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After Rhinoplasty

Published on December 4, 2012 by

Like any other surgical procedure, recovering from a rhinoplasty requires an ample amount of healing time and patience. Carefully following your doctor’s postoperative instructions is crucial to the outcome of your procedure. Learn what to expect after your rhinoplasty and the steps you can take to ensure a healthy recovery.

Wound Care

You can clean the inside of your nose with a cotton swab soaked in a solution that contains both water and hydrogen peroxide. We will also provide you with an antibiotic prescription antibacterial ointment that you can also apply with a cotton swab 2-3 times each day.

After the Procedure

Most patients experience mild-to-moderate discomfort following rhinoplasty. This can be alleviated by taking the pain medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pain is mild, you can take extra strength Tylenol. You should not take any medications that contain ibuprofen, including Advil, Motrin or Midol. These products can increase your risk of bleeding.

A small splint will be placed on your nose immediately after the procedure. It is essential that you do not attempt to move the splint or bandaging around your nose. This will be removed by your surgeon one week after the procedure. You can expect your face to feel puffy and some bruising and swelling around your nose. You can reduce swelling and pain by applying a cold compress to the area.

It is possible to experience mild nausea and vomiting during the first day after your rhinoplasty. You should alert your doctor as soon as possible if your nausea and vomiting is severe or if you are unable to keep liquids down. A medication to alleviate any of these symptoms will be prescribed to you. Nasal congestion is also common, and you can expect nasal blockage while you recover. While you should not blow your nose for at least one week after the procedure, you can use a saline nose spray to make your feel more comfortable. Typically, 3-4 sprays for each nostril several times each day will be sufficient.

Activity Restrictions

Keeping your upper body elevated is essential after your procedure. You should sleep on your back while remaining elevated 30-40 degrees for at least two weeks following your rhinoplasty. Doing so will help you avoid placing unnecessary pressure on your nose and help to allow swelling to dissipate quicker. Sleeping on a recliner is ideal for the first day or two after surgery, and will place your body in the proper position while you recover. To avoid bumping your nose while you are asleep, you can also consider sleeping alone for 1-2 weeks after your procedure.

While you are allowed to wear glasses while wearing your nose splint, you should not rest glasses on your nose for at least four weeks after the splint has been removed. This can place pressure on your nose and may alter the appearance of your nose. Your doctor will illustrate techniques that you can use to wear your glasses off the bridge of your nose. You are allowed to wear contact lenses the day after your surgery.

Strenuous activities should be avoided for a few weeks following the procedure. You should also avoid lifting or picking up anything weighing more than 10 pounds, including children. Sun exposure should be avoided for several months after your rhinoplasty. Frequent exposure to the sun may cause the skin on your nose to become discolored.


After surgery you can start with broths, clear liquids and soft, bland foods and gradually progress to other foods when you are able. After you resume a normal diet, you should focus on eating foods that are rich in protein and fiber, as this will help your recovery. Drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages and smoking should be avoided and will prolong your recovery period.