Getting a “nose job” is something many of the rhinoplasty patients at my Chicago practice have thought about for years, starting when they were teenagers. If you count yourself among those considering rhinoplasty or you have just made the decision to get surgery, this blog post can serve as a guide to get you on your way.
Use this timeline to learn about the logistics of the planning process, starting with finding the right doctor for you.
3 to 6 Months Before
The first step in your journey is finding an experienced plastic surgeon. It is common to begin with physicians recommended by family or friends. If you don’t have a referral, I recommend searching online and reading reviews of surgeons in your area. Once you have some options, independently gather information about them, beginning with confirming they are certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Check out their training, experience with rhinoplasty in particular, and before-and-after photos of previous patients. Much of that can be done be reviewing the surgeons’ websites.
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates, schedule consultations with 2 or more. Prepare a list of questions to ask, and be ready to answer questions about your medical history. It’s also the time when you have a candid conversation about your cosmetic goals and what rhinoplasty can accomplish. Many patients are interested in using computer imaging to get a preview of possible results, but its usefulness for rhinoplasty planning is limited. I caution patients not to expect the results you might see in computer-generated images. Although imaging can facilitate a conversation about your desired outcome if you are having a difficult time explaining your aesthetic goals, it is often difficult for a surgeon to create results that match up once this delicate procedure begins.
At your consultations, in addition to getting lots of answers and information, you should also search for a positive, comfortable experience. It’s important to choose a surgeon with whom you have a good rapport. Once you find that physician, schedule your procedure.
1 to 2 Months Before
Next comes the process of telling your friends and loved ones. Decide whom you want to share your surgery news with, and give some thought to how they might react. If you have children, consider how many details you want to share. Decide whether you are comfortable telling co-workers.
You also need to enlist the support of someone who can take you to the surgery and drive you home following the outpatient procedure. If you live alone, it is a good idea to arrange for someone to spend at least one night in your home to help out.
Plan to take at least a week off work. Each patient’s recovery is unique, but plan on taking it easy for several days even after returning to work. Arrange for any time off that you need, and don’t schedule anything in the days after your procedure.
2 Weeks Before
At this time, you may need to stop taking certain medications. The specialist you select should provide detailed preoperative instructions listing any medications or supplements that need to be discontinued. Certain medications, such as aspirin or medications that contain aspirin and blood-thinning agents, impair the body’s blood-clotting ability and should be avoided before surgery.
1 Week Before
A week before surgery, start taking care of logistical things around your home. Fill prescriptions for pain relief medication and any other drugs you may need. In the first few days after surgery, you will probably not want to do much more than take a few short walks and rest. It’s wise to have books, magazines, or the TV remote control on a bedside table. Get plenty of clean pillows for your bed, because you will need to keep your head elevated after surgery. Make sure bills are paid and chores are done. If you won’t have someone preparing meals, make sure your refrigerator is stocked with nutritious, prepared foods and snacks.
1 Day Before
The day before your rhinoplasty, take a shower. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight. It is also a good idea to have everything you’ll be taking with you ready before going to sleep the night before surgery. Call the person who is driving you to the surgery to confirm the schedule.
The Morning of Surgery
The big day has arrived! Don’t have anything to eat or drink. Don’t wear any makeup or jewelry to the surgery center, and be sure to wear a shirt that does not go on over the head so you can get dressed without disturbing any bandages. Lastly, head to the surgery center with your loved one, and get excited about your upcoming results.
Being prepared is a good way to alleviate the anxiousness that patients naturally feel before surgery. Knowing that you’ve been diligent in choosing a surgeon and preparing for rhinoplasty provides peace of mind.
Do you have any other good preparation tips patients should know before rhinoplasty? Leave them for us in a comment below.