The purpose of having rhinoplasty surgery, or a nose job, is to correct the visual appearance or medical condition dealing with the nose. Despite being a relatively complicated surgery to perform, repairing or rebuilding the nose is a very common outpatient surgery, with minimal complications or pain. (Source)
Whether you’re going in for reconstructive surgery or a cosmetic one, after the procedure is complete, you must find a way to sleep without affecting the surgical site. Because rhinoplasty surgery can take a few months to heal, you want to be sure that you get into the habit of sleeping correctly from the beginning. Maintaining good sleep habits will aid in the healing process and will prevent any possible drawbacks.
Getting enough rest after any operation is vital to maximizing the healing effects of blood flow, which delivers oxygen and necessary nutrients to the area. The workings of the body make sleeping the most beneficial and most risky time for those who are healing from an operation. To avoid common problems, here are some top Do’s and Don’ts to help you sleep after rhinoplasty surgery.
- Sleep on your back. The best way to sleep without your newly constructed nose getting in the way of danger is by sleeping on your back with your head elevated to a 45-degree angle. Using a wedge pillow, a recliner, or simply stacking a few pillows together is a great way to achieve this angle. Keeping your head above your heart helps by using gravity to minimize swelling in your nose and face. To prevent yourself from rolling to either side, surround yourself with additional pillows at your sides, and place a cushion under your knees to help with any lower back pain. The most comfortable option that I highly recommend is using two BioPEDIC Body Pillows (link to Amazon) on either side of you, and a Cushy Form Bed Wedge Pillow (link to Amazon) to keep you elevated at a 45-degree angle, which helps you to recover faster.
- Use ice packs. A cold compress is excellent for both the pain you may feel in the first day or two, as well as bringing down the swelling and bruising. You may be instructed to use an ice pack periodically for the first 48-72 hours after surgery. After this time, applying the ice before bed will help to reduce swelling that has occurred throughout the day.
- Take medication. As with any surgery, you will be given a prescription for the pain as well as an antibiotic and medicine to help with the swelling and bruising. Be sure to take all medications as directed. Many people find that they do not require heavy pain medication after the first week. Consult your surgeon for questions regarding your medications.
- Try to sleep alone. You love your partner, children, and pets, but for the first few weeks, especially, you should consider loving them from afar. Even the most well-intentioned loved one can fling an arm over in their sleep. Although the chances might seem minimal, you should consider that, while healing, the structure of your nose is very unstable. If you do happen to be hit in the area, you may find yourself back in the operating room to fix any damage. Unfortunately, the unawareness of children and pets is the cause of many post-surgical repairs.
- Sleep on your stomach. Believe it or not, after your surgery, your nose will still be impressionable. While you may think that sleeping on your stomach won’t affect your results if you keep your head still, the risk makes sleeping in this position highly discouraged.
- Sleep on your side. Directly after surgery, it isn’t recommended to sleep on your side because of the pressure, congestion, and possibility of your bottom nostril swelling closed. Fortunately, this direction usually only applies to the first week. If you struggle to sleep on your back, speak to your surgeon at your follow-up appointment to find out if you can begin sleeping on your side.
- Consume too much caffeine. While caffeine itself may not interfere with the healing of your nose, it can have adverse effects on your sleep patterns, which may lead to a lot of tossing and turning. During the first few weeks, try to limit your caffeine intake, especially just before bed.
While it may seem as if there are a lot of instructions on the best way to achieve sleep after rhinoplasty surgery, it’s important not to stress over the process. Be sure to follow all instructions and suggestions given by your surgeon, but you can sleep easy knowing that all will not be lost in the event of a minor slip.
If you do happen to wake on your side or forget to take your medication, just be sure to get yourself back on track as soon as you notice. Keeping up good habits will significantly help the healing of your nose and will prevent more damaging accidents.