You felt fine before your rhinoplasty, but now the dreaded cold has hit, and it’s hitting you hard. You’re congested, your nose is running, and you can’t stop sneezing!
While facial plastic surgeons stress the importance of delaying surgery if you get sick beforehand, what do you do if a cold develops during your rhinoplasty recovery? Here are six tips for dealing with a cold after rhinoplasty surgery.
Don’t Stress About the Effects on the Final Outcome
The most important thing to understand is that the common cold does not have to ruin the changes made during your nose job. Provided you take a few extra precautions, your nose will heal properly. Just remember that it takes months for swelling to go down, so don’t worry if you still see swelling a few months after your surgery.
A good guideline to follow is that 80 percent of the swelling is gone after two or three weeks. By the third month, 90 percent of the swelling will have subsided. The remaining swelling can take up to a year or more to go away, but this small amount of swelling is generally not noticeable.
Never Blow Your Healing Nose
Following your rhinoplasty, do not blow your nose during the first 10 days of healing. If your nose is runny, gently blot it with a facial tissue. Don’t rub it, either. You do not want to pull at the healing incisions. Read over your rhinoplasty surgeon’s post-operative instruction sheet for other tips on clearing away drainage without blowing your nose.
Rest with Your Head Elevated
Swelling is a concern following rhinoplasty and lying down can worsen the swelling you experience. Your facial plastic surgeon will advise you to get up and move around to help alleviate any swelling. With a cold, you may not feel like being up and about. If this situation occurs, rest sitting up or with your head elevated. A recliner is a good way to rest without jeopardizing the healing process.
Alleviate Congestion with Saline Spray
Again, you cannot blow your nose, so this makes the congestion that goes hand in hand with a nose job even more bothersome. During a cold, your nasal passages swell. As they are already swollen from rhinoplasty, it’s going to feel even worse. You can use saline spray two days after the surgery. Gently sniff it into the nasal passage. Let the mucus drain out naturally and dab it away with a tissue.
For the first week following rhinoplasty, your facial plastic surgeon will recommend a soft diet to minimize excessive movement from chewing. This benefits you because many doctors recommend boosting your intake of water, broth, and juice to help loosen congestion. Chicken soup is a good item to have on hand for your rhinoplasty recovery, and it also benefits you if you have a cold. The warm soup helps increase mucus flow and that helps alleviate some of the congestion you experience. Avoid caffeinated beverages, because they have a tendency to increase dehydration.
Talk to Your Facial Plastic Surgeon
Do not take any over-the-counter remedies without getting approval from your facial plastic surgeon. Some anti-inflammatory medications impede the healing process. It’s a good idea to talk to your surgeon if you develop a cold, find out what medications are recommended, and get answers to any additional questions you have.
Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon with offices in New York and Miami. His bio offers insight into his experience, education, and post-doctoral training. When you’re ready to learn more about rhinoplasty or revision rhinoplasty or have other questions, reach Dr. Epstein at (212) 759-3484 in New York or (305) 666-5884 in Miami.