Follow Your Nose

You have elected to undergo rhinoplasty, which changes the look and structure of your nose. All the preparations have been handled, appointments made and kept, and the operation is finished. So, what do you do now?

There are several things you have to look for, manage, and tend when recovering from a rhinoplasty surgery. Failure to take proper care of your wounds and dressings can cause infections and worse, so proper care must be adhered to while you are recovering for the best possible outcome.

Now that you’re home from the hospital, what can you expect?

  • Bleeding: For about a week after your surgery, you may experience a little bleeding.
  • Swelling: Your face will swell, generally occurring around your nose, and should subside within two weeks.
  • Blocked nasal passages: Due to the blood, mucus, and swelling inside your nose, expect it to be blocked for the first week or so after your surgery.

Caring for Your Nose

There are a few things you are recommended to do for your nose after coming home from the procedure. Taking the time to properly care for your nose after rhinoplasty will help you recover faster and with better results. After all, one of the biggest reasons for having rhinoplasty is to correct noses damaged by accident or illness, or for noses that aren’t as pleasing as they should be. Not taking care of your new nose after a procedure like rhinoplasty could ruin the looks and performance of your nose, making the entire operation an exercise in futility.

When you come home, you should:

  • Avoid blowing your nose. Blowing your nose can damage injured and healing nasal passages, and break your stitches. If care is not taken, scarring or permanent damage to your sense of smell could occur.
  • Do not insert anything into your nose. Any object, even a cotton swab used for cleaning, could damage your nose. Don’t put anything in it, not even your finger.
  • Do not apply ice. Don’t apply any ice to your nose, unless instructed to by a doctor.
  • Avoid trauma. Do not bend over, rub or touch your nose. Also, try to avoid bumping it or sleeping on it. Any contact could cause damage to your nose after surgery, especially in the time period right after coming home from the hospital.
  • Don’t wear glasses. This goes back to avoiding bumping your nose or putting undue stress on it in the time immediately following a rhinoplasty procedure.

Care must be taken to avoid complications and to speed along healing. Otherwise, your nose could develop a nasty infection or other problems that can slow down your recovery and interfere with your nose healing in a healthy and proper way. If you do not carefully follow your doctor’s instructions, you could have scarring – or worse – you could permanently damage your nose beyond what is medically possible to fix.

And remember to do exactly what the doctor tells you, he is trying to ensure your procedure will be one the both of you can be happy with, while avoiding any painful and possibly disfiguring complications that can come from poor after-care.

Take any prescribed medicines exactly as instructed. Try not to skip doses if possible, and do not stop taking them. Take them until there is no more, exactly like it says on the bottle. Avoid aspirin as well; aspirin is a blood thinner, and can cause you to bleed much longer than you should while stopping the natural clotting action of your blood. Keep your head elevated, get lots of rest and follow up with your doctor.

Following your doctor’s instructions can help you and your nose quickly reach a full recovery, and before long, you will again be able to savor the sweet smell of success.

Dr. Michael Barakate is a pediatric and adult otolaryngologist located in Sydney, Australia offering rhinoplasty procedures at

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