What happens after a rhinoplasty operation?

Once the operation is completed, you will have a cast together with tapes over the bridge of your nose and may have plastic splints within your nose. In approximately 1 in 20 cases, nasal packing may be required. These are removed the following day. There is usually minimal pain when you wake after the operation as Dr Michael uses a long-acting local anaesthetic which numbs the nerves that supply the nose.

You will return to the ward and will usually have an overnight stay. The tip of your nose will feel numb as nerves to sensation have to be cut. The sensation to this area usually returns after about 3 months as the nerves regrow but some people may still have an area of numbness over the nasal tip.

If the nasal bones had required realignment, you may develop bruising underneath the eyes. This has usually settled by 2 weeks after your operation. Your nose will be swollen for a period of a few weeks and you may see a difference in swelling between the morning and evening.

Generally, you will require approximately 2 weeks off from work. However, you may feel well enough to return to work after a week if you are undertaking desk duties alone. You may still feel congested and may have some bleeding at this time. The congestion sensation can feel like a heavy cold and persist for 6 weeks.

Dr Michael will see you after five days to remove stitches, your external and internal nasal splints. Taping over the bridge of your nose will be replaced. During this time, you will require antibiotics and also to wash your nose with salt water. Discomfort is usually managed with Panadol.

Your nose will likely look very swollen initially. During the course of the next few months, swelling will decrease and healing will be continuing. This means that the tip of your nose may feel firm and then soften with time.

Additionally, the shape of your nose may change. In fact, after a few weeks the nose will be about 80% of the final result and 90% at about 2 months.

While your nose is healing, it is gaining strength and so it is important to avoid injury to it. This includes refraining from exercise for 6 weeks and all contact sports even after that period. Small children at home can be notorious for hitting noses that have had operations!

Also, limit sun exposure with a wide brimmed hat and high factor sun lotion. Moisturising cream can be helpful to the skin of the nose. In particular, using cream may help limit the amount of bruising that will develop. Some people develop an acne type skin after the operation but this usually settles. 

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