Monthly Archives: April 2012

Rhinoplasty and Anesthesia

Rhinoplasty is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure and the procedure requires patients to be under the effects of anesthesia. For some patients this is a concern as there are risks associated with the sedation, but the risks of anesthesia are less than the risks for the patient who is not fully sedated during the surgery.

Why Full Anesthesia?

Some surgeons feel comfortable with using a local anesthetic for a nose job, but most prefer a full anesthesia even though the surgery is only on a very small portion of the face. Some of this is for medical reasons – being under full anesthesia allows the surgeon to better monitor the patient during the surgery and the full anesthesia also allows the surgeon to ensure that the patient’s airway stays open during the surgery as well.

The full anesthesia also protects the patient from the unpleasantness of a full rhinoplasty procedure. The surgeon will be doing some tugging, chipping and even breaking of the nose. Being awake – even if you don’t feel the pain of the surgery – means that the patient is able to hear the sounds of the surgery in very close proximity to the ears. The sounds may disorient the patient or make her feel more uncomfortable during the procedure, even if she’s not actually in pain.

The Risks of Anesthesia

There are some risks associated with anesthesia, but careful conversation with the surgeon prior to the surgery as well as honesty about preexisting conditions and risk factors that may contribute to the possible side effects will help to ensure a safe experience. Patients should be sure to disclose any smoking and the use of alcoholic beverages. Medical conditions should also be explained in detail so that the surgeon and anesthesiologist can better manage any risk.

How Much Downtime to Expect with Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty surgery isn’t hugely invasive, but there can be broken bones and plenty of bruising. To determine just how much downtime to expect following the procedure, patients first need to understand exactly what “downtime” means. There are different levels of recovery that have to take place before the patient is finally healed.

The First Few Days

In the first two or three days, the patient will be in the most pain and will require some medication to help manage the discomfort. Most patients are off any pain killers following the first few days, however and they are able to return to work after that time. While there will still be bruising and swelling, some of the changes can be hidden with a heavy layer of make-up. A bridge worn over the nose will be present as well to offer support during the first week of healing as well.

The First Week

Patients will be required to wear a splint on their nose for about a week following surgery. At a follow-up appointment about a week after the surgery, the patient will have the splint removed and the only visual reminders of the surgery will be bruising, a bit of residual swelling and – of course – the newly shaped nose.

The First Month

Some swelling and bruising may persist for a few weeks after surgery, and the tissues and bone will still need time to fully adjust to the surgery. Patients should be very careful with athletic events or other activities that would potentially damage the nose again following surgery, especially in the first month to six weeks as this is still critical healing time. After six weeks, the surgeon will likely fully release the patient to normal activities as the rhinoplasty should be fully complete.