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Rhinoplasty for Men: What to Expect During Your Recovery

By Dr. Charles J. Galanis

Follow these tried-and-true tips to ensure a smooth road to recovery following your rhinoplasty procedure.

The hardest part is over.  You finally underwent your rhinoplasty procedure and now it’s time to clock some serious R&R to ensure your new nose shape heals completely, leaving you with the facial profile, symmetry, and overall look you’ve been looking forward to all this time.  As with most surgical procedures, it’s highly recommended you practice patience, trust the process, and follow your step-by-step post-op plan given to you by your doctor.  Also, be sure to stay committed to all your follow-up appointments to help evaluate your surgery’s success and address any issues that may arise. 

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the inimitable nose job accounts for the most common facial plastic surgery procedure with more than 220,000 procedures performed annually.  While most men seek a rhinoplasty for purely cosmetic reasons and to help boost physical confidence, many undergo the procedure for its other, non-cosmetic benefits, such as:

  • Cure sleep apnea/snoring issues
  • Improve breathing problems
  • Eliminate chronic sinus infections
  • Correct a deviated septum
  • Fix a broken nose due to injury/accident

Cosmetic benefits of undergoing a rhinoplasty include:

  • Balancing facial features/addressing symmetry
  • Enhance/correct nostril width and shape, bridge width, remove lumps/bumps, and correct a misshapen nasal tip

The Road to Recovery is Paved with Smooth Intentions

For most male patients, a full recovery from their rhinoplasty can take up to a full year following their procedure.  This includes a considerable and unsightly amount of swelling and bruising/discoloration, which will completely subside within a few weeks or less.  However, the final, new nose contour will not reveal itself for quite some time, with gradual changes emerging as the months progress, so patience must be put into play to help make the entire post-op process go as expected without worry or fear of the worst.  Soft, internal tissues inside the nasal cavity take longest to heal, hence the “one-year to full recovery” expectation. So, while most men will begin noticing subtle differences as swelling subsides and soft tissues begin to heal, it’s best to stick to the following steps and stay committed to your recovery journey to ensure the most desired results. 

Here’s what to expect:

  • Most rhinoplasties are performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you will go home that same day.  Be sure you have a reliable drive home from a friend or loved one following your procedure, as you will feel discombobulated from the anesthesia after-effects.
  • The surgical site will be packed/splinted on the inside and the nose will be covered with dressings on the outside to provide adequate protection and support to the newly shaped nose.
  • Dressings will need to stay in place for about 1 week or longer before removal, along with sutures, if any.
  • Most swelling will take place within the first week or two before beginning to completely subside.
  • Be prepared for unsightly bruising/discoloration around the nose, cheeks, and under the eyes for up to two weeks.
  • Pain and/or sleeping medication can be prescribed if needed. However, refrain from consuming aspirin to avoid excessive bleeding.
  • Keep lips moisturized with lip balm or petroleum jelly, as most of your breathing will be done through your mouth during the first week or so.
  • IMPORTANT:  Be sure to keep moisturizer AWAY from splint and dressing to avoid premature removal and/or destabilization of the new nose contour.
  • Avoid chewing gum or hard-to-chew foods. Stick to soups, cereals, mashed potatoes, yogurts, ice cream, etc.
  • You will be instructed on how to “clear” the nasal cavity using Afrin or like product. Be sure you clean your nose up to 4 times daily, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
  • Avoid picking scabs/crusty particles from the nose. Do NOT insert fingers, tweezers, scissors, cotton swabs, etc., into your nose.  If you feel something is stuck or there is something wrong, call your doctor’s office immediately to help resolve the issue.
  • When showering/bathing, minimize water exposure to nasal dressings.  DO NOT soak dressings.
  • Avoid sun exposure/tanning for several months.  If outside, always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen protection.
  • Most patients can resume light work duties and low-impact activities in about 3 weeks post-op.
  • Cold compresses/ice packs can be used to help ease swelling. 
  • Patients will feel an incessant “stuffiness” following surgery but must refrain from forcibly blowing the nose!
  • Try to always keep your head upright in the first few weeks following your procedure to help minimize bruising/swelling, as well as reducing the risk of sudden blood pressure changes.  Prop your head up with pillows while sleeping.
  • Keep movement to a minimum in the first few weeks.  Absolutely NO gym, swimming, or working out.
  • Splint will be removed after 5-7 days following procedure, but still avoid strenuous activities.
  • Avoid wearing pullover tops, as well as eyeglasses/sunglasses.
  • You can begin resuming most activities following the 2-week post-op mark, but only at your doctor’s discretion.
  • You may begin resuming all sports, physically demanding occupations, working out, etc., one month following surgery.  Be sure to consult with your doctor.  Take cautionary measures as to not have the nose bumped while engaging in sports or working out.   

Keep in mind, up to 10% of all rhinoplasties will require a revision surgery.  There is not a single, perfectly shaped nose on the planet, so be patient with your healing and results, while adhering to your post-op tips for ensured success.  If after a year, you’re not completely satisfied with the results of your rhinoplasty, you can opt for a revision surgery. 

Contact us for an Initial Consultation

If you would like to learn more about Rhinoplasty, please contact our office at Galanis Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills.

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