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Nasal Douche After Rhinoplasty Part 1: Why You Should “Shower” Your Nose with Care

by | Oct 24, 2014 | Blog, Rhinoplasty

Congratulations! Your rhinoplasty is complete and you’re on your way to enjoying a better appearance and, in some cases, better breathing, too. To ensure that your new nose continues to look and function at its best, now is the time to practice nasal douching.

In this post, we’ll explore the why of this important healing practice. In part two, you’ll learn the how.

What is Nasal Douching?

Nasal douching, also known as nasal irrigation, sinus irrigation, and nasal lavage (to the red carpet set) introduces a saline solution into the nose. This solution assists your body’s natural processes in removing clots and crusting from the nasal lining as it heals.

Nasal douching is vital following nasal surgery, particularly during the first 3 months or so after your operation.

What Does Nasal Irrigation Do for the Nose?

In the short term, nasal irrigation after rhinoplasty makes it easier for nasal tissues to heal without infection. In the long term, it cleanses the nose and relieves congestion.

In addition, it can be useful on a more permanent basis in patients with ongoing swelling and infection of the nasal lining and sinuses (rhinitis and sinusitis).

Methods of Nasal Douching After Rhinoplasty

The general process involves water going up the nose and out again in order to flush out mucous, allergens and germs to ease sinus-related problems. Dr Marcells recommends Positive Pressure Irrigation where water is pushed into the nose by a squeeze bottle.

Other options include:

  • Negative Pressure Irrigation – Water is sniffed from a cupped hand, but studies show that it does not distribute the solution evenly.
  • Neti Pot – Water is poured into one nostril where it flows behind the nose and into the nasopharynx. Unfortunately, “Patients often feel like they’re drowning,” says Dr Sezelle Gereau Haddon, a specialist in paediatric otolaryngology.
  • Nebuliser – Delivers a fine mist or vapour into the nasal passages.

The preferred method of nasal irrigation is partially dependent on a patient’s preferences, but it should be noted that some studies show some methods are more effective than others.

“A 2002 study published (compared) three methods of nasal irrigation to determine how much solution travelled through the nasal passages and where the solution went. Irrigation techniques that allowed more water to reach further into the nasal passages were deemed most effective. The only technique that did not pass muster was the nebuliser, according to the study, because the vapour remains in the fleshy part of the nose and is ineffective at irrigating the nasal passage” – ABC News

Nasal Douching – Keeping It Clean

The main risk with nasal douching is that both the irrigation device and the water source can become contaminated. This contamination will inflame, rather than heal nasal linings, and can do much worse:

“Louisiana state health officials reported on the deaths of a 20-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman… Both had used tap water in a neti pot.” – New York Times

Proper sterilisation of the bottle you are using and the water that goes into the saline solution is critical to the safe and effective use of a nasal irrigation regimen.

Now that you understand the importance of nasal douching after rhinoplasty or other nasal surgeries, we invite you to learn the simple steps for irrigating your nose and accelerating your healing.

Click here for Part 2 – The How-To of a Nasal Douche after Rhinoplasty.

Want to Know More?

If you have additional questions about nasal douching, rhinoplasty, or anything else mentioned in this post, please contact us on 1300 555 095. You can also use email or use the ‘book consultation’ feature of this website to make an appointment.

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Meet Dr Marcells

MBBS (Syd), FRACS (ORL-HNS)
President – Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons

Dr George Marcells is known for excellence in facial plastic surgery and is considered a true master of rhinoplasty. He performs advanced surgical techniques to restore balance and harmony to the face and can also resolve functional issues such as breathing difficulties.

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