During the first post-operative visit, all dressings, splints, casts, and sutures will be removed. I do not pack the nose so if anything needs to be removed from inside the nose, such as after septoplasty, it will be an easy experience.
The post-operative appointment is not comfortable, but it is not painful. I will usually re tape the nose to help keep nasal swelling down, and the tape will remain on for about two to three more days. There is a great deal of variability in how long rhinoplasty surgeons suggest keeping the nose taped post operatively. I treat a very active and private patient population.
Most of my patients need to return to work as soon as they feel well enough to. I have not found that extending the period in which tape should stay on the nose after rhinoplasty has had any positive effect the surgical outcome. In cases of very thick skin and complex nasal tip work, I may elect to inject a low concentration of steroid into the nasal tip to prevent prolonged edema. The tip is usually pretty numb after rhinoplasty so the injection is not particularly painful.
In the population of patients who I perform cosmetic surgery on and in those who are undergoing rhinoplasty, everyone wants to know when they can return to activity. I have had surgery and I have worked out religiously for a long time. However, I needed to recover from the surgery and a good surgical outcome was worth more than getting a work out in that could put my recovery at risk. I tell my rhinoplasty patients that they can walk as much as they would like immediately following surgery.
I advance activity levels over the next 3-4 weeks. I do not encourage heavy exercise until at least 3 weeks have elapsed and even then I ask my patients to increase their level of exercise slowly. Issue such as prolonged edema of the nose and shifting of cartilage are real potential complications if activity levels are too high too soon. I also advise against any sport or activity where the nose could be potentially hit for at least 6 weeks following rhinoplasty. I figure, there is a great deal of time and expense that the patient has committed to the rhinoplasty procedure. Why rush through things before your body is really ready to take the next step.