Once you’ve decided that rhinoplasty is right for you, the next step is figuring out when to schedule your surgery. For some patients, summer is the opportune time for the procedure. If you’re in high school or college or work in a field that takes summers off, you’ll have plenty of time to rest up and recover from your surgery.
Summer can also be an ideal time for the surgery if you’re moving from one stage of life to the next. For example, if you’ve just graduated high school or college and are moving on to a new school or career, having the surgery performed during the summer between those two phases will let you really start fresh in your new endeavor.
The Surgery and Initial Recovery
Rhinoplasty is typically a one-day procedure that can take anywhere from one to four hours, depending on the extent of the procedure and the technique the surgeon uses. The surgery can be either open, meaning the surgeon makes an incision at the base of the nose, or closed, which means that the surgeon makes the incision inside the nose. The surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia. After waking up from the procedure, the patient goes home the same day.
During the first day after the surgery, it’s common to feel as though you have a head cold or congestion. Usually, the nostrils are packed with gauze, which is removed about a week after the procedure. Pain or discomfort is more prominent in the first 24 hours after rhinoplasty. Your surgeon can prescribe pain relievers to you to help with any discomfort. It’s a good to pick up your prescription before the surgery, so that it’s one less thing to worry about as you recover.
In most cases, doctors recommend patients take about a week off from school or work. It’s usually recommended that you wait about a month after the surgery before starting to exercise again. During the summer, there are some other things you should be aware of as you recover from your surgery.
Summertime Parties and Picnics
For a lot of people, summer is a time of relaxation, which means parties and picnics. If you drink alcohol, moderation is always encouraged. It’s particularly important after your surgery, and it’s important only to drink after you get your surgeon’s OK. Usually, it’s all right to enjoy a drink after about a week, as long as you aren’t taking pain medicines.
The food typically enjoyed at picnics, such as steaks on the grill or burgers, can be troublesome as you recover from your surgery. Soft foods are usually recommended for the first few days after the procedure. Chewy foods, such as common picnic fare, can be hard to eat if you have residual swelling during the first few months or if your nose feels tender.
Sun Exposure After Surgery
After your surgery, you’ll want to be extra careful about sun exposure. That can be particularly difficult in the summer when the summer is strong. During the first week after the rhinoplasty, it’s a good idea to stay out of the sun completely, since you’ll most likely be wearing a splint. Once that is removed and your incisions have healed, you should apply sunscreen to the area before going outdoors.
Rhinoplasty makes the skin more sensitive to the sun and sun exposure can increase swelling in the area. Get in the habit of putting on at least SPF 30 everyday before your surgery so that it feels natural and like clockwork during your recovery.
Protecting your eyes from the sun after rhinoplasty gets a bit more tricky. Wearing any type of glasses, even those you need to see, is not recommended after the surgery, as the weight of the glasses can impact healing. If you’re going on a bright day, try wearing a hat with a wide brim to shield your eyes.
Swimming and Other Summertime Activities
One thing you’ll have to give up if you decide on a summer rhinoplasty is swimming or diving. You can’t get the splint wet, and even after it’s removed, you’re told to wait about a month before engaging in strenuous activities. Swimming can be especially hazardous to your post-surgery nose, as the pressure from the water can push the healing bones out of place. If you love swimming, you can either wait and have the surgery after the summer’s over or tell yourself that you’ll spend double the amount of time in the pool next season.
If you’re considering rhinoplasty over the summer in the Chicago area, Dr. George Moynihan is able to discuss the recovery process with you and help you decide if summer’s the best time for the procedure for you. To schedule a consultation, contact his office at 312-988-9300.