When getting for rhinoplasty, your surgeon might have recommended that you try to eat as healthy as possible, to help minimize the risk for complications and to help your body heal more quickly after the surgery is over. While you don’t have to make major changes to your diet before or after rhinoplasty, being cautious and avoiding certain foods or making sure that you get enough of certain nutrients in your diet can help with the recovery process.
Right After Surgery: Soft Foods
You might be a bit hungry after you get home from surgery, or even right after the anesthesia or sedative wears off. Soft foods that are somewhat mild or bland are usually ideal right after surgery. Reach for the yogurt, oatmeal or not-to-hot soup. Depending on how nauseated you feel, you may want to stick with clear liquids right after surgery, just in case eating makes you throw up. Continue with the diet of soft foods for a few days after surgery, or until you feel well enough to add different textures to your diet.
Don’t Forget Fiber
Although you want to stick to soft-ish foods for a few days after rhinoplasty, it’s important to make sure you get a decent amount of fiber in your diet during those first few days. Constipation is fairly common after the surgery, due to a combination of the medications prescribed, not moving about as much as you usually do, and eating a limited diet.
While you probably want to continue to take an medicines prescribed by your surgeon and should continue to limit physical activity, you can help move things along by adding some fiber to your diet. Soft fruits, such as peaches and berries, are good sources of fiber, as is oatmeal, very well cooked vegetables such as carrots, and whole grain breads.
Watch the Temperature
You’ll also want to be careful about the temperature of the food you eat after surgery. Very hot foods or very cold foods can make discomfort a lot worse. To reduce the chance of accidentally burning your mouth while recovering from rhinoplasty, limit the hot soups or other high temperature foods until a few weeks after surgery. While cold foods won’t burn you, the low temperatures can make your teeth and other parts of your mouth sting, or give you an ice cream headache that’s made by worse by your still recovering nose.
Skip the Chewy Foods
Before you have surgery, place your hand on your nose while you chew a particularly chewy food, such as a steak or even a piece of gum. Your nose moves slightly with the chewing motion. While under usual circumstances, a little movement is fine, as your nose heals from surgery, you want it to remain as still as possible to reduce the chance of any complications. Hold of on enjoying a steak dinner, tearing into some taffy, or even popping a piece of chewing gum in your mouth until your surgeon says it’s OK to do so.
Keep in mind that you aren’t limit to a diet of very soft, mushy foods for weeks after surgery. You just want to avoid the particularly chewy options.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks, such as coffee or soda, are best avoided for several days after your procedure, if not for longer. Alcohol is a blood thinner and can increase your risk for post-surgery bleeding. It also increases your risk for hematoma, or a collection of blood beneath the skin, and can make swelling worse.
Caffeine can increase your blood pressure, which can be problematic for some patients. Your surgeon will let you know if he strongly advises against drinking coffee or another beverage with caffeine after rhinoplasty and how long you’ll need to avoid it.
The Salty Foods Question
As you recover from rhinoplasty, relying on prepared foods can seem like the easiest option, since it requires only a minimal amount of effort to get them ready. But, you might be a bit concerned about the salt content in a prepared meal, such as a package of frozen macaroni and cheese, and how it will affect any swelling you have after surgery.
While sodium intake can lead to water retention and make swelling worse, it’s usually not that big of a concern for many patients. If you are worried about it, or if you have a health issue that requires you to limit sodium, it’s best to speak with your surgeon before your procedure to find out what you should do.
You do want to focus on eating foods that provide the most nutrients as possible after surgery, such as fruits and cooked vegetables, as well as sources of protein and fiber, to help your recovery along and to help you be as comfortable as possible during recovery.
Every patient is slightly different, so it’s always a good idea to ask your facial plastic surgeon any questions about what you can eat after surgery and what you should avoid, and for how long. With practices in Miami and New York City, Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is a surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty, performing multiple procedures each week. He can answer questions you have about surgery or about what to eat before or after it. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Epstein in New York City, call (212) 759-3484. For an appointment in Miami, call (305) 666-5884 today.