The Day of Rhinoplasty Surgery

On the day of your rhinoplasty surgery, you may be nervous. This is normal. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can do to ease your concerns and properly prepare yourself for the experience. The most important thing is to follow your surgeon’s pre-operative guidelines and voice any concerns you may have.

How to Prepare

By following the following guidelines, you should be fully prepared for your surgery.

  • Do not drink or eat anything, including water, after midnight the night before your rhinoplasty surgery.
  • Stop taking certain medications and supplements, including ibuprofen, aspirin and Vitamin E up to a week before surgery. (See your surgeon’s pre-operative instructions for a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid.)
  • Stop smoking at least one month before surgery. Tobacco and nicotine interfere with healing and can lead to scarring. There is no time like the present to stop this terrible habit.
  • Arrange to have a method of getting home from the surgery, as you will not be able to drive or leave the facility without assistance.
  • Avoid sun exposure for two weeks prior to your surgery. Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater to ensure you avoid sun damage.
  • Get your prescriptions filled before the day of surgery.
  • Prior to surgery, purchase anything you will need for your recovery, including but not limited to:
    • Lip balm
    • Beverages
    • Frozen peas (to use as ice packs)
    • Gel cold compresses
    • Thermometer
    • Laxative (you may need help with digestion)
    • Stool softener
    • iPad, books and/or magazines
    • Frozen yogurt and/or ice cream
    • Jello
    • Disposable face wipes
    • Bendable straws
    • Arnica Montana
    • Q-tips and peroxide (to clean the inside of the nose)
    • Gauze pads (to soak up blood if it leaks from the nose)
    • Flashlight
    • Bacitracin Antibiotic Ointment

Your surgeon’s instructions may include additional items for you to purchase.

the day of rhinoplasty surgery female patient before and after photo

The Day of Surgery

Here are some guidelines for the day of surgery:

  • Avoid eating or drinking anything
  • Leave jewelry and other valuables at home
  • Wear loose clothing; do not wear pullover clothing
  • Avoid eye and facial makeup, as well as nail polish
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses
  • If you have dentures, keep them in the day of surgery
  • Arrive early so any remaining paperwork can be filled out and you can be prepped for surgery in a timely manner
  • The anesthesiologist will administer the appropriate dose of anesthesia
  • You will fall into a deep, painless sleep while your rhinoplasty surgeon operates on you
  • After a couple of hours the surgery will be complete and you will wake up with no memory of the surgery
  • When the surgeon has deemed you fit to leave the facility, you will be given the proper antibiotics and pain medication and allowed to leave with a friend or family member

After Your Surgery

Here is what you need to know regarding your recovery the day of your surgery.

  • After your surgery you may feel weak and groggy. This is entirely normal.
  • Any nasal packs will be removed before you are cleared to go home.
  • After an observation period of a few hours, you will likely be cleared to go home.
  • It is very important that you rest and refrain from moving around too much.
  • Avoid blowing your nose (for two weeks)
  • If you need to sneeze, keep your mouth open
  • Use nasal spray to keep inner nasal tissues moist. A couple of puffs four to five times a day will help you heal and keep you more comfortable
  • Drink liquids. It is important to stay hydrated as you may not be able to keep solid foods down.
  • Sleep with your head elevated (above your heart). Use propped pillows to offer your head and back adequate support.

Common Questions about the Day of Surgery

What do I need to do to prepare for the day of surgery?

There are a number of steps you need to take to prepare for surgery. The most important are to stop taking certain medications, stop smoking if you are a smoker, arrange for a ride home from the operating facility and get your prescriptions filled. For a complete list, see our section above on this topic.

Is it possible that I will wake up during surgery?

No, you will be under general anesthesia, so you will not wake up until after the procedure. Although other forms of anesthesia are available for rhinoplasty, most surgeons believe that they are inadvisable and far inferior to general anesthesia. Speak with your surgeon for more information.

How long does the procedure take?

Most rhinoplasty procedures take about an hour and a half to two hours. Revision rhinoplasty procedures can take up to four hours.

Can I go home after my rhinoplasty procedure?

You will need to remain at the operating facility for observation for a few hours, but after that a friend or family member can drive you home. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of instructions to follow during your recovery.