What is Nasal Packing? Is Nasal Packing a Thing of the Past?

You are seriously contemplating rhinoplasty. You may be thinking about this cosmetic procedure for several reasons. Your breathing may not be as clear and easy as you would like it to be because you have issues with your nasal passages. The appearance of your nose may be your biggest concern. You want to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with what you see.

That being said, you want to be well-informed about rhinoplasty, what will happen during your procedure, and what you can expect during the recovery process. You have heard of a practice known as nasal packing and you want to know if it is still in use today.

Understanding Nasal Packing

Nasal packing was used most often in the past during the recovery process after rhinoplasty. It involves using gauze or cotton to pack your nasal passages. It almost looks like a tampon is being placed in the nose in order to control bleeding. The packing is also meant to be beneficial in keeping swelling down, as well as bruising, following surgery. However, it is extremely uncomfortable. You can’t breathe through your nose at all while it is in place, making you feel like you have a severe head cold or sinus infection. If you are trying to escape those respiratory problems, the thought of nasal packing may make you wonder if you want to go through the procedure, especially when it could be in place for as long as two weeks. Fortunately, it is not the common course of action anymore.

Nasal Packing is Practically Obsolete Today

On rare occasions, your plastic surgeon may choose to do light nasal packing after a procedure in order to enhance your blood’s clotting process. If it is necessary, it will only be in place for two days at the most. However, you are more likely to be able to go through recovery without packing blocking your nasal passages.

Thanks to advances in rhinoplasty and techniques used by skilled surgeons of today, the trauma of rhinoplasty have been reduced. Modern technology and new approaches have made it possible to reduce bleeding, keeping it to a minimum. With less bleeding, there is no need for packing. It is more likely that you will have a small splint that is worn over your nose. This will give it support, immobilize it, protect it, and keep your swelling down.

What Can You Expect During the Recovery Process After Rhinoplasty Today?

Rhinoplasty today is much easier on the patient than it used to be, although you will play a major role in ensuring you have a positive experience. You will be given instructions from your plastic surgeon to help you to make good progress with healing. One of the most important things you can do is to wear your splint as directed for the first couple of days. Once the splint comes off, you need to protect your nose. Avoid any activities as recommended by your surgeon. At night, try sleeping propped up by pillows or in a recliner to make it easier to breathe. You also want to make sure you don’t roll over and apply pressure to your nose. You should take the recommended amount of time off. If your surgeon tells you to take two weeks for recovery, heed your surgeon’s advice. You need the time to recover and avoid the risk of injury. You also want to reduce the risk of developing an infection. You are going to find that it is hard to breathe through your nose after your procedure. This is normal during the healing process. Avoid the urge to blow your nose or apply any pressure whatsoever to your nose. This can only cause more harm than good.

Have Patience as Healing Begins

The most uncomfortable period will be within the first three days following your procedure. You’ll notice some bruising and swelling. You may have gauze at the base of your nose to absorb any bleeding. This can be changed as needed. You may experience some numbness in your nose and even your front teeth after your surgery, but this will go away soon. Within two weeks, you see a major improvement in all of your symptoms. If you have any concerns, such as lingering pain, heavier bleeding, or fever, be sure to contact your plastic surgeon to come in for an evaluation. If you develop an infection, you will need antibiotics. You want to address any concerns right away to help you in the healing process.

Think About Your Options

Before you move forward with surgery, be sure that this is what you want, you are prepared for surgery, and you know what to expect during your recovery process. Think about your goals for your procedure and what will make you happy. If it will benefit your health by helping you to breathe easier and avoid sinus infections, you may have even more motivation to move forward with surgery. Placing yourself in the right hands will help you to have the best experience. Be aware that the extent of your surgery will play a role in the recovery process. If you are able to have closed rhinoplasty, in which incisions are made inside your nose, you will have a shorter recovery time as compared to open rhinoplasty, in which an incision is made at the base of your nose between your nostrils. If your nose is being completely reconstructed, it will take more time for all of your swelling to go down. You can expect more bruising as well. Your plastic surgeon will be your guide as you learn what rhinoplasty will mean for you in order to make informed decisions about your procedure.

Turn to a Surgeon You Can Trust

Andrew Frankel, MD, FACS is known throughout the world for his expertise and experience involving rhinoplasty. He is highly skilled in revision rhinoplasty as well.

Contributed by Kath Mitchell

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