Each doctor has a specific set of rhinoplasty recovery tips. Nonetheless, they all boil down to controlling the amount of swelling and bruising, and preventing injuries during the healing phase to achieve optimal results from the surgery.
Most patients already know the basics of rhinoplasty recovery tips—the drugs and supplements to avoid a few weeks before and after surgery, the foods and drinks to limit, and the activities that could jeopardize their results. Hence, the list below explains the not-so-popular guidelines that can promote healing.
Chronic stress can put a toll on your immunity. For this reason, a longer time off from work might be more ideal than returning to office just 10-14 days after surgery, or once the outward signs (bruising and swelling) are gone.
If a longer leave of absence is not possible, you may ask to work part-time until you regain your pre-surgery energy level, which often takes 4-6 weeks after surgery. The goal is to control your stress level, according to experts at the California Surgical Institute.
Of course, managing stress also boils down to adapting a positive attitude in life.
- Use of bed wedge pillow or recliner bed
Head elevation all day long and during the night can keep swelling to a minimum and can also promote healing. Many patients have noted the convenience of using a bed wedge pillow or a recliner bed, as opposed to the soft standard pillows.
You may want to sleep alone in your bed and avoid pets and small children for the time being because even the slightest bump may cause bleeding or interfere with healing.
Other things to avoid while not yet fully healed include wearing eyeglasses, blowing your nose, making excessive facial expressions, and applying too much pressure when brushing your teeth. Moreover, it makes sense to wear button down shirts or wrap-around dresses during the initial healing stage to avoid accidental bumps on the nose.
Aside from consuming more fiber-rich foods and lean protein, it is important to follow a low-sodium diet. It is important to note that too much salt causes water retention, which can aggravate the amount of postop swelling.
Empty calorie foods laden with sugar and fats can also suppress your immunity and aggravate constipation, which is not uncommon after any type of surgery due to narcotic painkiller use.
Sun protection is one of the most critical rhinoplasty recovery tips. It is important to note that after surgery the nose is extra sensitive to UV rays and thus the risk of discoloration or hyperpigmentation is perceived to be higher.
If you cannot stay away from the sun, try to slather on sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or use a wide-brimmed hat.
Liposuction preparation aims to prevent complications and achieve optimal results from the surgery. While most patients already know about the importance of achieving their prime health and weight through superb diet and regular exercise, not everyone knows the importance of prepping up the skin.
It is important to note that skin quality, along with the surgeon’s skills and experience, will play a crucial role in the final results. First and foremost, the skin must shrink-wrap smoothly around the new contour to achieve a tight, natural-looking appearance.
Experts at the California Surgical Institute have provided a list of ways to prepare the skin before liposuction surgery.
Apart from increasing the risk of poor healing and skin necrosis, smoking causes skin dryness and premature aging and thus may preclude the patient from achieving optimal results from liposuction.
While the general rule of thumb is to discontinue smoking for three weeks before surgery and about a week afterward to reduce the risk of healing problems, complete cessation remains the best route to prevent premature aging of the skin.
- Avoid or at least cut back on alcohol
Alcohol causes dry skin (thus it appears ashy) and may aggravate postop bruises. A good rule of thumb is to avoid or cut back on alcohol three weeks before surgery.
Tanning booths, sunbathing, and even self-tanning products must be avoided for a minimum of three weeks before surgery. The goal is to help the skin achieve its healthiest and least sensitive state.
Patients undergoing facial liposuction are generally instructed to avoid facials, skin peeling, steaming masks, and other similar treatments for at least three weeks before surgery.
- Purchase “recovery” supplies weeks or days ahead of the surgery
Aside from dressing and compression garments, “recovery” supplies should also include sunscreen, protective clothing (with special fibers that offer SPF protection), and scar creams and silicone sheets.
- Ensure that the skin is in its optimal health
A prudent patient should immediately notify her surgeon’s office if she develops any skin infection or pustules, or if she develops any type of illness within a week prior to her surgery.
Modern Asian eyelid surgery is focused on achieving natural Asian appearance (about half of the population inherently have visible upper lid crease), as opposed to Caucasian imitation. The goal is to deliver results that look ethnically consistent and so the eye shape and even the entire face must always be taken into consideration.
The height of the eyelid crease is one of the key elements that will dictate how natural or “done” the results appear. All efforts are made to prevent too much height (i.e., more than 7 mm from the upper eyelash) because of the westernizing, incongruous effects. The consensus is to create just 2-5 mm height to achieve ethnically consistent results.
Photo Credit: vudhikrai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
While the underlying anatomies must always be respected to achieve natural results and reduce risk of complications particularly relating to asymmetry and eyelid ptosis (drooping), it remains important to establish the patient’s cosmetic goals to achieve satisfying outcome. For this reason, the right candidate for Asian eyelid surgery should be able to describe her aesthetic expectations in details.
For instance, some patients want the medially tapered crease, i.e., the fold begins very close to the inner eye and gradually curves; the “tail end” of the crease is ideally positioned marginally higher than the “beginning point” of the fold.
Others desire for a more parallel eye crease, i.e., the medial crease starts parallel to the eye.
Another critical issue is the shape of the eye crease. It is important to note that Asian eyelid surgery was first performed on a patient with only one natural eyelid; hence, the Japanese surgeon made sure that he created a new eye crease whose shape and height was almost the same as the other side.
The consensus is to avoid a semilunar eyelid (when viewed from the front) because of the westernizing effects, which of course look ethnically inconsistent. But as with any rule, it may not apply to everyone seeking Asian eyelid surgery. For instance, patients of mixed race or Southeast Asians may tolerate this deep inverted U look without the risk of looking “done.”
Another critical guideline to create natural- Asian eyelid surgery results is to avoid high fold, which generally favors patients with large eyes and strong levator muscle (which elevates the eyelid). Too much height is known to increase the risk of ptosis or eyelid drooping in Asian patients, particularly those with weak eye muscles, according to the California Surgical Institute website.
Butt lift surgery (should not to be confused with Brazilian butt lift, which in essence is buttock augmentation via fat transfer) is typically performed in massive weight loss patients who often complain about the redundant skin.
Most buttock lift risks can be avoided or at least reduced with proper patient selection. The goal is to reserve this elective surgery only to people who have achieved their optimal health and weight.
Lab screening and lengthy consultation between the surgeon and his patient will help determine if the latter is healthy enough to handle surgery, according to the California Surgical Institute website.
Patient cooperation is another key factor to minimize butt lift risks. For instance, infection, increased bleeding, and poor healing are closely linked to smoking, aspirin and other drugs and supplements with blood thinning properties, and obesity—risk factors that can be eliminated by the patients’ themselves.
A good rule of thumb is to discontinue smoking and aspirin products at least three weeks before and after surgery.
Wound healing problem is one of the main issues during recovery. It is important to note that the incisions—whether made within the junction of the butt cheek and posterior thigh, or near the waistline if the surgery is combined with a lower body lift—are under a great deal of stress due to movement while walking, sitting, etc.
To reduce risk of wound healing problems, great surgeons know the importance of proper suturing techniques in which there is no or very little tension on the skin. For this reason, layers of sutures in which the deep tissue receives most of the tension are critical to promote good healing and scarring.
Nonetheless, patients should also do their part in reducing healing problems by avoiding over-exertion for a minimum of three weeks postop. For this reason, individuals whose work requires heavy lifting or any type of rigorous activity are advised to take a longer time off than people with desk job.
Unacceptable scarring (i.e., keloids or thick scars) is another risk, although this can be avoided with meticulous wound closure, wound care, and proactive scar treatments like silicone tapes and gel and sunscreen. Nonetheless, genetics remains one of the strongest predictors of how well a person will scar.
The success of revision rhinoplasty surgery preparation will not just rely on the surgeon’s skills. Patient cooperation will also play a critical role on the final results and ultimately the satisfaction rate, according to the California Surgical Institute website.
The list below explains the “basics” of revision rhinoplasty surgery preparation. It is important to note that some patients may need to follow a set of highly specific instructions due to their unique anatomy or individual problem. For this reason, the safest route is to stick to the recommendations of one’s surgeon.
Minor contour irregularities and persistent fullness or swelling of the supratip (right above the tip) are best addressed after the skin has redraped completely to the new contour, which happens after 9-12 months. This “guideline” applies specifically to patients with markedly thick nasal skin, which is susceptible to prolonged swelling.
Waiting also allows the patients to be more objective on the results of their surgery and to ponder deeper on their cosmetic goals.
The idea is to have the most accurate assessment of the nose to achieve the most satisfying results possible. Nonetheless, certain deformities are best treated as soon as possible because of the zero possibility of improvement even after the passage of time.
Any medical condition that can interfere with healing must be controlled well in advance of the surgery. Healthy lifestyle and/or medications can help patients achieve their optimal health so they can handle the surgery.
- Avoid risk factors linked to increased bleeding, infection, and poor healing
Aspirin and other drugs and supplements with blood thinning properties must be discontinued 2-3 weeks before surgery and at least week afterward.
Tobacco and smoking cessation products (gum and patch) are also best avoided several weeks or even months ahead of the surgery because they are known to significantly increase the risk of skin necrosis and poor healing.
Doctors generally have preoperative information packet that explains what medications, supplements, drinks, and foods to avoid or at least limit their consumption. Furthermore, prudent patients should never hide or omit information regarding their drug use (including recreational drugs) to prevent complications and less than optimal results.
In the ideal scenario, lab screening, which is primarily blood work, is performed not later than 10 days prior to surgery to ensure that the patient is healthy enough for rhinoplasty and the ensuing recovery.