Rhinoplasty Q & A

Q: How soon after rhinoplasty can I try for pregnancy? I had my surgery 2 weeks ago exactly.

A: The “wait time” to get pregnant following a rhinoplasty solely depends on your healing process and your medications. Most surgeons prescribe pain medication and an antibiotic which are two strong medications that should not be in your system if you are trying to get pregnant. When you are finished with your medications, I would wait an additional week and then you should be ready to go. Also, you can always check with your obstetrician for another opinion.

Q: What causes fluctuations in swelling after rhinoplasty?

A: Fluctuations in swelling after rhinoplasty are to be expected and are completely normal. Swelling can last for up to a year, but you can have periods during that year when it looks great, and then after sleeping at night it can swell again. The drainage pathways of the nasal skin have to reestablish themselves and that can take months.

Massaging the nose is a key element in the recovery period which helps reduce the swelling and will speed up your healing progress. Definitely continue to do all the things mentioned and follow up with your surgeon for a post operative visit.

Q: Rhinoplasty 4 days ago – Why would one of my nostrils be so much smaller than the other?

A: Since surgery was only performed 4 days ago, it is too soon to be concerned with the appearance of your results. One nostril may look smaller than the other, because one is more swollen. Also, the cast or dressing may be compressing it in a way that makes it look different, and when the cast is taken off, the nostril may return to normal. Ultimately, swelling can be present for several months, but be sure to discuss your concerns with your surgeon as soon as possible.

Q: Can I have oral sedation for a rhinoplasty or is anesthesia my only option?

A: IV sedation during a rhinoplasty is usually not the recommendation of most plastic surgeons. With general anesthesia the airway is protected from any blood that may drip down the back of the throat. Also, you will be in a relaxing state of sleep, so you won’t feel anything that is happening during surgery. When you wake up it will all over and you won’t remember a thing. With IV sedation, you may move some which could disrupt surgery and you may start coughing which could endanger the airway. Safety is always very important, so discuss your options with your board certified facial plastic surgeon.

Q: Is swelling 2 months post-op normal after rhinoplasty?

A: Swelling after rhinoplasty should be expected, and is normal. You will start noticing a change in the shape of your nose right after surgery, but it may take a few weeks for some of the swelling to subside. After the surgery it could take several months to one year for all of the swelling to go down and to see the final result of the surgery. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your surgeon.

Q: Bad smell after nose surgery – is it an infection?

A: Smoking is not advisable before any surgery because it can can slow down your healing process, but it generally will not cause a strange odor. Sutures themselves do not cause an odor, but sometimes they can attract crust which can cause an odor. Crusting is perfectly normal 3 weeks after rhinoplasty and can cause a strange odor up to two months after surgery. Infections are rare in the nose, but I would call your surgeon to make an appointment so he can examine you and answer any questions you may have.

Q: Can I work outdoors after a rhinoplasty if I use sunscreen?

A: Applying sunscreen to the nose is necessary after rhinoplasty as your nose will be more sensitive to the sun after surgery. As long as it is used faithfully, no permanent damage should occur to the nose. Make sure to especially cover the incision site, because the sun can cause skin discoloration. Since it has only been three weeks since your surgery, you still need to be careful regarding strenuous activities. You can work out and run, but you don’t want to be in a situation where the nose can get hit – that could cause permanent damage. It is always wise to check with your surgeon if you have any questions concerning your surgery.

Q: I play violent sports. Is a nose job right for me?

A: I would recommend holding off on the rhinoplasty until you are less active. After rhinoplasty, the bones heal with close to normal strength, but if you got hit directly you could certainly fracture it again. Then you would require the time off and expense of having the surgery performed again. If you seek out a board certified facial plastic surgeon or a plastic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty, your chances of having a bad nose job will be low.