What You Need to Know about Nasal Packing after Rhinoplasty

Regardless of the surgery that you’re going ahead with, your recovery is something that you need to plan for. Knowing what to expect will ensure that you feel more at ease after your surgery.

There are a number of things that will happen after your rhinoplasty procedure. Along with closing your incisions with stitches, your surgeon will also apply a nasal splint and might add packing to your nose. Visit next nose job FAQs & gallery page for more details.

Overall, your rhinoplasty recovery will be slightly uncomfortable but your doctor will provide you with the necessary pain medication and aftercare instructions to ensure that you achieve your desired result. It’s important to carefully follow your surgeon’s instructions and to stick to your post-operative appointment so that your progress can be evaluated.

There are a lot of different opinions about packing and whether it’s necessary but let’s start by looking at the basics.

Nasal Packing Explained

Nasal packing is basically sterile cotton gauze that is inserted into each nostril after your rhinoplasty procedure.

The packing is designed to absorb any blood and solution that is dispelled from your nose after your surgery but patients often feel that this is one of the most uncomfortable parts of their recovery. This is because packing blocks your nasal passages, which causes congestion and makes breathing through your nose impossible. Patients will need to breathe through their mouths until the packing can be removed.

Fortunately, packing can be removed several hours after your surgery so you won’t be heading home with it. However, some surgeons prefer for patients to keep the packing in until their follow-up appointment the week after their surgery.

The Pros and Cons of Packing

Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of using packing for extended periods of time.


Breathing will be uncomfortable and difficult, particularly if the packing is left in for a week

Wearing packing for longer periods of time can increase the risk of infection

Your post-operative appointment will be slightly more painful if the packing has been left in

Packing increases the chances of blood clotting during the first week of recovery


If an anaesthetic is used when inserting and removing the packing, you will receive the benefits of packing without the pain

Packing can help keep bleeding, bruising and swelling to a minimum

Alternatives to Nasal Packing

Some surgeons choose to forgo nasal packing completely, while others prefer to use a nasal drip pad.

A drip pad is a disposable pad that is placed underneath your nose after rhinoplasty. The pad is attached to the outside of the nose so naturally, it is far more visible than packing but since you will be at home this shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

Like packing, a nasal drip pad will collect any fluids and may need to be changed before your post-operative appointment. Your surgeon will show you exactly how to change the pad without putting your nose at risk.