The Care Involved After a Rhinoplasty

Currently, rhinoplasty is a very safe surgery that rarely requires hospitalization. The risks of complications are low, but to avoid them, you need to carefully follow all medical recommendations. Today, we'll tell you about the care required after a rhinoplasty.
The Care Involved After a Rhinoplasty

Last update: 10 May, 2021

Rhinoplasty is one of the most in-demand surgeries nowadays by both women and men. Most of the time, individuals choose the procedure for aesthetic purposes.

However, there are also a good number of cases in which it’s necessary for health and quality of life reasons. Most often, rhinoplasty doesn’t cause complications, as it’s a safe procedure, even routine. But this doesn’t mean that, after a rhinoplasty, patients won’t experience discomfort or that it doesn’t require the care that’s typical of any surgical intervention.

As is usually the case with any operation, a good outcome also depends precisely on the postoperative care. Although the operation isn’t highly complex, it does require each patient to rigorously follow medical indications.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is rhinoplasty?

A surgeon performing a rhinoplasty.
A rhinoplasty is a surgical practice with the usual risks that this entails.

Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that doctors perform to change the appearance of the nose, correct a functional problem of the nose, or both. When the purpose is to correct some anomaly of the nasal airway and, at the same time, change the appearance of the nose, the surgery is called septoplasty.

Rhinoplasty allows for the modification of the bone of the nose, the cartilage of the same, and the skin that forms it, or all at once. This surgery doesn’t simply seek to reshape the nose but helps to achieve facial harmony. Therefore, all facial features are taken into account to make the changes.

Rhinoplasty can increase or decrease the size of the nose. Also, it can modify the shape of the tip, make the opening of the nostrils smaller, or transform the angle between the nose and the upper lip of the mouth. Non-surgical rhinoplasty is an alternative to changing the shape of the nose without resorting to surgery.

Types and procedures

There are basically two types of rhinoplasty: Open and closed. An open rhinoplasty involves making an incision in the middle part of the nose to access the deep areas. A closed rhinoplasty, on the other hand, is performed through the nostrils and doesn’t require external incisions.

Most rhinoplasties are outpatient surgeries and only require a short hospital stay in special cases. Generally, the procedure takes no more than two hours and only requires local anesthesia and mild sedation. In some cases, it may require general anesthesia.

Typically, changes in the tip of the nose or augmentation of the nose will require an external incision. On the other hand, if the nose is only going to be refined, this type of incision isn’t usually necessary. Sometimes, a hard splint is required to keep the bone stable after surgery or a soft splint to keep the septum stable.

The immediate postoperative period

A diagram showing the different parts of the nose.
Doctors may recommend rhinoplasty to solve an anatomical problem of the nose.

In most cases, the patient remains in the hospital between 6 and 12 hours, after which they’ll be discharged. From the first moment, the patient must take appropriate measures to avoid complications, which mainly include the following:

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Nosebleeds
  • Infections

It’s important to rest for the first 24 hours after rhinoplasty. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to lie down all the time, but you need to reduce activity as much as possible. In fact, you should avoid performing any intense physical exercise in the following 15 days.

In the first hours, a mucous flow appears which should be gently wiped away or simply allowed to be absorbed by the gauze. You’ll have to cough or sneeze with your mouth open and sleep in a semi-sitting position to reduce swelling.

Over the next few days, the nose may become blocked due to the discharge. To unclog the nose, it’s best to irrigate it with a few drops of saline solution in each nostril every 30 minutes. Hygiene of the nostrils should be done with a swab and very gently.

Rhinoplasty care

After a week, it’s very rare for swelling to remain. In any case, it’s best to avoid going out of the house as much as possible because temperature changes hinder healing. It’s common for the first postoperative consultation to take place after 7 days and the doctor will indicate the care to be followed.

In the following three weeks, care should be taken to avoid bumps and to avoid wearing glasses over the bridge of the nose. It’s not good to carry heavy weights, as this may cause difficulties. Likewise, you should avoid practicing intense sports, especially if they’re contact sports.

Finally, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t travel by plane during the 15 days following the operation because the pressurized cabins are a factor that can cause bleeding.

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  • Córdoba, M. (2017). Transformaciones históricas de la cirugía estética como dispositivo de normalización. El caso de la rinoplastia. Athenea Digital. Revista de pensamiento e investigación social, 17(1), 57-78.