Written by Karah Frizzell

Ask the Doctor: How much does nose surgery hurt? Will you prescribe pain medications?

The pain experienced after a rhinoplasty (nose surgery) varies from person to person, but opioid pain relievers (narcotics) are rarely necessary. Most patients can manage comfortably with a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).

Here are some points to consider:

  1. Immediate Post-Op: Patients usually don’t feel pain during the procedure since it’s performed under anesthesia. Immediately following surgery, the nose may feel congested or blocked due to swelling or nasal packing (if used).
  2. Pain Levels: While some patients report minimal pain after a rhinoplasty, others experience moderate discomfort. The pain is often described more as a feeling of pressure or stuffiness rather than sharp pain.
  3. Bruising and Swelling: The area around the nose, especially under the eyes, may be swollen and bruised. This can cause discomfort but is typically manageable.
  4. Medication: Most surgeons will prescribe pain medication to help manage discomfort in the days following surgery. Over-the-counter pain relievers might be recommended, but it’s crucial to avoid certain medications like aspirin or ibuprofen, which can increase the risk of bleeding. Always follow your surgeon’s recommendations.
  5. Duration: Intense discomfort usually lasts for the first few days after surgery and gradually subsides. Most patients find that they need pain medication for only a short time after the procedure.
  6. Other Symptoms: Apart from pain, patients might experience dryness in the mouth (due to breathing through the mouth if the nose is congested), mild bleeding, or discharge from the nostrils.
  7. Individual Variability: As with any surgery, individuals have different pain thresholds. Some might find the recovery relatively easy, while others might feel more discomfort.

If you or someone you know is considering rhinoplasty, it’s essential to discuss any concerns, including pain management, with the surgeon during the consultation process. The surgeon will provide guidance tailored to the specific procedure and individual patient needs.