One of the most common questions regarding any nose reshaping procedure is what the recovery process will be like. Rhinoplasty recovery is different for every patient but this blog provides information on what the general process is like as well as instruction on what will help or hinder your recovery.
- Rhinoplasty Recovery Time
- Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline
- Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages
- How to reduce swelling after Rhinoplasty?
- Rhinoplasty Recovery Tips
- What not to do after Rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty Recovery Time
The specific recovery process from any nose reshaping procedure will depend on what specific nose reshaping technique was performed. The American Society of Plastic Surgery reported that nose reshaping surgeries were the most commonly performed surgery in 2020 in the United States. For information on the procedure itself, you can view our Female Rhinoplasty or our Male Rhinoplasty service pages.
Since nose reshaping procedures require multiple incisions and tend to alter the bone or cartilage of the nose to achieve the patient’s ideal shape and size, it will take time to recover from the surgery. Generally, it takes a couple of weeks for the initial side effects from the procedure to subside and you should be healed and recovered within six weeks after the surgery.
This blog aims to provide information on the general recovery stages, side effects, and tips. Our blog ‘Ethnic Rhinoplasty Boston: A Patient’s Guide’ explains the different types of nose reshaping techniques that are most suitable for different ethnicities and more specific recovery information on the various techniques.
Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline
During the first week of your recovery, you will need to wear a splint that will be applied by your surgeon after the procedure. The splint acts as a protective covering over your nose and helps the nose to settle into its new shape. It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding the splint which will likely include not removing it and making sure not to get it wet.
The first week is when swelling is likely to be most significant and it will be difficult to smell or breathe properly with the splint on. Most surgeons will recommend taking at least the first week off work to give your nose time to recover and so you can get plenty of rest.
At the end of the first week or potentially at some point in the second week, you will have an appointment with your surgeon to have the splint removed. During this appointment, any non-dissolvable stitches will also be removed and you will be able to see your nose for the first time after your procedure but it is likely to be very swollen.
In the second week following the surgery most patients are able to return to both work and normal activity including light or moderate exercise. The bruising and swelling generally become much less significant around the 10-day mark.
At some point during this period of recovery, you should be able to return to all normal activities including any vigorous exercise. Most patients no longer show any signs of having recently undergone surgery as the vast majority of swelling will have subsided and any bruising should have recovered.
It can take up to 12 months for the final results of a nose reshaping procedure to be fully visible due to the fact that small amounts of swelling can be maintained for the first year. For some patients, who underwent a more complex procedure such as a revision rhinoplasty surgery, the final results may take up to 18 months to be completely visible. For more information on Revision Rhinoplasty procedures and how the recovery period can differ, you can view our page.
Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages
One of the concerns patients tend to have regarding the procedure is how swollen their nose will be after the surgery and how long this swelling will persist. Although the exact extent of swelling or bruising cannot be predicted by your surgeon in advance, the specific technique being undertaken can provide some insight. However, it is each individual’s personal reaction and recovery that will ultimately determine the extent of swelling and bruising.
The first stage of swelling is usually the worst as the swelling and bruising is most significant for the first week after the procedure. Swelling of the face, not just of the nose is also normal after the procedure, especially around the eyes and cheeks. Is also common to experience bruising around these areas, especially around the nose and eyes.
After a couple of weeks, most of the significant swelling and bruising will go down and it will become far less visible. Over the next couple of months, the swelling will drastically reduce and 90% of the swelling will subside within the first three months. Gradually, within a year after the surgery, the remaining 10% of swelling will go down and your nose will have recovered.
How to reduce swelling after Rhinoplasty
Although there is no way to prevent swelling, there are ways to reduce the extent of swelling including:
- Using a cold compress to help reduce inflammation.
- Avoid irritating your nose or sinuses, eating spicy foods is not suggested as they can irritate the nose and increase swelling. The same applies to anything you may have allergies to as this can also irritate the nose.
- Salt should be minimized during your recovery as this increases blood pressure which will also increase swelling.
- Keep your head elevated, even to sleep, as sleeping on your side will likely be uncomfortable and could risk altering your results. It is often recommended that you sleep with your head elevated for about six weeks after your procedure.
Rhinoplasty Recovery Tips
One of the most important tips for a smooth recovery period is planning for it in advance of your surgery. You will likely experience pain and will need to take time off work to allow your body some time to rest and heal.
- Be extremely cautious and protect your nose wherever possible for the first few weeks as an injury to your nose can impact recovery or even your final result.
- As patient’s are unable to breathe properly through their nose, they may suffer from a dry throat caused by having to breathe through their mouth. Some tips to help with this are to drink plenty of water to ensure you are well hydrated, this will additionally help with your recovery in general, and use a humidifier while you sleep.
- Although exercise should be avoided for the first two or three weeks it is still important to go for walks during this period. Not only is this important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle during your recovery, walking helps to increase the oxygen flow in the body which will help the body to heal.
- Having baths for the first week following the procedure is advisable as the splint on your nose should not get wet and having a shower will increase the likelihood of this happening. Additionally, washing your face for the first week will need to be done around the nasal splint so using a cloth to wash the other areas of the face is advised.
- Patients should try to avoid wearing any glasses or sunglasses after the procedure since glasses sit on the top of the nasal bridge, they can add unnecessary pressure and worsen initial side effects such as swelling or bruising.
- Do not blow your nose for the first week and for the first six weeks after the procedure it is advisable to try and avoid blowing your nose. Furthermore, it is suggested that where possible, patients do not sneeze through their nose and try sneeze through their mouths to prevent the nasal passages from being damaged during a sneeze.
What not to do after Rhinoplasty
During your recovery period it is advised to not:
- Drink alcohol
- Injure your nose
- Take your splint off
- Get your splint wet
- Take anti-inflammatory medications
- Take any supplements or pills not approved by your surgeon
This blog’s aim is to assist in your research or preparation to undergo a Rhinoplasty procedure. If you are strongly considering any type of nose reshaping surgery, you should book a consultation with a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in or has significant experience in performing a variety of different procedures and techniques on the nose.
Dr. Markarian is a Harvard-trained Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in performing a variety of nose reshaping procedures for his Boston patients.
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