1) What do I look like when I wake up from surgery?
Following the procedure, you will have a cast on your nose with a drip pad under your nose to collect the mucous drainage. Your nose will be swollen. You may have some bruising under your eyes, however, this typically is more pronounced 24-48 hours after the procedure.
2) How long will bruising and swelling last?
For most patients, bruising and swelling lasts about a week. If you bruise easily, it could last up to two weeks, however, this is uncommon.
3) Can I do anything to prevent bruising?
Most patents will have a little bruising. We can minimize bruising by using Arnica before and after the procedure. Arnica is a natural “herb” that helps prevent bruising.
4) What does it feel like when I wake up from surgery?
Your nose will be stuffy – like having a bad head cold – and you may experience a headache. We will make sure you are not nauseated or queasy. Our nurses will be right there with you as you wake up from surgery to give you special attention. You may notice numbness on the roof of the mouth or behind the two front teeth. This will resolve with time.
5) Tell me more about the nasal packing.
After surgery your nose will be packed with soft nasal packing. There will be soft silastic splints along each side of your septum (divider of the inside of the nose) and a cast on the outside of your nose. The nasal packing will prevent breathing through your nose so you will have to breathe through your mouth. Your mouth will become very dry. Drinks at the bedside along with a humidifier (cool or warm) may help.
6) What’s a drip pad?
Following surgery, soft gauze dressing is placed under your nose to contain draining red-tinged mucous. This drainage through your packs onto your drip pad is normal. Following your procedure the nurses will teach you how to change the drip pad, which you will need for about 24-48 hours.
7) Why do I have tearing after surgery?
You may notice that tears run down your cheeks. This is due to swelling and will subside during the first week following surgery.
8) When can I blow my nose?
You are not allowed to blow your nose for one week. Avoiding nose blowing minimizes bleeding and swelling following surgery.
9) When I’m awake enough, can I drive myself home?
No. Someone will need to drive you home after your surgery and stay with you that evening. Someone will need to drive you back to the Lindsay House the following morning for packing removal.
10) Does someone have to stay overnight with me after surgery?
Yes. You must arrange ahead of time for a responsible adult to stay with you the first night following surgery.
11) Are there any dietary restrictions following surgery?
No. Patients can eat whatever they want. Advance your diet from liquids to soft food to solids as tolerated. Please drink as much fluid as you can which will help you from becoming dehydrated. Also, it’s not uncommon to have temporary numbness on the roof of the mouth (palate) behind the front teeth following nasal surgery so you may want to avoid extremely hot beverages immediately following surgery.
12) Will I need any special prescriptions following surgery?
Yes. Postoperative prescriptions are provided well in advance of surgery day so you arrive home completely prepared. Postoperative prescriptions and over-the-counter medications for rhinoplasty patients include the following:
A) An antibiotic (usually Keflex/cephalexin) after surgery to prevent infection.
B) Swelling medication (Medrol Dosepak/methyl prednisolone) to take after surgery to minimize swelling.
C) Pain medication (usually Vicodin/hydrocodone) to minimize any discomfort following surgery.
D) Ointment (Polysporin/bacitracin) to place on the incision and gently in the base of the nostrils.
E) Saline spray to irrigate your nose following surgery. This will promote wound healing, prevent infection and help with effects of swelling inside the nose.
F) Over the counter Arnica to minimize bruising.
G) Vitamin C for one week following surgery to promote healing. It is important to continue to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, Vitamin E, etc. for one week following surgery to prevent bleeding in the postoperative period.
13) When do I start taking these prescriptions?
Patients take their pain medication as needed. The other medications begin the evening following the procedure.
14) When can I shower?
The nasal cast must remain dry and in place for one week following surgery. Therefore, you should not shower until after the cast is removed. You may bathe and wash your hair in the sink any time following the procedure.
15) What if my cast falls off?
While you are asleep, we warm the material that is used for your cast and gently apply it to your nose. As the cast cools, it takes the shape of your nose so it stays in place. It is very uncommon for a cast to fall off. If it does, just call us and we’ll give you specific instructions. You will have a phone number to reach us 24 hours a day.
16) What if I have a lot of bleeding?
It ‘s not uncommon for patients to be anxious about this. We will teach you ahead of time how much drainage is too much. Our physicians and staff are available 24 hours a day to see you or just reassure you. If you have too much drainage, most commonly we meet patients in the office to help decrease the bleeding. You will be given the telephone number for our professional answering service if you need to page us for any concern.
17) When is my first postoperative appointment?
You will be asked to come to the Lindsay House the following day for packing removal. Removal of nasal packing has been described by most patients as discomfort rather than pain. Packing removal will help relieve some of the pressure, however, due to swelling, you will not be able to breathe well through your nose for one week.
18) Are there any instructions about routine daily activities?
Sleep with head of the bed elevated or use two to three pillows. Sneeze with your mouth open and do not blow your nose for seven days. Nasal congestion, facial fullness, headache and disrupted sleep are very normal postoperative symptoms and will decrease as the healing process occurs. Absolutely no bending, lifting or straining. If you have little children, bend at the knees or sit on the floor and let them climb on to your lap.
19) When will I look normal?
Most of our patients tell us that they look “normal” at about two weeks. You will still notice swelling and your final result is still a ways off. However, at two weeks you know you are well on the way to recovery.
20) How long does healing take?
Healing from rhinoplasty to evaluate the final result takes one full year. However, after three months, most patients have about 90% of their final result.
21) Can I wear my glasses or contacts after rhinoplasty?
It’s best to allow a day or so before using your contact lenses following rhinoplasty. It’s not uncommon for patients to tell us that giving their eyes a temporary rest from the contact lenses feels good for the first two to three days following rhinoplasty. It’s OK to rest your glasses on the nasal cast. However, one week following rhinoplasty the cast is removed. At that time we will show you how to use the Frame-Ups® to prevent your eyewear from resting directly on your nose. We strongly recommend that you use the frame-ups for postoperative week #2 – which is the week following cast removal.