External vs. Internal Rhinoplasty Splints

Rhinoplasty SplintAt the San Diego practice of board certified plastic surgeon Vincent Marin, we use external and internal nasal splints to help us achieve the best possible rhinoplasty results. Here, we explain the uses of external versus internal splints, as well as information regarding the removal of rhinoplasty splints.  

The Goal of the External Splint

It is common for external splints to be placed on the nose after rhinoplasty surgery. The external splint serves a number of functions, including:

  • Maintaining the nose’s new shape: After nose surgery, the splint is used to keep the reshaped nose straight. The splint will keep any nasal bones that were fractured, along with the manipulated cartilage, in place. Keeping the nose and underlying bone stabilized during recovery is critical to achieving ideal results.
  • Protecting the nose from injury: The splint offers some protection against injury and infection. In addition to wearing the nasal splint, patients should only engage in light activity during the recovery phase of rhinoplasty. Moderate to heavy activity and any activity that could result in injury to the nose should be avoided in the weeks after surgery.
  • Reducing swelling: Swelling is a common side effect of any surgery. Use of surgical tape and a nasal splint will compress the skin and reduce swelling after rhinoplasty surgery. The splint will encourage the nasal skin to heal directly on the cartilage, producing more precise results. When the nasal skin swells after rhinoplasty, it creates a space between the skin and the cartilage in which hematoma and scar tissue can form. Ideally, we want to reduce swelling so the skin heals flat and smooth on the nasal cartilage. In cases of hematoma and scar tissue formation, new irregularities may develop, making the results of surgery less predictable.

The Goal of the Internal Splint

The internal splint may be used for patients that have undergone septorhinoplasty. The internal splint can:

  • Support the septum: The internal splint, a soft silicone splint, is placed to support the position of the septum after nasal surgery.
  • Reduce bleeding: Internal splints compress the skin and mucous membrane, thereby reducing bleeding and hematoma.
  • Encourage the tissue to heal on the cartilage: After rhinoplasty surgery, an internal splint can be placed to encourage the lining of the nose (the mucosa) to heal on the internal framework of the nose (the bone and cartilage).

When Will the Nasal Splint Be Removed?

At the San Diego practice of Dr. Marin, the external and internal splints are typically removed after seven days.

Is Nasal Splint Removal Painful?

Many patients experience a combination of apprehension and excitement when they return to our office so the nasal splint can be removed. Dr. Marin will gently remove external and internal splints to minimize discomfort. Patients report feeling some pressure when the splint is removed, but few experience severe pain. Once the splint is removed, patients can take their first look at their post-surgical results.

Contact Marin Aesthetics in San Diego to schedule your personal rhinoplasty consultation with Dr. Vincent Marin.

About the Author:

Dr. Vince Marin is a San Diego board-certified plastic surgeon specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body. If you wish to contact Dr. Marin, write to [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter!