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Is Getting a Rhinoplasty Painful?

With over 220,000 rhinoplasties performed annually in the United States, it is one of the country’s most popular cosmetic procedures.

Understandably, patients considering rhinoplasty for the first time often wonder “is getting a rhinoplasty painful?”

Overall, patients can expect little to no pain during the procedure; however, once the anesthesia wears off and during the recovery process, patients will require pain management medication.

In this article, leading reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgeon, Dr. Derrick Gale discusses exactly what patients can expect from rhinoplasty, covering operative and post-operative pain, recovery, and how to best minimize any pain associated with the procedure.

What Is Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, also known as a nose job, is a surgical procedure that aims to change the shape or size of the nose. Patients generally choose rhinoplasty to enhance the nose’s appearance, correct a structural deformity, or improve breathing difficulties.

Rhinoplasty is performed by an experienced plastic surgeon who makes incisions inside the nostrils or across the columella (the area between the nostrils) to access the underlying bone and cartilage. The surgeon then reshapes the nose to the desired form and size, before closing the incisions and finalizing the procedure.

If a patient is unhappy with the results from their first rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty is the procedure that helps change the results. This procedure can be more painful, as it treats already manipulated tissue. 

How Hard Is the Recovery from Rhinoplasty?

Recovery from rhinoplasty varies in difficulty depending on several factors, including the complexity of the procedure and the individual’s overall health. Generally, the initial recovery period lasts for several days to a week, during which time the individual may experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort.

During this first week, it is important to avoid strenuous activities and keep the head elevated as much as possible to minimize swelling. Most people are able to return to work or school within a week, although some may need to take additional time off if their job requires physical exertion.

Then, for the months immediately following the surgery, patients may experience some residual swelling while they wait for the final results of the procedure to manifest. During this phase, it is important to follow all post-operative instructions carefully and attend all follow-up appointments with the plastic surgeon to ensure that the healing process progresses as expected.

Overall, the recovery from rhinoplasty can be challenging, but with proper care and attention to post-operative instructions, it’s a very manageable process with patients achieving their desired results.

What Causes Pain from Nose Surgery?

Pain after nose surgery comes from several factors, including tissue trauma, inflammation from the surgical procedure, and swelling and pressure on the surrounding nerves.

Additionally, secondary swelling and bruising associated with the procedure around the eyes can cause discomfort, headaches, and nasal stuffiness, which can all contribute to the overall pain and discomfort experienced after rhinoplasty.

It is important to note that pain after rhinoplasty can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication or prescription pain medication, as directed by the patient’s plastic surgeon. The surgeon may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help manage swelling and reduce pain.

Most importantly, the pain experienced after rhinoplasty, especially if using pain-management medication, shouldn’t be unbearable. Patients should contact their plastic surgeon for further evaluation and treatment if pain after rhinoplasty persists or becomes severe.

How Long Does Pain Last After Rhinoplasty?

Generally, patients can expect some degree of discomfort in the first several days following the procedure, which may last for up to a week or more.

In the first week after the procedure, the symptoms experienced by most patients tend to improve day by day, with the pain subsiding significantly.

It is important to note that some degree of residual swelling and discomfort for several weeks or even months after the procedure is a normal part of the healing process, and your rhinoplasty surgeon will provide guidance on how to manage these symptoms.

How Can I Prevent Pain After Rhinoplasty Surgery?

After your rhinoplasty surgery, your surgeon will give you strict post-operative instructions to manage pain. It is essential that patients follow these instructions thoroughly, including:

  • Medications: Taking pain medication as your surgeon directs can help manage any discomfort after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medication or prescription pain medication can be used, depending on your individual needs.
  • Cold compresses: A cold compress or an ice pack can help reduce swelling and minimize discomfort after the procedure.
  • Elevation: Sleeping with your head elevated can help to reduce swelling and minimize pain after rhinoplasty.
  • Avoid strenuous activities: Patients should avoid strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting and intense exercise, for at least the first few weeks after their procedure to reduce the risk of swelling and discomfort.
  • Follow-up appointments: Attending all follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon is important to ensure that the healing process is progressing as expected and to address any concerns about pain or discomfort.

Finally, patients should avoid smoking during their recovery, as it can impede healing and increase the risk of complications after rhinoplasty.

Why Is It Important to Partner with a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon?

Partnering with a board-certified plastic surgeon is crucial to getting the best results from any plastic surgery procedure. This is because of the rigorous education, training, ethical and professional standards, and ongoing education board-certified plastic surgeons must adhere to if they are to maintain their accreditation.    

Many patients consider going overseas for plastic surgeries; however, in many cases, the work performed by doctors in cheaper economies is of a less rigorous standard with fewer safety protocols in place. Before considering a cheaper option, consider your rhinoplasty as an investment in yourself and your future.

By partnering with a board-certified plastic surgeon, like Dr. Derrick Gale, patients can have confidence in their procedure’s safety, expertise, and results and be sure that they are receiving the best care possible with the most advanced technologies available.

Rhinoplasty in Riverton, UT

The desire for a more aesthetically appealing nose is prevalent among people of all ages and backgrounds—and rhinoplasty is a highly effective treatment that can help you achieve your goals.

While the process does involve some degree of discomfort, this pain is easily handled by following surgeon instructions, resting, and using pain medication.

To discuss rhinoplasty in Riverton, UT, contact Dr. Gale (801) 506-6344 or complete our online form today.