Like any surgical procedure involving incisions, rhinoplasty can sometimes cause unwanted swelling around your nose. Although this subsides over time as the surgical site heals, many patients look for ways to minimize the amount of swelling or to reduce it as quickly as possible. In this post, we’ll look at some of the best ways to do this, so you can enjoy your new look in no time!
What Is Swelling and What Causes It?
Swelling is part of your body’s natural healing process. There are two main types that occur after rhinoplasty. First, there’s the initial swelling that results from your body’s protective inflammatory response to the incisions made during surgery. This is sometimes accompanied by bruising, and is much more noticeable than the second type, but it generally resolves within two or three weeks. Certain surgical techniques, such as the minimally invasive one used by Dr. Siegel, help to reduce this type of swelling as much as possible.
The second type of swelling involves fluid retention under your skin, while your skin essentially adjusts to the new shape of your nose. It can take up to a year for this fluid to fully disappear. Because it’s affected by gravity, the bridge of your nose generally recovers first, while the tip is the last part to attain its final, improved form.
How Do I Reduce the Swelling?
There are several ways to reduce both types of swelling described above:
- Use Cold Compresses. In the first 24 hours after your rhinoplasty, you can reduce some of the trauma-related swelling by applying cold compresses. These should only be applied to your cheeks, however – any direct contact with your nose can damage the new arrangement of bone and cartilage before it’s had a chance to heal.
- Keep Your Head Elevated. In the first week or two after surgery, use a couple of pillows to prop your head up while you sleep. This will help the fluid drain away overnight, improving your nose’s appearance the following day.
- Limit Salt Intake. Because fluid retention is related to the balance of salt and fluid in your body, it’s helpful to limit the amount of salt you consume on a daily basis after surgery. The saltier your body fluids, the puffier your nose will tend to appear.
- Stay Hydrated. Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, staying hydrated actually helps to reduce swelling for the same reason mentioned above. The more water you drink, the more diluted your body fluid becomes – making it easier for your kidneys to flush out both salt and water.
- Try Bromelain. Bromelain is an over-the-counter medication extracted from pineapple, and it can be helpful in reducing swelling. You could even try eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice to get similar results.
Dr Siegel is a facial plastic surgeon with particular expertise in rhinoplasty. To find out more about the recovery process and how to minimize post-surgical swelling, contact his office today!