Healing After Rhinoplasty
One of the most common questions rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty patients ask Dr. Louis DeJoseph is simply, “how long will it take before I see the full results of my procedure?” This eagerness is totally understandable – choosing to have a rhinoplasty procedure takes a significant investment on every level and you want to be able to enjoy the fruits of your investment as soon as possible!
But while you may see some results right away once the initial localized swelling has subsided and the healing process is underway, it may take longer before you see the full impact of your procedure. This is due to how the body heals at a deeper level and is called residual healing. In this article, learn more about residual healing, how it works and why it takes so long.
What Is Residual Healing?
While an initial reduction in swelling and early stage healing can be visible within a week following your procedure, there are processes going on at a deeper level that can actually take up to 18 months to fully complete! Residual healing is the name given to the process that unfolds over time when the deeper tissues and cells in and around the surgical site are knitting back together, healing and restoring from the unavoidable trauma due to the surgery.
While in most cases, the majority of healing is completed in four to six months following your procedure, the scope of your procedure can also impact how long it takes your body to fully complete the healing process.
What Impacts How Long Residual Healing Takes?
The scope of a procedure is the number one determinant of how long it will take your body to heal. This can be especially true if you are having a revision rhinoplasty since there will be existing scar tissue at the surgical site that can also impact healing.
However, there is also a lot you can personally do to help your body heal fully as fast as possible! You can start to help your body before your procedure date even arrives by ceasing smoking and drinking alcohol (both have been implicated in delayed healing times) and taking excellent care of your skin. Staying out of the sun and using sunscreen when you venture outside can prevent skin damage that may delay healing.
Stay well hydrated and be sure to talk with Dr. DeJoseph about any medications or supplements you are taking. Certain medications and supplements may affect the body’s ability to heal.
Post-Procedure Tips to Speed Up Residual Healing
Dr. DeJoseph will review everything you need to know about your post-operative recovery process well in advance of your procedure date to give you ample time to prepare.
Carefully following Dr. DeJoseph’s post-operative instructions will get your body on the road to rapid healing right away. It will be especially important to use the recommended ice packs and/or medications to reduce swelling and lessen the chances of infection. This can also ease any bruising much faster so you can see the results of your procedure more quickly.
You will also want to make sure to sit and sleep in the recommended positions to give your body every opportunity to heal quickly and fully. You will need to be extra careful to protect your skin when you go outside after your procedure. Dr. DeJoseph will tell you what to do and can recommend specific sunscreens to protect your skin.
Other Issues That Can Affect Residual Healing
Each patient is different. Dr. DeJoseph has performed thousands of rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty procedures over his career thus far and never have two patients been completely alike! Some individual factors that can impact how long residual healing takes can include skin texture that is thicker or an oil-prone complexion.
Some patients are simply more prone to easy bruising and swelling, and these patients sometimes experience a longer residual healing process. Patients undergoing revision rhinoplasty can often have an extended residual healing process because of the presence of earlier scar tissue and trauma to the area.
The scope of your procedure can also have a significant impact on healing times. For example, if the size of your nose has changed significantly, this can impact how the body heals as well as how long residual healing may take. Your personal choices regarding diet, health, hydration, skin hygiene and sun protection can also impact how long it takes your body to heal from a rhinoplasty or revision rhinoplasty.
The more you can do follow all post-procedure protocols to the letter, get a good night’s sleep, stay well hydrated, consume a healthy diet, refrain from using alcohol or tobacco products and moderate your stress levels, the faster your body will be able to heal from your procedure.
It will also be important to refrain from any types of exercise, group sports or contact sports activities that may impact your surgical site and your overall residual recovery time. Dr. DeJoseph can let you know when it is safe to resume these activities.
You can also talk with Dr. DeJoseph about the use of massage, acupuncture and other holistic healing approaches that may assist your body in speeding up the overall healing process. Be sure to talk with Dr. DeJoseph about these bits of help and the right timing for their use before you schedule any appointments to avoid further trauma to the procedure site!
Louis DeJoseph, M.D., is a world-renowned, board-certified facial plastic surgeon and is considered a top rhinoplasty specialist in the Atlanta area. To learn more and schedule your initial consultation with Dr. DeJoseph, please visit his website.
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