Rhinoplasty: Breathing After the Procedure!

Rhinoplasty: Breathing After the Procedure!

Cosmetic surgery often proves beneficial not only for enhancing one's appearance but also for correcting the functionality of the treated area. A prime example is the Rhinoplasty procedure.

This surgery is among the most commonly performed, and its popularity is understandable. The nose is a feature that cannot be hidden. If Mother Nature did not make the right choice, or if trauma has marred it, a simple solution might be acceptance. However, if you are here reading this, I doubt that's your case.

Sometimes, the deformity is not merely an aesthetic concern but interferes with proper nasal functionality. I want to focus on breathing after a Rhinoplasty in this article.

Rhinoplasty: Two Surgeries Dedicated to Your Nose

Nose-related procedures attract a broad audience, encompassing both genders. Conceptually, there are no substantial differences; only some particulars may vary.

In reality, variables extend beyond the gender of the patient, shaping themselves on a case-by-case basis. The goal of any cosmetic surgery should be to seek harmony in the change.

  • The best result is one that goes unnoticed. In other words, a good nose should not appear artificially "perfect." Instead, it should be "perfectly" integrated into the patient's face, as Mother Nature "should have" done.

  • The final distinction to make is between purely aesthetic or functional surgery.

Rhinoplasty (Septorhinoplasty): More than Aesthetic Correction

Every patient who walks into my office has an issue with intolerance toward one or more parts of their body. Perhaps, to complicate matters, there is dysfunction aggravating the situation. This can often contribute to a loss of self-esteem, even to the extent of limiting one's life.

The nose is a prime example of how imperfections can coexist with alterations in the functionality of a specific anatomical part. The only solution, in this case, is the Rhinoplasty or Septorhinoplasty procedure.

  • Structural changes can involve the entire nose or just the tip.

    • The tip, being purely cartilaginous, causes minimal bruising, mainly swelling. Moreover, this swelling persists longer in this area.

    • The nasal pyramid, however, has a bony portion. Correcting it almost always involves fractures, resulting in the well-known bruising around the eyes. The visibility of this bruising varies case by case.

  • Achieving proper functionality involves various surgical maneuvers to increase nasal airflow. This can be done in various ways depending on the problem:

    • Straightening the septum,

    • Reducing turbinate volume,

    • Removing any polyps,

    • Lifting a droopy tip,

    • Reinforcing the cartilaginous structure with specific cartilage grafts to better resist the negative pressure during inhalation.

  • There are also two different approaches to intervene.

Despite being erroneously considered one of the most painful surgeries, it is not so. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Pain is often so minimal that prescribed mild painkillers are not even used.

If you are concerned about nasal packing, in some cases, they are removed before discharge, sometimes the next day. This removal causes little to no discomfort, debunking another myth.

As with all surgeries, following your surgeon's advice to the letter is the key to achieving the best result in the shortest time. Few precautions are needed to influence the final result and the time it takes to achieve it. However, it might not always be enough. We are still talking about the human body, sometimes unpredictable in how it settles after trauma.

Swelling and Breathing

In a Rhinoplasty or Septorhinoplasty, swelling, also known as edema, lasts longer than in other surgeries.

  • The localized volume increase is due to fluid retention in the area. It will be reabsorbed on its own, but giving it a little help can be a winning idea. Massages that aid drainage are recommended to facilitate this.

At first, in the initial days, this swelling is soft due to the accumulation of fluids. It then hardens as it transforms into fibrous (or scar) tissue. This tissue takes several months (even a year or more) to retract and reveal the final volume.

Simultaneously, there might be internal swelling affecting the mucous membranes. This swelling is highly variable and depends on how traumatic the internal intervention was.

Let's then address breathing. Why might it be challenging to breathe after a Rhinoplasty?

Firstly, let me reassure you by saying that, in a good portion of cases, nasal breathing is preserved immediately after the procedure. However, there are situations where there is initial difficulty or a perception of not breathing well. The causes could be:

  1. Internal swelling: As explained earlier, this swelling mechanically closes the nostrils, restricting the passage of air. This situation can occur with both purely aesthetic and functional surgery.

    • It may seem strange not to breathe well, given that many undergo surgery to resolve this mechanism.

    • However, this internal swelling can be significant initially.

  2. Potential blood loss: Possible in the postoperative period, it could cause clots that obstruct the airflow.

    • Nasal washes recommended in the early days with a saline solution also serve to prevent this occurrence.

  3. Less commonly, there could be breathing difficulties after rhinoplasty if the indicated functional corrections have not been executed adequately or not at all.

    • In this case, the perception of breathing difficulty will not be limited to the first few weeks but will continue to characterize nasal function.

    • Resolving the issue might require a subsequent intervention.

The nose is our natural pathway for breathing, along with the sense of smell. Therefore, having a sensation of difficulty and having to open the mouth to compensate might be unpleasant for some.

In the case of surgery, this situation is more commonly temporary and resolves after a few weeks, sometimes even sooner. It's crucial to be patient. The Rhinoplasty or Septorhinoplasty procedure is an excellent example where the patient must live up to their name, be patient.

If you are unhappy with your nose and perhaps have suboptimal functionality, come to my office, and together we will find a solution to your discomfort.

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