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Have you noticed that your eyes bruise after getting a nose job? Learn why bruising under the eyes is such a common effect of rhinoplasty.

Why Do Eyes Bruise After A Nose Job?

If you are thinking about a nose job and doing some research on it or if you know someone who has had it done, you might have noticed that some people develop what appears to be “black eyes” after the procedure.

This effect can be troubling to observe. However, it is not as severe as it may at first seem. Swelling or discoloration around the eyes is unfortunate, but it is a minor and temporary discomfort associated with nose surgery.

The following information will tell you all you need to know about eye bruising and why it happens after a nose job. 

About Nose Surgery

A nose job, the medical term for which is “rhinoplasty,” is a surgery that aims to change the shape or structure of the nose. Doctors perform rhinoplasty for appearances and practical reasons like improving the patient’s ability to breathe.

You can think of the nose as two structures in one. The upper part of the nose is composed of bone. The lower part is attached to the bone and is cartilage and skin only. Rhinoplasty can change any or all parts of the nose: bone, cartilage, and skin. 

What Causes Black Eyes?

The term “black eye” refers to when the skin under or around the eye bruises. If it happens to both eyes simultaneously, that is sometimes called “raccoon eyes.” Bruising like this (in or around the eyelids and eye socket) is caused by blood vessels.

They become trapped too close to the surface or burst and bleed into the skin. Typically, these tiny blood vessels called capillaries undergo damage or displacement due to some trauma to the face.

Leaked blood in the surrounding tissue appears black and blue at first, but it later fades to green and yellow as the body begins repairing the blood vessels and reabsorbing the blood. 

Why Do Eyes Bruise After a Nose Job?

After knowing what a nose job does and what causes a black eye, it is not difficult to see how the former results in the latter. Any surgery essentially amounts to trauma to the body.

Although the purpose may be to heal or improve form and function in the long run, cutting into the skin and other tissues does inflict wounds, at least in the short term. The nose shares a lot of blood supply with the rest of the face and skin immediately surrounding it, including around the eyes.

When the nose is damaged, such as it is during surgery, there will be bleeding from the nasal tissue. The leaked blood can seep into the skin around the eyes, causing black eye bruising. More aggressive surgeries like those adjusting bone and not just soft tissue will likely come with heavier bruising, bleeding, and swelling. 

Why Are Nose Jobs Done?

Patients undergo surgery that changes the shape, size, and proportions of the nose for aesthetic reasons much of the time. Even so, these operations are not necessarily always minor or vain.

The purpose of many rhinoplasty surgeries is to correct deformities suffered from birth, illness, or injury. As previously mentioned, doctors also perform nose surgeries to help patients who face challenges breathing due to the physical structure of their nose.  

Risks of Nose Surgery

As we now know, bleeding is a risk of rhinoplasty. Bleeding occurs not just into the skin, but blood can also ooze from the nostrils for a few days following the surgery. Along with blood, mucus may leak from the nose as well.

For that reason, the doctor might give the patient a drip pad made of gauze and tape under their nose to absorb the drainage. Other risks include: 

  • Infection
  • Numbness in affected areas
  • Persistent swelling, discoloration, or pain
  • Septal perforation (hole in the septum)
  • Uneven appearance of nose
  • Cause for additional surgery
  • Difficulty breathing

What to Expect During Recovery

After surgery, expect drainage as described and the possibility of bruising, bleeding, swelling, and skin discoloration. Typically, patients take up to a week off of regular activities to recover. Many feel close to being back to their old selves after that.

It can take two or three weeks for bruising and swelling to subside completely. In some cases, full recovery could take months or even a year. Persistent aftereffects like these are an impetus to follow up with your doctor should you require additional treatment. 

Minimizing Bruising

According to healthline.com, the best treatment for black eyes is usually rest, ice, cold packs, and pain medication. You may want to apply cold compresses at first to affected areas around the eyes.

After the swelling goes down, you can then switch to a warm compress to promote healing. The warmth will help the skin reabsorb blood faster and minimize bruising. Do not put pressure on the bruises as that could damage them further.

Also, avoid strenuous activities like sports or anything that could jostle your head until you have recovered sufficiently. Check the following link for more tips on minimizing bruises after rhinoplasty.

A critical caveat to nursing your bruised eyes is that recommended nose care following surgery contraindicates some of these home remedies. For example, your doctor might not want you to use any cold or warm compresses on your nose. Neither should you take pain medications unless prescribed, as this article by the Mayo Clinic suggests.  

Conclusion

Nose jobs are complicated surgeries. Often, they aim to make minor alterations, so there is a similarly narrow margin for error. The true success of nose surgery may not be known for up to a year afterward when most of the healing is complete. By then, the nose should have assumed its new form.

Luckily, the black eye effects from the surgery should disappear much sooner than that. While the procedure might have broken or disrupted the facial blood vessels, discoloration ordinarily will start clearing up within days or weeks.

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