Arizona head, neck & facial surgery / arizona sinus center

Post-operative Instructions Following
Early healing of the nose depends upon how well you take care of yourself after surgery.
Please review the following instructions before surgery and ask about anything that is not

Rhinoplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure. If you have other medical conditions such as sleep
apnea, you may spend one night in the hospital after your procedure. You will have absorbable sutures
placed to close the incisions inside the nose. If an external approach was used, you will have non-
absorbable sutures in the columella (skin between the two nostrils) that are removed at the first post-
operative visit. The cast over the bridge of your nose should stay in place for one week. Often, internal
nasal splints are temporarily placed to help with healing and minimize scar tissue formation. On
occasion, nasal sponge packing is placed to minimize post-operative bleeding. The nose may be
congested or obstructed in the first few to several days following rhinoplasty. Mild oozing of blood from
the nose is expected in the first 48 hours. The bridge and tip of the nose may be swollen for a few
weeks. After the external approach rhinoplasty, mild nasal tip swelling can persist for many weeks to
even months. Bruising over the nasal bridge and under the eyes may occur and usually resolves after 10-
14 days, often sooner.

Everyone has some swelling after surgery. For some, the swelling is worse than others. Most of the
swelling will resolve by the end of the second week. The skin of the nose may remain somewhat
swollen for several months. It is important to sleep with your head elevated on several pillows at night.
Cool compresses applied to the the face and especially the eyes will help reduce the swelling more
quickly. You should use the cool compresses for as much as possible for the first several days. A good
technique is to use a wash cloth dipped in a bucket of ice water. Then ring it out and place it over the
upper cheeks and cast. Avoid anything frozen directly on the skin.

Bruising is caused by small amounts of blood accumulated under the tissues during surgery. Most of it
resolves completely by two to three weeks after surgery. Makeup can help hide the bruises after one
If sutures have been placed in the skin, they are removed between four and seven days after surgery.
Clean your nostrils and any sutures at least 3-4 times daily with Hydrogen Peroxide and Q tips. Then
apply the Mupirocin ointment (with a Q tip) you were prescribed to moisten the nostrils and the sutures.
Do not insert the Q tips deeply into the nostrils. Do not put ointment on the steri-strips that we
have applied

Some bloody discharge from you nose is normal. Wear the folded gauze bandage (moustache dressing)
below your nose for the first few days to catch any discharge. If the bloody discharge increases, you can
take some Afrin or Neosynephrine and place this on a piece of cotton and gently place this in your nose.
Call the office immediately if the bleeding is brisk. If you cannot wait for a reply, come to Lenox Hill
Emergency room, or to your nearest Emergency Room. Please have the physician there contact Dr.
Zimm so you are properly managed.
After nasal surgery, most people do not feel themselves for several days. Do not be upset by this.
Instead, minimize the amount of pain medicine you are taking, get up and move around as much as
possible and drink plenty of fluids. Do not expect to be able to catch up on a lot of work while you are
recovering. Most people have a hard time concentrating until at least 4 days after surgery.

If a cast has been placed, it will be removed between six to eight days after surgery. Call Dr. Zimm’s
office if it falls off early.
You may have liquids by mouth once you have awakened from anesthesia. If you tolerate the liquids
without significant nausea or vomiting then you may take solid foods but avoid foods that require a lot
of chewing or wide mouth opening
. If nausea is persistent, an anti-nausea medication may be
prescribed for you. Some patients experience a mild sore throat for 2-3 days following the procedure.
This usually does not interfere with swallowing. Avoid foods that require excessive chewing or are
difficult to digest.
Pain control:
Patients report moderate nasal pain, congestion and headache for a few to several days following
rhinoplasty. This is usually well controlled with prescription strength oral pain medications (Darvocet,
Vicodin, Tylenol #3, Ultracet). Please take the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon when
needed. You should avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin,
ibuprofen, naproxen (Excedrin, Motrin, Naprosyn, Advil) because these drugs are mild blood
thinners and will increase your chances of having a post-operative nose bleed.
Please contact our
office (212) 327-4600 if your pain is not controlled with your prescription pain medication.
Keep “a Stiff Upper Lip”:
The upper lip is a key area in nasal surgery so try not to move it too much for the first week after
surgery. Avoid excessive talking, smiling, hard to chew food and brushing the teeth too vigorously.
Brush your teeth gently with a toothbrush or your finger.
No bending, heavy lifting (over 10lbs), or straining for 2 weeks following the surgery
. You should
plan for 1 week away from work. If your job requires manual labor, lifting or straining then you should
be out of work for 2 weeks or limited to light duty until the 2 week mark.
Do not blow your nose for 14 days after surgery. If you have to sneeze, do so with your mouth
. Walking and other light activities are encouraged after the first 24 hours. You may resume light
aerobic exercise 2 weeks after surgery and full workout including weight training 3-4 weeks after
Bathing and Showering- as soon as you feel well enough, but keep the cast dry for 6 or 7 days until
the morning of your appointment. That morning get the cast wet when you shower
. This will
make it easier to remove your cast in the office.
Be careful not to bump your nose—beware of restless/playful children, bedmates and pets. Avoid
putting any pressure on your nose when you sleep.
You may drive as soon as the swelling allows for clear vision and you are no longer taking sedating pain
medications. You may fly at three weeks. Please stay out of the sun and use SPF 30 or higher for at
least 12 weeks. Wear a baseball cap to help protect the nose from sun exposure and trauma. Do not
smoke for at least 3 weeks before and after surgery. Smoking will increase swelling and delay
Nasal care following the surgery:
Gently apply a layer of antibiotic ointment to the nostrils and any suture lines on the outside of the nose
twice daily for the first week. Hot steam showers as needed are very helpful in relieving nasal
congestion and crusting. Try to keep the nasal cast dry. Hair can be washed with the head tilted back in
the shower or over the sink. Sleep with the head elevated for the first several days; this will minimize
pain and congestion. You may use two pillows to do this or sleep in a reclining chair. Dr. Zimm may
have you spray your nose with decongestant spray (Afrin or neosynepherine) as needed for persistent
nasal congestion and oozing.
Do not wear eyeglasses after the cast comes off for 6 weeks after surgery due to the incisions in the
bones of your nasal bridge. If you must wear eyeglasses, ask us about methods to support them off your

Medical Supplements/Medications:
Dr. Zimm may have you take several vitamins prior to surgery. These items may lower your risk of
bruising and bleeding:
1) Arnica-Montana tablets (SinEcch) as directed.
2) Take Vitamin C 1000mg to promote healing for one week before surgery and two weeks after.
3) Pain medication as prescribed by Dr. Zimm.
4) Antibiotics (usually for 7 days) as prescribed by Dr. Zimm.
Follow-up appointments:
Your follow up appointments in the office will be days 1, 4, and 7 following your surgery. These visits
should be scheduled prior to your surgery (at the time of your pre-operative visit). If you do not have
these appointments made, please contact our office when you arrive home from the surgery center.
Please call our office immediately if you experience:
*Brisk nose bleeding
*Fever greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit
*Purulent discharge (pus) coming from the nose
*Severe nasal pain or headache


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