Rhinoplasty is also known as a "nose job," and while most people who undergo this type of surgery enjoy uneventful recoveries, post-operative complications can arise. Here are three things that may raise your risk for post-surgical complications following your rhinoplasty:
Cigarette smoking can delay healing after surgery. The toxins in smoke impairs circulation and can cause damage to the tiny capillaries of the nasal tissues, diminishing blood flow. Adequate blood flow is essential in the healing process, and when it is impaired, the risk for infection rises.
If you smoke, try quitting prior to your procedure, and if you are unable to quit on your own, talk to your health care provider about smoking cessation therapies such as medication, nicotine replacement chewing gum, or cognitive therapy. Not only will quitting smoking help you avoid complications following your rhinoplasty, but it will also reduce your risk for cardiovascular and respiratory problems.
Anticoagulants such as aspirin thin your blood, raising the risk for excessive bleeding. Post-operative bleeding from the nose can disrupt internal sutures or stitches, and if your blood becomes too thin as a result of aspirin consumption, nasal hemorrhage may develop.
Do not take aspirin for pain relief following your surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe pain relief medication that you should take instead. If your prescription pain medication produces unwanted side effects, your doctor may recommend that you take plain acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
If you take prescription anticoagulants or if your physician prescribed aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke, do not discontinue your medication unless advised to do so. If you stop taking your blood thinner, you may be at a heightened risk for developing a blood clot or cardiac event.
Allergies can also result in post-operative complications following nasal surgery. Allergic reactions cause inflammation of the mucus membranes, sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. All these symptoms can delay healing and raise the risk for bleeding and infection.
If you have allergies, talk to your surgeon about taking decongestants or antihistamines following your procedure. Also, if you develop seasonal allergies after your surgery, keep your doors and windows closed to avoid outdoor pollen and ragweed from entering your home.
If you experience an increase in pain or bleeding, or if you develop a fever, chills, headache, fatigue, or muscle pain, call your surgeon as soon as possible. These may be signs of a bacterial infection which may necessitate a course of antibiotics, or complication in the healing process which may require a revision procedure. For more information, talk to a professional like William M. Parell, MD, PSC.