How Can I Reduce Swelling After Rhinoplasty?
Swelling after rhinoplasty is a normal and necessary part of the healing process. We understand how eager you are to see the results of your surgery minus the associated nose job swelling, but you are going to have to be patient until that swelling subsides on its own. Here are some helpful tips on how to deal with swelling – but please be consider that the following things aren’t going to dramatically improve your swelling although they might help a little:
- Keep Your Head Elevated – In the pre and post operative instructions that Dr. Buonassisi’s patient care team will provide to you, we advise you to keep your head elevated on pillows while you sleep as this will help the retained fluid drain down and away from your nose.
- Drink Plenty of Water – If your body is well hydrated, it won’t be so likely to hang onto fluids.
- Avoid salt and include Vitamin K rich foods – Salty foods and beverages can cause your body to retain fluid so stear clear of these as much as possible. Be sure to consume the right amounts of leafy greens and other foods rich in Vitamin K.
- No hot showers, saunas or baths – steamy hot conditions can make swelling worse and make your cast fall off. So best to avoid them until your cast is removed and for a week after surgery.
- Arnica Montana– While there is no scientific proof that Arnica works, many of our patients read about the benefit of using it on the internet and ask us if they should too. Arnica can be purchased at the pharmacy or health food store. You should seek the advice of a naturopathic doctor before taking arnica and be sure to disclose your intention to use Arnica with your rhinoplasty surgeon before hand to get the go ahead. Arnica comes in an oral or topical format. The oral format may cause blood thinning and may be on the list of medications to avoid prior to surgery – again it is important to review with your surgeon. The topical kind can’t be applied directly to the nose after surgery because the cast will be covering your nose. It is very important not to get the cast wet with Arnica gel as it may soften or fall off. Find out more about how to use Arnica before your rhinoplasty.
- Apply cool compresses 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off – BUT DO NOT USE ICE DIRECTLY ON THE NOSE OR SKIN: You can place a cool compress on your forehead and cheeks after surgery if that feels nice. Apply for 20 minutes or until it becomes uncomfortable, then take a 40 minute break. Repeat 2 or 3 times. But don’t apply ice directly to the nose. Not only is ice far too cold to put right on the skin (and can affect blood flow to your skin), you don’t want to apply too much pressure to the new nose shape. The cast is there to protect it and encourage the nose to heal with it’s new features – ice can dampen the cast and make it fall off.
- Give Yourself Enough Time To Recover – There is nothing more stressful than impatiently waiting for swelling to go away because you have a big social event to go to. The best thing you can do is give yourself sufficient time for swelling to decrease simply by planning your post surgery social activities in advance. Keep this in mind – about 90% of patients are ready to be seen in public 14 days post op at a social event. At this stage, all the bruising is gone and if there is persistent swelling, it is minor and only obvious the the patient. So go ahead and plan that dinner with friends. However – if you have a super big event like your own wedding coming up, give yourself 3 months to recover.