7 Helpful tips to reduce nasal swelling after rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty or a nose job can cause a number of problems after the cosmetic surgery is performed. Pain and swelling is one of the most common after effects of rhinoplasty. Though these are temporary problems and always subside in a few weeks, it could be very distressing while it lasts. A number of methods can be employed at home for reducing the swelling and helping the person cope with the situation better. These are simple methods that can be done at home and do not have any reported side effects.

Elevate your head

Elevating your head will improve the blood circulation to the facial area and this will greatly reduce the swelling on the nose and around the eyes. While lying down, you may stack pillows to keep your head in a level that is higher than your heart to increase the circulation. A better option would be to use a recliner or a back rest which will give better comfort and ease while you sleep. Remember to keep the head in an angle about thirty to forty five degrees so that your neck muscles are not strained. Continuous blood supply to the area will speed up the healing process and reduce pain, thereby reducing the severity of the problem.

Cold compress

Cold compress is one of the simplest methods that can be done at home to reduce and prevent swelling and also to numb the pain caused due to the procedure. For doing a cold compress, you can wrap ice cubes in a soft cotton towel and apply on the areas around the nose and eyes. Apply for about 25 minutes a session and continue 2-3 times a day. You can also use an ice pack for the purpose. You have to be careful as to avoid applying ice packs when the bandage is still on. It is not recommended to use the cold compress on the nose where the procedure has been done. At times an ice pack could be too cold and cause discomfort rather than pain relief. In such cases, you may want to use a pack of frozen peas or other packed vegetables for the purpose. Use a wash cloth to cover the frozen pack to keep your skin protected from the cold.


Several pain medications also have anti inflammatory properties and hence can be used for treating inflammation as well. However, these medications must be avoided at least a week before the surgical procedure is undertaken as it has been reported that intake of NSAIDs can actually extend the healing process after the surgery. There are several natural medications for treating pain and swelling. Arnica Montana, a homeopathic herb helps in controlling the swelling associated with rhinoplasty. Bromelain, an enzyme present in pineapple is also a potent anti inflammatory agent which can be used for treating inflammation. Bromelain supplements can be taken after consultation with a herbalist. Generally, bromelain is advised a week before the surgery and must be continued for about two weeks after the surgery. Arnica too must be started about a week before surgery and continued for about a week after surgery. These medications do not have any side effects and are also good for reducing the recovery time in general.

Avoid hot water showers

We generally tend to take bath in hot water after a surgery as it is known to heal wounds faster. However, for inflammation, taking a hot water bath is not advised as it can cause the swelling to get aggravated. Hot water showers might also increase your healing time and hence best avoided unless suggested by the doctor. However, warm showers are extremely beneficial in treating inflammation and also for reducing pain associated with the surgery. You can also soak yourself in a warm bath taking care to give adequate steam and warmth in the area of surgery as well. Warm showers encourage the healing of the wound and also reduce the swelling near the eyes and nose. A warm compress too can give the same result as a warm shower. Ensure that you speak to your plastic surgeon before that so that you do not have to deal with complications after the surgery. Nevertheless, all these must be done only after the splint and bandage is removed.

Reduce sodium intake

Sodium can cause a whole lot of complications when you have any kind of inflammation. Rhinoplasty too will have swelling of some kind for the first few weeks and during this time, it is important to avoid salt or any food that contains sodium in excess. Sodium is known to worsen swelling due to water retention in the body. Limit the intake of salt or sodium to a bare minimum or completely avoid salt for a few days if you have severe swelling and other complications associated with rhinoplasty. Once the symptoms subside, you can start a regular diet which could be anywhere between a few weeks to even months depending on the body’s capability to heal.

Wear a splint

Most patients who go through rhinoplasty will have to wear a splint or a bandage for a few days until the surgical wound starts healing. Wearing a splint or a tape helps in diminishing the swelling and hence an essential part of the healing process. It is of utmost importance to ensure that the splint is worn until the doctor recommends and care is taken to ensure maximum healing while it is worn. Splint must remain dry during the entire period it is worn in order to prevent infections and swelling. No cold or warm compress must be attempted at this time as it can trigger an infection.

Restrict movement and activities

Strenuous activities that cause the blood to rush to the facial areas must be avoided after rhinoplasty. At least a month of abstinence from such activities like lifting heavy objects, bending, etc. is advised in order to prevent swelling and slow healing of wound. However, light activities like walking is encouraged immediately after the surgery itself as it increases blood circulation and encourages faster healing. Walk for a few minutes everyday as walking does not cause any direct impact on the surgical area and hence very good for healing and prevention of swelling.

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