Common Rhinoplasty Questions

Thinking about a Nose Job?  Here are answers to your rhinoplasty questions.

There are many questions that may arise when deciding whether or not to pursue a “nose job” or rhinoplasty surgery.  And once you decide you’d like to explore further, there is the ever-important decision about who you will trust to do the operation.  Lastly, there are the seemingly endless questions about the procedure details itself and what to expect in the recovery process. Getting the answers to these questions can help you make an informed decision as to whether surgery and the surgeon are right for you, and your postoperative stress can be dramatically reduced by knowing what is expected in the normal recovery after rhinoplasty surgery.   Below is a list of frequently asked questions about nose job surgery that can help you determine what is best for you.

Questions about whether rhinoplasty could be right for you:

What don’t I like about my nose?  How does this affect me?

How much does my nasal appearance bother me?

Is rhinoplasty worth it?

Do I expect this operation to change my relationships?

Do I expect this operation to make me happy?

Do my friends and family understand what I am talking about when I tell them what I don’t like about my nose?

Questions to help choose a surgeon:

While there will be some questions that are specific to an individual patients’ concerns and needs, there are some questions that you should ask every surgeon you are interviewing:

  • How often do you perform this surgery?
  • How many times have you performed this procedure?
  • What are the risks of this procedure and how often do they occur?
  • What is your success rate with this procedure?
  • Will you share some before and after photos?
  • Will you alter my images with me to help determine the best attainable plan for my rhinoplasty?

And then, of course, there are the question you need to ask yourself:

  • Do I feel I can easily communicate with this surgeon?
  • Do I feel the surgeon understands my goals for this operation?
  • Do I feel confident this surgeon will be there for me if I were to experience a complication from surgery?

Questions about postoperative recovery:

How much bleeding from my nose is normal? – The average amount of time that a patient experiences bloody or blood-tinged mucus drainage from their nostrils after this procedure is about 2 days. However, the range of normal is anywhere from one day to a full week. As long as there is not a steady flow of active bleeding, continue to use the drip pad and the draining will stop, almost always within one week.

How long should I wait after nasal surgery to kiss my partner? – I tell patients to wait 6 weeks before returning to contact sports, so if you consider kissing a contact sport, then 6 weeks. If not, then you can kiss your partner as soon as you are able to do so painlessly.

How long until I can wear sunglasses after a nose job? – I recommend waiting 3 weeks before wearing sunglasses if the nasal bones are broken; meanwhile, investing in a hat is a good idea to block out the sun.

Will rhinoplasty change my voice? – There will only be a change in your voice if I am clearing a blockage that is already altering your voice. A voice change is almost impossible unless you do sinus surgery, which can change the resonance of your voice because it changes the volume of space.

Will I retain my sense of smell after surgery? – At first you will notice a weakened sense of smell due to congestion, but it should be back to normal within 4 weeks as the swelling subsides.

Will my sense of taste be affected after a nose job? – Since your sense of smell may be affected, you may notice a weakened sense of taste; however, it will return to normal once your sense of smell is back to normal.

What is the plastic I can see and/or feel inside my nose? – These thin sheets of plastic are called silastic splints and they are held in place with a suture to keep your septum stable in the postoperative period. The suture and the splints will most likely be removed at your first postoperative visit.

What do I do if I have to sneeze? – If you need to sneeze in the postoperative recovery period, leave your mouth open and let the rush of air come out of your mouth.

When can I blow my nose after nasal surgery? – I recommend waiting 2 weeks before blowing your nose. I have patients spray their nose with salt water, 2-3 sprays per nostril at least three times a day, to help break up any clots that form. Sometimes a nasal surgery can lead to congestion within the nostrils, but the salt water will help with that too. If given splints, your nose may feel clogged, but it is normal; you will have a sense of relief when they are removed at the first post-op visit.

Is it normal for my teeth to be numb? – Yes, it is normal for the front teeth and the nasal tip to suffer some numbness. The nerve that provides sensation to this area is often transected during surgery, and it frequently takes up to 6 weeks or more of the sensation to fully recover in this area.

Will I be able to smoke/drink after surgery? – I tell patients to wait 1 week before consuming alcohol as it is a blood thinner and can increase swelling which leads to more pain or bleeding. As for smoking, I would prefer no one smokes; however, if you are going to smoke, then wait 2 weeks after surgery. Cigarettes contain nicotine which constricts the veins in the nose and can prevent blood from reaching the tissues which can slow down healing.

When can I take a shower after surgery? – You can take a shower the day after surgery and wash your face as you normally would while trying your best to avoid the bandages.

When can I participate in strenuous activities? –  Wait 2 weeks before returning to strenuous activities such as; running, lifting weights, and yes, intercourse.

When can I wear makeup after my nose job? – You can wear makeup at any point after the procedure, however I would ask you to wait 2 days before applying anything over the incision line.

When can I drink from a straw? – There are no restrictions as to when you can drink from a straw.

How and when do I use the saline spray? – It is a good idea to use 2 sprays of saline in each nostril at least 4 times per day following this surgery. This will help prevent large blood clots from forming that may block your breathing and contribute to more postoperative discomfort.

When will my stitches go away? – The stitches should fully dissolve after 6 weeks. Starting 1 week after your first post-op clinic visit, if there is a loose stitch, feel free to cut it or contact my office to coordinate a follow-up visit

What do I do if the cast on the outside of my nose falls off? – Do not worry if the external cast falls off, it is essentially there as a reminder to be gentle with your nose. However, the tape that is underneath the case will remain in place until the first postoperative visit and will continue to hold the structure in the desired location during the postoperative period.

How should I sleep after rhinoplasty surgery? – I ask that you sleep with your head elevated on pillows at about 45 degrees for 1 night after surgery; after that feel free to sleep in any position you would like.

When can I be fully submerged in water after nose surgery? – You can jump back in the pool after 3 weeks.

Can I ever get a nose piercing after a rhinoplasty? – You certainly can; however, I would tell you to wait 3 months after surgery before getting it pierced.

Can I smile after getting a rhinoplasty? – Depending on the surgery, you may notice some discomfort in smiling, however, you are always allowed to smile. 🙂

It is essential to consider your own reasons for wanting to have rhinoplasty surgery, and whether your expectations are realistic.  It is equally important to find a surgeon you feel comfortable asking all your questions to before undergoing the knife, and one with whom you have excellent rapport and communication to help you get through the entire process.  Lastly, it can be a great comfort to have all the little questions about postoperative recovery answered before surgery so that you can rest, relax, and recover rather than worry.  Rhinoplasty can be a very uplifting experience when done for the right reasons and with a strong patient and surgeon relationship.  My staff and I are here for our patients at every step of the rhinoplasty journey.


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