Rhinoplasty Post Operative Care
- You will have an external splint on the outside of your nose. Please keep it dry. It will be removed with any external stitches 1 week after your surgery. It is helpful to get the splint wet during your shower on the day it is due to be removed. It will then slip off more comfortably.
- You will be given a prescription for 1 week of oral antibiotics, please take the full course
- An antibiotic ointment will be prescribed. This needs to be applied twice daily to any suture lines for 1 week. Typically the suture line is along the undersurface of the nasal tip and inside both nostril rims.
- You will be given a salt water spray – either a low volume spray (eg FESS spray) or a high volume douche (eg Flo or NeilMed Sinus rinse). The salt water spray should be used at least twice daily but can be used more often to assist with breathing. It is common for this to not flow easily in one nostril and out the other side during the first week due to the presence of internal nasal splints.
- Some patients find a decongestant helpful (optional) eg Otrovin/Drixine. This can assist with breathing and also help settle down minor bleeding episodes.
- Take the pain medication as needed. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen, they may cause a nose bleed.
- Expect your nose to be congested as if you have a cold. This is normal swelling of your air passages.
- Do not blow your nose for 1 week as this may cause bleeding.
- Minor bleeding is common for a few days.
- The tip of the nose may feel numb for some time. This is normal and will recover.
- Internal splints are sometimes necessary. If these are placed they will be removed in approximately 1 week.
- You may feel tired and run down for the first few weeks.
- Please do not smoke as it slows down wound healing.
- It is common to have bruising around the eyes, this will settle within a week or so.
- The shape of the nose will take several weeks to settle and for swelling to subside. This is significant surgery and the final result may take 6 to 12 months to achieve. Please be patient.
- You should be reviewed at 1 week post-op or as directed. Your splints and sutures will be removed and you can discuss any concerns.
Tips for your comfort
- Rest as much as you can, keep your head elevated at all times. Do not lean over. It is best if you can sleep with your head up using 3 to 4 pillows.
- Use ice packs to reduce bruising and swelling around the eyes and cheeks. Do not apply pressure to the nose.
- You will need 7 days off work
- Avoid exercise or any aerobic activity for 2 weeks.
- Do not rub your nose.
- If you need to sneeze, open your mouth and sneeze through your mouth.
- Avoid the sun and accidental knocks for 8 weeks. Wear sunscreen for 6 months.
- Avoid wearing glasses for 2 weeks
- You may shower but keep your nose dry while any dressings are in place.
- Avoid spicy foods, big meals and excess alcohol as they can make your nose run.
- If you have splints in your nose you may notice your ears may pop or bubble when you swallow. This will settle down when the splints are removed.
Contact Dr Roth at once if you have any of the following concerns –
- Fever more than 38.5C
- Excessive bleeding
- Excessive or increasing pain
- Increasing redness around the skin or incision
- If you are disturbed or concerned about any aspect of your surgery
Answers to common questions
- Most patients take around 10 days off work.
- Avoid swimming for 2 weeks
- You can fly immediately after your surgery but be aware that during the first week you may still be having some nose bleeds which may be inconvenient. Generally waiting 10 days before flying is recommended.
- You can carefully wash your face around the external splint after surgery, just avoid getting the splint wet as it may fall off early. Once the splint is removed you can wash your nose gently.
- Bleeding on and off is normal during the first week. If you are having sinus surgery as well as a rhinoplasty procedure you can expect more bleeding as there is a much larger internal area which is healing.
You can download this information above as a printable .pdf file here: Rhinoplasty post-op information.
More specific instructions will be given at your week 1 and week 2 post-operative visits. You can read these her:
1. Week one post-op rhinoplasty information
2. Week two post-op rhinoplasty information