The recovery phase is just as important as the rhinoplasty surgery itself. The patients can face many complications if care is not taken during this period. Recovery differs from person to person and is usually a matter of how the body adjusts itself to this sudden shift in its skeletal structure.
Since the nose is the most prominent feature on anybody’s face, it usually gives the people an uneasy feeling during recovery period. If the patient is aware of all the things that are to be expected after surgery and during the recovery period he/she will be better prepared to handle the stress and the annoyances which come with any plastic surgery.
By following the instructions and advice given by your doctor to the T you are more likely to have a smooth transition period from recovery to normal daily activities. The advice is given to you based on decades of experience and thousands of nose job surgeries. Slacking off on your precautions and medications will only worsen the case as your immunity is very sensitive during this period.
Pay Heed to Your Surgeon’s Advice
When you enter the clinic of rhinoplasty surgeon in Kuwait for the first time and go through the entire consultation procedure, you will be given detailed instructions as to what to expect during your recovery process and a list of dos and don’ts which you have to adhere to sincerely.
Casting Placed After the Surgery
After the completion of surgery, a small aluminum frame/casting is placed over the nose for protection. This is done so that the new structure remains in place and the skin adjusts its elasticity to the cartilages and bones in the nose.
This cast will be removed within a week’s time or as deemed fit by your surgeon. Some people show quicker healing response while others take some time before the healing speeds up.
Nasal Packing and Intranasal Splints
These are the packing given to the internal parts of your nose and especially the area which has been operated. Regardless of whether you undergo open rhinoplasty or closed rhinoplasty you will have these intranasal splints supporting the interior walls of your nose.
Due to the advancements in the field of plastic surgery over the years, nasal packing is not compulsory after the procedures. But the surgeons take extra precautions and place them anyway. Some surgeons prefer using soft silicone splints to stabilize the internal walls of the nose. This is done during the first week.
The temporary splints do not block the airway and help the nose from clogging up due to swelling on the inside. They also hold the structure steady so that the soft tissues do not get affected by gravity and start sagging.
Depending on your healing progress, the splints and the cast you will be removed after a week’s time. This time frame is left to the surgeon to decide. If he thinks your nasal structure requires more time to heal then he will keep them in place for another week or two.
Read about the anatomy of the nose and which parts are operated upon
Resting at Home
After the surgery your body will be in a rather weak position to do any kind of strenuous activity. Even the works which are normal for you might bring in extra pressure on your sensitive nasal structure. Therefore, rest as much as possible and avoid anything that can increase our heartbeat. Breathing faster can cause internal bleeding as the air and other airborne particles can cause bruising on the interior walls.
Keep your head and nose in a higher upright position with the help of a pillow. The heart should be below this level so that the blood does not rush towards your head. This position also helps in reducing your swelling to a greater extent.
Due to the surgery the inner walls are usually swollen causing a partial or complete blockage of airway. This will prove to be bothersome as breathing will have to be done by mouth all the time. But, if temporary interior splints are in place they stop the nasal walls from swelling and blocking the airway completely. This will help you in slowly breathing through your nose. You may also take in moderate quantity prescription decongestant (Sudafed) to ease the swelling.
Discharge from the nostrils
Once the surgery is over there is usually a drip pad placed under the nostrils to collect mucus, fluids and blood. During your normal days, the excessive oozing is the way of your nasal walls to clear off any foreign particle which it detects. Since after surgery the entire nasal structure is sensitive it sends the signals to your brain that something needs to be cleared out. Hence, there is excessive oozing.
This excessive fluid expulsion is present for a day or two. Later, the oozing will stop yet occasionally you may have to clear it. The drip pad needs to be changed as and when required.
Cleaning the Nostrils
Unlike the normal days when you can just blow off your nose and feel relieved of any discomfort, post-surgery period is crucial. You are forbidden from blowing your nostrils even slightly. Instead, you are advised to clean the insides gently with Q-tips soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Later, use an antiseptic ointment (Mupirocin) to prevent blood crusting.
You can remove the tape attached to your nose and cheeks and also get rid of the drip pad once you feel that the oozing has stopped. Occasional cleaning should be done during the day to prevent the buildup of mucus and bacteria. The bacteria can worsen the swelling and slow down the healing. So, take care not to let that happen.
Preventing Dried Blood in the Nostrils
Our body’s natural mechanism kicks in whenever we have an injury. It works hard to stop blood loss. This causes blood crusting in the nostrils. Blood crusts can be painful to remove. They get attached to the internal walls and may cause further bleeding when you try to take them off forcefully.
To prevent the blood from crusting, use the cleaning method with solution prescribed above. The gentle swirling motions help in moistening the nasal walls and prevent the blood from drying up.
You are required to take precaution during the cleaning. If you find some part hard to reach or find that there is a layer of skin or blood attached, then do not force the cotton swabs into that area. Let it heal naturally.
The stitches will be removed after a week or so. If the surgeon finds that the skin has not yet healed, he may keep them for another week. The incision area can be cleaned with antiseptic and ointment can be applied until all the marks have disappeared.
Recovery from Complex Rib Cartilage Graft Procedure
Usually the rhinoplasty surgery is accomplished by making use of the grafts from the cartilages in the nose itself. Sometimes, due to the complexity of the case or when the nasal structure is totally damaged in an accident, the surgeon has to make use of grafts from the rib.
This procedure requires the patient to spend one night at the surgery center unlike other nose jobs where you are discharged within a day. The time required is also more when compared to the usual operation. Typically this surgery takes about 4 to 5 hours.
The swelling is more and the healing is slower in this surgery. The patient may need more time to recover and getting back to normal routine may take longer. Usually the person can start working after 2 weeks of rest without any straining or heavy lifting. Exercises can be started with a very light intensity after 3 weeks.
Final Words on your recovery expectations
Patience is the key to smoother recovery without any complications. Your overall body is going through a change to accept this new nose which has been artificially created by a person whom you trust. It will take some time for your mind to accept this fact and live with it for the rest of its life.
Take everything gently for the first few months even though you are confident that you can resume your usual routine. Once the surgeon gives you a green signal you can then begin engaging in your day to day activities with a new vigor.
You will also be happy that your patience paid off when you look in the mirror and find the beautiful nose staring back at you with a sincere thank you.