Pioneer of the most advanced tools in rhinoplasty, Dr. R. Laurence Berkowitz has some tips for those looking to get a nose job this summer. Sun exposure, water sports and eye glasses (including goggles) can all impact the results of the procedure, says Dr. Berkowitz. Here is his advice on how to avoid harm and, at the same time, enjoy the hot season.
You pioneered power tools in rhinoplasty. What are they and what are their advantages?
I introduced the concept of using power tools to the Rhinoplasty Society in 2005 and have since generated new interest from surgeons across the U.S. Since the development of even smaller, higher speed power tools – referred to as Piezo electric tools, I have been educating surgeons on this quickly adaptable technique for our specialty and have demonstrated the proven patient results, which are astonishing.
Using power tools for rhinoplasty greatly reduces the amount of trauma in the surgery process. The traditional use of rasps, hammers, and chisels [still used today] often leave the patient with a good deal of bruising, imperfect bone cuts and irregularities. This new technology is finally moving rhinoplasty techniques into the 21st century! It gives surgeons more control and precision, and patients more predictable results, dramatically decreased bruising and pain, and rapid recovery. We can routinely return our patients to work or school within one week!
Is rhinoplasty a good idea during the summer months? What tips would you give patients who are considering having the procedure during the hot months?
Summer can actually be an ideal time to undergo rhinoplasty, especially for those who are able to take time off during the summer – such as students and teachers – or for those who prefer to use summer vacation time to recuperate, rest and be pampered. But it’s not an ideal time for avid outdoorsmen with an affinity towards water sports!
We have to take into account that the nose can be more sensitive to the summer sun and heat post-surgery. Since the sun can exacerbate swelling, it’s best to try and stay indoors at least a few days immediately following surgery.
Once patients venture outdoors, it’s critical to protect the nose from the sun’s UV rays by being 100 percent diligent in wearing sunblock on the face and nose leading up to and after surgery, and also avoid excessive water activities.
After rhinoplasty in the summer, can patients wear shades? While shades might protect part of the nose form the sun, do they impact healing? When can the patients start wearing shades?
I often recommend that patients wait at least four weeks before wearing eye glasses of any kind since the nasal bones are still recovering during this time and the weight and pressure from glasses can cause indentations.
There are exceptions with ultra light-weight glasses that won’t cause pressure, but even with these, I ask patients to tape the bridge of the sunglasses between the eyebrows to take any potential pressure off of the nose.
It’s extremely important to note that sunglasses do not in any way shield the nose from the sun’s harmful UV rays, so patients need to stick to their diligence in protecting their nose with sunblock during the weeks of summer recovery.
How long should patients wait post rhinoplasty to go into the water? What are the consequences if they go swimming too soon?
The incisions need to be fully healed before patients can go swimming. This can typically take two to three weeks. The reason for this is that waterborne infections can be quite serious and very difficult to treat, therefore, caution has to be applied before getting into a swimming pool, bath tub, lake or the ocean.
Once you do get in the pool, remember that the same rule applies with water goggles as they do with other types of eye glasses – wait four weeks minimum before putting these on.
Also, while it’s safe to swim in a pool or float around on a lake after the allotted waiting period for incisions to heal, I advise patients to wait much longer before participating in contact and water sports such as water skiing or water polo since there’s a risk that the nose can be injured. It may take a few months for the nose to fully settle into its new shape, so it’s not until this stage that I feel comfortable telling patients to engage in more risky activities.
What summer activities should patients avoid post the procedure?
In addition to the water sport activities, I advise my patients to avoid sun bathing since sun exposure can cause swelling, as well as hyper pigmentation of the skin and scars. I remind them to always protect the nose with sunblock during the first six to 12 weeks post-surgery.
That doesn’t mean though that having rhinoplasty will fully put a damper on any vacation plans! Sunblock, a good hat, and ultimately relaxation is all you need to help your nose recover!
“Master of rhinoplasty,” Dr. Berkowitz has toured the world to speak on the latest plastic surgery techniques and devices, and is most notably recognized as one of the first surgeons in the U.S. to use high frequency power tools for nose reshaping. He practices at Aesthetx in Campbell, CA.