Breathing after Rhinoplasty: What to Expect

Published on June 7, 2010 by

Immediately following a rhinoplasty, many of my Fort Worth or Dallas patients worry that they will never breathe normally again. Patients may initially feel congested or “stuffy” after surgery because of normal postoperative swelling inside and outside the nose. However, this congestion generally fades in well under a month. Crusting inside the nose, also normal, can interfere with regular breathing, but will subside soon after surgery.

If you’re bothered by congestion following your nose surgery, here are a few things you can do to improve your breathing:

  • Keep your head elevated, even while sleeping, and avoid bending over or lifting anything heavy.
  • Strictly follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions, which may include taking prescription medications for swelling, using a humidifier, or irrigating with a saline nasal spray.
  • Avoid salty foods, alcohol, and hot showers, which can increase swelling.
  • If you have nasal allergies, avoid your triggers—such as dust, pollen, or animal fur.

I’ve developed a regimen of vitamins, supplements, and other post-op medications that can be very effective in limiting and controlling breathing difficulties, so ask your surgeon for his or her recommendations. Once everything heals normally and swelling subsides, you should be able to breathe as well or better than before. If you cannot, notify your surgeon, who will determine the appropriate course of action to correct the problem.

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    Dr. Steve Byrd

    Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

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