Part one of our two-part rhinoplasty series entitled “San Diego Plastic Surgeon Answers Questions About Rhinoplasty Consultations” detailed what Dr. John Hilinski’s nose surgery patients can expect during the initial consultation process. In this post, our experienced plastic surgeon will outline how to prepare for rhinoplasty surgery, what to expect the day of surgery, and what he expects from patients during the recovery period.
Question: What can a patient do to make sure they are prepared for surgery?
Dr. Hilinski: Given how frequently I perform rhinoplasty, my office has developed a fairly comprehensive guide we give patients to prepare for the surgery. Much of this preparation involves avoiding certain types of medication that might encourage bleeding and bruising. Proper preparation also includes educating the patient regarding recommended methods to clean the areas around the nose following the procedure.
Question: What does the day of surgery entail?
DH: On the day of surgery, the patient checks in to our accredited ambulatory surgery center and meets the staff, including our board certified anesthesiologist, registered nursing staff, and surgical technician. The patient then completes any necessary clerical items still outstanding before entering the operating room. Once the patient is gently put to sleep by the anesthesiologist, the rhinoplasty surgery begins. A typical primary rhinoplasty surgery (for patients with no prior rhinoplasty) takes about two to three hours to complete. Within an hour, the patient is able to return home in the company of a friend or family member.
Question: Are there important recovery instructions for the day of the surgery?
DH: We have a fully developed guide that includes detailed instructions regarding the early healing process following rhinoplasty surgery. Our registered nursing staff will review these instructions prior to departure from the surgery center to ensure that each patient has clear expectations for the initial recovery period.
Question: Are there important recovery instructions for the week after surgery?
DH: Even one week out from surgery there are important instructions to follow. For example, I usually will remove bandages from the nose around five to six days out from rhinoplasty surgery. Although most patients begin to feel more comfortable out in the public eye around this time, there are still many restrictions that need to be minded. This includes avoiding even minor pressure to the nose, such as rolling over onto the nose inadvertently during sleep.
Question: How long until patients typically say they feel like themselves again?
DH: Most patients start to feel comfortable resuming their normal daily routine after seven to ten days. At this point in the recovery process, the bandages and sutures have been removed, so there are no overt signs of surgical recovery other than some swelling. Even bruising will be essentially resolved. Borrowing a term from one of my mentors, I like to tell patients that at this point they will look ‘supermarket presentable’—standing in line at the local supermarket, it will not be apparent that they have just had surgery. I don’t recommend that patients resume their exercise routines for about two to three weeks following rhinoplasty. In general, most patients will see 70% of the swelling resolved in about three months. There is still a moderate amount of healing that will occur over the course of that first year.
Question: Is there anything else a patient should know about the recovery process?
DH: I think the most important factor to consider when recovering from rhinoplasty is the length of time involved. Many patients do not grasp just how long it takes to see the final results of the rhinoplasty surgery. This is why I try to emphasize this point to all of my patients who are considering the surgery. Rhinoplasty is not the type of cosmetic surgery that will show the final results within five to six months. Even 10-12 months after rhinoplasty, there are changes that continue to manifest.
In addition, rhinoplasty recovery is very much a collaborative process. I certainly have my responsibilities as a rhinoplasty surgeon on the day of the surgery, but the rhinoplasty patient is also responsible for part of the healing process. Patient responsibilities include keeping their incisions clean, avoiding trauma to the nose that would compromise the results, attending all of the recommended postoperative office visits, and performing nasal exercises such as taping the nose when indicated during the postoperative recovery. These are very important aspects of the rhinoplasty recovery process that cannot be done by the rhinoplasty surgeon – they are the full responsibility of the rhinoplasty patient. I make sure that all of my rhinoplasty patients feel comfortable with this type of collaborative process well before we begin surgery.
To learn more about rhinoplasty from Dr. John Hilinski, please contact our office. In addition to rhinoplasty, Dr. Hilinski also offers a range of other facial rejuvenation procedures, including facelift, neck lift, and BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments. Find out more by contacting us today!