Is Rhinoplasty Painful?

Patients considering a nose job have a wide range of questions and concerns. There is simply no way around the fact that surgery will come with some level of inconvenience, unpleasantness and physical discomfort. Anyone who claims to not have any worries about rhinoplasty or any type of upcoming surgery is likely being disingenuous. Even if the procedure is considered routine and the surgeon has an extraordinary track record, there is always the possibility of something unforeseen happening.

While it may never be possible to reduce all risk when it comes to surgery, the patients with the best outcomes are always going to be those who are the most informed and who have realistic expectations. These are the ones who ask questions and keep asking them until they are as prepared as they can be.

One question that is bound to be high on the list of anyone contemplating surgery is about what to expect when it comes to pain. The answer is not always easy. Every surgical procedure is different. Even the exact same procedure is done in a radically different way today, from how it was performed just a few years ago. What may have involved major incisions and extended healing periods can now be done with a couple of tiny cuts, a miniature camera and equally tiny instruments. The good news is that this also equates to significantly reduced time necessary for recovery, as well as less pain.

When talking about rhinoplasty, the currently preferred closed method is done with all incisions being made inside the nose, through the nostrils. Besides the advantages of there being no visible scarring, less bruising and swelling and a shorter recovery period, there is also very little pain. The most experienced rhinoplasty surgeons, skilled in the closed method, use very little, if any, gauze or other material for post-op packing, which is one of the more common causes of discomfort and pain.  For these patients, there will usually be some bruising, swelling and discomfort immediately following the procedure, but, actually, minimal difficulties in breathing and not much pain.

Some patients may experience prolonged periods of swelling and discoloration, but for many closed rhinoplasty patients, the results and “new look” will be noticeable within just a few days of the surgery. The aesthetic improvements will become more refined and more apparent as time goes on and function will only get better as all swelling disappears. Most closed rhinoplasty patients are soon pain-free and even ready to return to work or school within a week or two.

One thing to keep in mind is that not only is every surgery unique, so is every patient. Pain thresholds and tolerance levels are rarely the same from one person to the next. This is something that should be addressed during the original consultation with the rhinoplasty surgeon and discussed throughout the process. While being totally pain-free may not be possible, there are often medications that can be helpful, as well as suggestions for post-op practices that may go a long way in making recovery easier and more pleasant.

The key to this part of the rhinoplasty process is the same as it is for so many others; open, clear communication with an awareness of what’s coming next and how it is going to be handled. Doing this simple step can often make all the difference in how many things, including surgery, are experienced.