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How do I reduce swelling after rhinoplasty?

Everyone’s rhinoplasty recovery is different, some patients experience bruising and others experience swelling to the nose and face. No rhinoplasty procedure is the same and it’s important to not to compare yourself to others, as your body is unique, and your healing journey is unique to you!

June 18th, 2021 |Ask an Expert

What causes swelling following a rhinoplasty procedure?

Bruising and swelling is a natural part of recovery and is the body’s natural response to invasive surgery. Rhinoplasty patients should expect some bruising to the face, this should subside after 7-14 days.

Swelling typically takes 1-12 weeks to reduce and can appear on the bridge and tip of the nose, in between the brows and with some patients it can occur across the whole face. Swelling will continue to reduce over several months, but it can take up to 1 year post-op to see the final nose result.

Does alcohol make your nose swell?

Patients may experience swelling to the nose after drinking alcohol or spending times in hot temperatures, this is natural and nothing to be concerned about.

 How do I reduce swelling after rhinoplasty?

While there isn’t one simple rule to follow to reduce rhinoplasty swelling, following these simple steps will help swelling to go down safely and more quickly.

The following instructions can help reduce swelling following rhinoplasty surgery:

  • DO NOT tamper with or remove your splint at any point; the clinic nurse will remove this during your post-operative appointment under the instruction of the surgeon.

  • You must be cautious when sneezing, avoid aggressive sneezing and try to sneeze through your mouth.

  •  It is important the splint stays dry; wash around the area but avoid hot baths/showers as the steam can cause the splint to loosen.

  • You are encouraged to breathe through your mouth and drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dry and dehydrated.

  • No blowing your nose for 6 weeks.

  • No flying on an aeroplane, MYA advise that you wait at least 4 weeks to fly short-haul and 6 weeks long-haul post-surgery.

  • No physical sport, exercise, or attending the gym for 6-8 weeks post-op. Heavy lifting and contact sports, can be resumed between 6 months -1 year post-op. Individual circumstances should be discussed with your MYA surgeon and clinical team.

  • No swimming or use of saunas or steam rooms for 6-8 weeks or until you are advised by your surgeon and clinical team at MYA that it is safe to resume these activities.

  • Ensure that you sleep propped up on pillows with your shoulders raised for the first 7-10 days, the elevation helps to reduce swelling.

  • Avoid sleeping face down or resting on your nose for at least 6 weeks post-op.

  • Do not wear glasses for 6 months; your nasal bone is not fully healed and remains soft for 6 months post-operatively.

  • Avoid exposure to the sun for 6 months, hot temperatures can cause the nose to swell.

  • Do not touch/massage the nose for 4 months.

  • Do not follow advice from your peers or other patients as everyone’s journey is different, it is vital you stick to the guidance provided by your MYA surgeon and clinical team.

  • For the first 3 days post-operatively, it is advisable to apply a cold compress to your cheeks, ensuring that this is not applied to the nose.

  • Drink at least 6 to 8 (1.2 – 1.6 litres) glasses of water a day to keep hydrated.

  • Eating a balanced diet will help your body to rebuild the damaged tissue to the nose, which in turn will speed up your recovery. Include plenty of protein-rich foods, such as nuts, meats, eggs, yoghurt and fish. (Limiting your dietary salt intake may help reduce the fluid retention underneath your nose.)

  • Quit smoking -you will already be aware of our smoking guidelines pre and post-operatively; the nicotine in tobacco products will reduce oxygen-rich blood supply to your nose and can interfere with the healing process.

  • Use a gentle mouth wash or rinse with water to keep your mouth clean and fresh.

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