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Rhinoplasty, Home Care

(757) 668-7000

A rhinoplasty is an operation that changes the shape of the nose.

What to expect after surgery:

  • There will be a splint on your child's nose.
  • There may also be a folded piece of gauze called a "drip pad" under the nose to catch any drainage.
  • The area around the nose and eyes may be swollen and bruised for a few days. Your child’s doctor may want to keep cold packs on the nose for the first 24 hours to prevent swelling.
  • There may be a special material called packing or nasal stents in your child's nose to decrease the chance of bleeding. In the next few days your child’s doctor will remove the packing or stents.
  • Your child will be mouth breathing due to packing and swelling of the nose. You may notice that your child has "bad breath".
  • Your child can return to school in 5-7 days.
  • You may notice blood streaks in drainage from the nose. It is common to have some bleeding for the first 48 hours after surgery. During that time, it may be necessary to change the "drip pad" under the nose several times. It is normal to have a pinkish-reddish drainage from the nose and throat for the first 2-3 days. This will gradually go away.
  • Most children are fussy for the first few hours after surgery. Parents will be brought to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) very soon after the child wakes up.
  • You may notice a red/flushed color on your child's face and chest 1-2 hours after surgery. This blotchy red flushing is a normal response to medicine received in surgery. It will soon fade.

Guidelines to follow:

  • Light activity is allowed. No contact sports are allowed until 4-6 weeks after surgery. Bike riding may be allowed after your child's post-op visit. Ask your child’s doctor about this.
  • You may change the drip pad as needed. When the drainage stops the drip pad may be removed.
  • Do not allow your child to sniff hard or blow his/her nose for one month.
  • Keep the head of your child’s bed elevated at 45 degrees. Your child will be more comfortable with his/her head raised. This will lessen swelling, pain and help him/her to breathe easier.
  • Do not let your child feel, pick, or pull at his/her nose for 7 days.
  • Do not try to clean the inside of the nose until the doctor tells you to. A gentle, over the counter normal saline nasal spray may be used to irrigate the nose. Your child’s doctor will show you the right way to clean the inside.
  • You may gently wipe away blood or crusts from the outside only. Use a damp cloth.
  • Be sure your child wears the nose splint until the doctor removes it 1 week after surgery. This splint must remain dry until it is removed.
  • Do not allow your child to swim or fly in a plane until the doctor allows it.

When to call your child's doctor:

  • Your child has a heavy nosebleed after you go home. Your child begins having a croupy (barky) cough/cry or wheezing.
  • Your child's temperature is greater than 101.5F rectally or by mouth. Slight fevers after surgery are normal. You should take your child's temperature at least once before bedtime that first night after the surgery.
  • Your child has vomiting that lasts more than 6 hours or vomiting is severe. Your child can become dehydrated when he/she has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the loss. The signs of dehydration are:
    • Dry mouth
    • Sunken look around eyes
    • Decreased amount of urine, difficulty urinating or fewer wet diapers than usual in an infant or toddler
    • No tears when crying


Please call if you have any questions. Use the phone number your child’s nurse gives you.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 02/2018

(757) 668-7000