Rhinoplasty aftercare

Rhinoplasty Aftercare

We have provided some useful postoperative instructions and advice following your rhinoplasty with us. The information is also beneficial if you are considering rhinoplasty surgery as it will give you an idea of what to expect afterwards in terms of rhinoplasty aftercare.

Remember that you have incisions inside your nose, and in many cases, a small incision on the column of skin between your nostrils. All the internal stitches are dissolvable while the external, visible sutures will need to be removed. Any packing in your nose will have been removed before your discharge. You will have tape and a splint covering your nose to help minimise the swelling and to protect your nose.

Before Discharge

Medications – You will be provided with painkillers, an antibiotic ointment to apply to your suture line and a saline spray to keep the inside of your nose moist and clean.

Change of dressings – Any packs you have will be removed on the ward before you going home. You will be provided with a drip pad to absorb any discharge from your nose for the first 24-48hrs after discharge.

Follow up appointments for dressing clinics – You will be handed a card with details of your first follow up appointment and contact details for the ward should you have any concerns once you get home.


Have someone drive you home after surgery. It is recommended that you have some help at home for the first day or two.

Get plenty of rest.

Start walking as soon as possible, this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots.

Follow a balanced diet. Decreased activity may promote constipation, so you may wish to add more raw fruit and fibre to your diet. Make sure you increase fluid intake.

Take pain medication as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin unless approved by your surgeon.

Avoid smoking for at least two weeks, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications.

Avoid alcohol when taking pain medications. Even if you are not taking pain medications, it is advisable to avoid alcohol for 3 weeks as it can cause fluid retention which may worsen swelling.

When can I go back to work?

Your recovery and your job will dictate when you can return to work. We would advise patients to leave 2 weeks before returning to work although this does vary depending on each individual.


Showering/ bathing – You may bathe once you are home but you must keep your tape and splint dry. To wash your hair you may need help as you will need to tilt your head backwards and have someone rinse it for you. Once your splint has been removed then there is nothing to stop you showering as normal.

Sleeping position – Sleep comfortably on two or three pillows. You do not need to sleep propped upright.

Clothing – Wear clothing that is easy to remove and avoid tight tops that require removal over your head as they might catch on your nose or splint.

Driving – We recommend not driving for at least seven days until your splint has been removed. Additionally, you have required controlled fractures of the bones of your nose which may lead to your eyes becoming puffy and swollen. You should wait until the swelling has settled.

Exercise – Avoid strenuous activities or any activity that increases your blood pressure for 3-4 weeks. Contact sports should be avoided for at least 2 months.

Blowing your nose – Try to avoid blowing your nose for at least one week.

Young children – Take care when playing with young children in case they unintentionally knock your nose.

Glasses – There are no limits to wearing glasses on top of your cast during your first week of recovery. Once the cast is removed, you should avoid wearing glasses (including sunglasses) directly on your nose for a total of 6 weeks after surgery. This is to avoid having the weight of your glasses shift your healing nasal bones. If controlled bone fractures aren’t performed during your operation, you can wear glasses at any time. If you must wear glasses to see, then tape them onto your forehead so that the weight of them does not rest on your bridge. If possible, it is preferable that you wear contact lenses to see instead of your glasses.

Contact lenses – You can insert your contact lenses anytime after surgery as soon as you are feeling well enough to do so. Please keep in mind that some patients experience swelling of the eye area after their surgery, which may make wearing lenses uncomfortable. If they are uncomfortable when you put them in, take them out and try again later.

Wound Care

Antibiotic ointment – You will have been provided with an antibiotic ointment (Polyfax) to apply over the external sutures. Apply a small amount three times a day until your stitches have been removed.

Saline nasal spray – You will be provided with a saline nasal spray to use 3-4 times a day. The spray helps to keep the inside of your nose clean and reduces crusting and bleeding. You should use it for 1-2 weeks after your surgery.

Be gentle when washing your face – use a mild detergent or soap.

Do not use makeup or other cosmetics on your external incisions until your wound is fully healed (usually by three weeks).

Cold compresses around your eyes and cheeks may help reduce swelling.

What to Expect

You will be up and about the day after your surgery, but it will take a couple of weeks before you are entirely up to speed.

Your mood may fluctuate after surgery – this is normal.

A small amount of bleeding is typical during the first few days.

Discomfort/ Pain

Pain after surgery is not usually an issue for most patients.

Your nose may ache, and you may have a dull headache.

You may experience some discomfort with breathing, and your nose may feel “stuffed up” for several weeks.

Bruising/ swelling

After surgery, particularly during the first 24 hours, your face will feel puffy.

Temporary swelling and bruising around your eyes and nose will increase at first and peak after 2 or 3 days. Most swelling and bruising should disappear within two weeks. Some subtle swelling will remain for several months.

Black eyes and and swollen nose and eyelids for 1-2 weeks especially if you have had work on the bones of your nose.


Your nose will look better in 2-3 weeks and usually continues to improve for many months. The tip of your nose will drop to its permanent position in 3-6 months. Final results may not be apparent for up to a year.

Follow Up

7-8 days after your operation – You will attend a specialist nurse clinic to have your stitches, tape and splint removed.

6 months – You will be asked to arrange a follow up appointment with your surgeon at 6 months to discuss the outcome of your surgery and any concerns you may have.

Please note – Many of our patients will get in touch prior to their 6 month follow up appointment and we are often able to address any concerns you may have over the phone or via email. You are welcome to make an appointment (at no cost to you) prior to your 6 month follow up if you wish to be seen in person to discuss any issues.

Scar Management

Healing is a gradual process and your scars may remain slightly pink for up to 6 months.

Avoid exposing scars to direct sun for 3-4 months.

Always use a strong sunblock, if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or greater).

When to Call

If you have increased swelling or bruising which is not settling.

If you have increased redness along the incision (this may be a sign of infection).

If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.

If you have any side effects to medications; such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.

If you have a temperature over 38 degrees Celsius.

If you have any yellowish or greenish discharge from the incisions or notice a foul smell.

If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.

If you have a nosebleed or any unusual symptoms.

If concerned, please call Beechwood House on 0131 316259 between the hours of 8am-8pm or after that on 0131 334 0363.