Post-operative Care - Rhinoplasty

The following guidelines are to help patients who have undergone a rhinoplasty or nose reshaping procedure.

  1. Try and arrange to have either a friend or family member pick you up after surgery and stay with you for the first 24 – 48 hours in order to help you get settled in around the house.
  2. Everyone recovers from their anaesthetic differently. Some people feel no side effects while others are more noticeably affected, feeling tired and even sick for the first couple of days. Avoid any sudden bending movements for the initial week after surgery.
  3. Eat lightly with small meals throughout the day to minimise sickness. If necessary, cut food into small bite sized pieces to facilitate chewing and digestion.
  4. It is important to note that salty foods can contribute to fluid retention and swelling so reduce these in the first 7-10 days. In order to avoid constipation, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and dried fruits. Overall, try to eat a balanced diet to ensure your body is getting all the important nutrients it needs in the immediate post-operative healing period.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids in the form of water and fresh juices for the first few days after surgery.
  6. Reduce caffeine and carbonated drink intake in the first few days.
  7. Again it is important to note that dairy products in the first 72 hours after surgery can upset your stomach and make you feel sick and therefore it would be sensible to limit these.
  8. Do wear comfortable front opening and loose clothing at night and in the day. Ideally wear garments that do not need to be pulled over your head.
  9. There is likely to be some degree of soiling or staining from the surgical incision sites so it is advisable to use older bed and pillow linen.
  10. The bruising and swelling will start to subside after about 10 to 14 days and most of the obvious swelling will be gone within 3 weeks. Try and prepare young children (if applicable) in advance so that they do not get frightened by any swelling, bruising or sutures. Remember to take your Arnica tablets for two weeks following surgery.
  11. You can expect to have an initial nose bleed immediately after surgery for the first 24 hours. A gauze bolster drip pad will be provided and changed as necessary. You will also have some discomfort as you will not be able to breathe through your nose because of the nasal packs. It is not uncommon to experience a dry mouth or sore throat initially after surgery. This may be caused by breathing through the mouth, due to the nose airways not being available. It is advisable to keep Vaseline and lozenges on hand to treat the mouth area.
  12. Try to sit upright as much as possible to help reduce the swelling. At night use an extra pillow to ensure that your head is above the level of the heart and avoid any straining.
  13. You will be swollen and bruised for some days particularly around the eyes, which can occasionally look bloodshot. Apply cold compresses to the cheeks and eyes intermittently for 48 hours.
  14. You should abstain from alcohol during the first week following surgery. Remember to recommence any regular medication that you take (e.g. blood pressure tablets) as soon as you are able to drink, unless specifically instructed not to.
  15. You may drive after 72 hours.
  16. If your nose begins to bleed excessively, keep your head elevated. Place clean gauze around the nostrils and press the soft end of the nose gently for about 10 minutes until the bleeding stops.
  17. If significant bleeding persists after this time then please contact our office or call the hospital for advice. The outside of the nostrils should be cleaned with a cotton bud soaked in warm water or Vaseline. The crusts on the inside of the nose usually clear away with time. Please avoid picking or placing anything into the nostrils. You may bathe, but you must be careful to keep the plaster dry until it is removed which will be approximately one week after surgery.
  18. You must not blow your nose for 3 weeks after surgery. If you sneeze, try to do it with your mouth open to avoid pressure build up, although it usually does no harm.
  19. Following the removal of the plaster it is quite normal to experience moderate swelling over the bridge and tip of the nose. By this time though most of the bruising will have subsided and can be easily covered using light makeup. You may wash your face but avoid bumping your nose or rolling on it while you sleep.
  20. You may wear contact lenses following removal of the plaster. However, wearing glasses must be avoided for 4 weeks. If you must wear them, use tape to prop them on your forehead thereby avoiding pressure directly on the nasal bridge.
  21. Your nose may seem congested for several weeks following surgery. This is a normal condition that will eventually resolve. Avoid using nose drops, which may become habitual.
  22. You may resume sport such as swimming, tennis, golf or horseback riding 6 weeks following surgery. Body contact or team sports such as volleyball, basketball, football etc are not advised for 3 months.
  23. Avoid sun or sun bed exposure to the nose for 2 months. Use a factor SPF 30 for prolonged exposure. Burning, tightness, itchiness and puffiness are normal for the first few weeks. Any excessive discoloration or swelling should be reported.

Remember healing is a slow and gradual process. Some subtle swelling will be unnoticeable to anyone else. As a general rule, if you can feel firmness in the nasal tip, then this means that swelling/scar tissue is still present and therefore the healing process is not complete. The final result can take up to 12 to 18 months.

You should get in touch immediately if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Fever greater than 100 F or 38.5 C
  • Significant fresh bleeding not controlled by above measures.
  • Pain not relieved by two pain relieving tablets.
  • Any significant discharge from the nostrils after 48 hours


MONDAY to FRIDAY ON 0161-232-2670/ 0161-232-2680 OR OUT OF HOURS IN AN EMERGENCY