutely. Many people struggle with when to contact their surgeon about a potential problem, whether due to fear or not wanting to bother their provider with something trivial. If you think something is not right or there is some rapid change that worries you, call. Some patients consult “Dr. Internet” rather than calling their surgeon. There is some good information on the internet and a lot of misinformation. Your surgeon is your best resource. You chose that surgeon for a reason.
Have a Knowledgeable Resource
Your surgeon will be your most valuable resource and, as such, you need to be able to trust him or her completely. You should choose an experienced, knowledgeable, board-certified surgeon who is proactive about your care and provides detailed information, recommendations, and instructions for follow-up care. Your surgeon should always be invested in your outcome and be happy to answer any questions you might have. If you are looking for the best outcome in the Boston area, pay a visit to rhinoplasty specialist Dr. Stuart Bentkover of Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA, or read more about Dr. Bentkover.