The Importance of Splints After A Rhinoplasty Procedure
Following any type of plastic surgery, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders in terms of recovery and postoperative care. For those who have just undergone rhinoplasty surgery, the operation on the nose typically results in the patient wearing a splint to keep the nose protected during the healing process.
Splints may be made of metal, plastic, or silicone. They are used to protect the nasal dorsum (bridge of the nose) and support the nasal septum while the nose heals. By having the splints securely in place, it ensures that the bones that have been repositioned remain stable as they heal. The septal splints are typically worn for only the first few days following rhinoplasty surgery, but the dorsal splint is worn for anywhere from a week to 10 days.
Rarely, gauze packing may be used inside the nose for internal splinting. This is more typical in the repair of nasal trauma than in cosmetic or functional (for breathing) rhinoplasty. Doing this helps prevent possible hematoma (collection of blood) formation. The internal packing compresses the mucous membranes and supports the nasal bones, providing the necessary support the tissue needs after an uncontrolled injury which may have broken the bones in many places. Patients typically find this method uncomfortable as it clogs the nose, and requires early removal due to an increased risk of infection when left for more than 48 hours.
No matter what type of splint we fit a patient with, we advise them not to remove or adjust it. Moving a splint will hinder the repositioned bones’ ability to heal correctly, and it can also expose the patient to the risk of bumping their newly reshaped nose on something. Having this happen could result in needing an additional surgery.