Rhinoplasty

POST-OPERATIVE CARE FOLLOWING
NASAL SURGERY

 Call our office promptly if:

  • Your temperature is over 100.4 F
  • You experience an unusual amount of bleeding
  • Re-injury of the operative site.

If any of the above should occur after regular office hours, we can be reached 24 hours a day.  Call 434-924-0000 and ask for the resident covering for Dr. Christophel or Dr. Park.

What Can I expect?

  • Nasal stuffiness is the most annoying problem you will encounter. It is most distressful the first week after surgery. Significant improvement can be expected when the nasal dressings are removed one week after surgery, and further gradual improvement can be expected several weeks thereafter.
  • Mild nasal or facial pain is expected after surgery and is well managed with oral pain medication except in the most unusual circumstances. Some bloody discharge is expected after surgery. During the first 24 hours after surgery, you may need to change the nasal absorbent dressing 10-20 times. This is typical. The nurses at the surgery center will instruct you on how to change these absorbent dressings and this can be easily accomplished at home.  Some oozing is expected because we avoid packing the nose, which causes considerable discomfort.
  • Some bruising after surgery is to be expected. The amount of bruising that occurs varies significantly from one individual to the next. Most swelling occurs around the eyes and reaches a peak the second day following surgery and then steadily improves.
  • Numbness in the tip of the nose, upper front teeth, or roof of the mouth following surgery is to be expected because the intranasal surgery has caused a temporary disruption of some of the nerves in this area.
  • Some decrease in the sense of smell and alterations of taste is typical after surgery as the nerve fibers that are responsible for your sense of smell are present high in the nose and the nasal congestion blocks the flow of air to this area. This will improve within the first one to two weeks following surgery.
  • Swelling from the surgery will give some distorted appearance to the nose and should not be a cause for alarm. The nose will appear excessively broad and the tip turned up more than is desirable. This is due to the swelling and will improve in the days following surgery.
  • Blowing the nose is prohibited after surgery because it can stimulate bleeding and compromise your final result. If you feel the urge to sneeze, sneeze with your mouth open, as this will minimize any disturbance of the nasal tissues.
  • If you wear glasses, the nurse will need to instruct you on the use of alternate methods for suspension of the glasses. They must NOT rest on the nose for any more than a brief period of time within the first 3 to 4 weeks following surgery. It is also important to note that your glasses may need to be refitted because of alterations in the shape of the nose may change the resting place for the glasses.
  • Exercise is prohibited for at least two weeks following surgery because of the possibility of nasal bleeding.
  • The dressing must be kept dry or the external splint may be disrupted, again compromising your final result. Bathing is permitted but soaking the nasal area and dressing is to be avoided.
  • Typically a light tape and plastic external nasal dressing is present after surgery along with surgical rubber splints, which have been placed inside the nose. Both the internal and external dressings are removed one week following surgery and arrangements for an office visit will be made prior to your leaving the surgical area.
  • Sun avoidance for several months is important following surgery so as to avoid any excess sun damage to the nasal skin. If you anticipate outdoor activity, sunscreen is mandatory. A sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater is advisable.
  • Airline travel should be limited in the immediate week following surgery so as to avoid any possibility of sinus blockage.

Medications after Surgery:

  • A prescription for pain medication will be given to you to take home. Most often Tylenol with Codeine is used for pain control in most cases. Obviously, driving a car or any potentially dangerous activity is to be avoided because the pain medication can alter your performance.
  • Antibiotics are frequently prescribed after surgery. It is important that you take all of the medication prescribed even though you may feel well. Avoid taking pain medications and antibiotics at the same time as the combination may cause stomach upset. Try to eat when taking these medications to further reduce stomach irritation.
  • Moisturizers: A small dab of Vaseline ointment or Aquaphor ointment can be placed just inside the nostril with a q-tip twice a day to minimize the amount of nasal crusting that occurs after surgery. Saline mist spray, which can be purchased at a drug store without a prescription, is also helpful in relieving the degree of nasal congestion. Use the spray at least several times per day.
  • A Q-tip moistened with hydrogen peroxide may be swabbed in the nose 2 to 3 times a day to reduce nasal crusting.