Rhinoplasty is a complex plastic surgery procedure that requires significant recovery time. Understandably, patients often have concerns during this time because it’s difficult to assess what the nose will look like once it heals.
Below, we’ve provided a quick guide to help you understand the recovery time for rhinoplasty and better prepare for your post-surgery timeline.
What to Expect During the First Few Days After Rhinoplasty Surgery
For most rhinoplasty patients, the nose will be splinted or packed on the inside and covered with a bandage to protect and support its new shape. You will need to wear this dressing for 1 week; one of our board-certified plastic surgeons will then remove the splint, dressing, and any stitches.
While there is no specific rhinoplasty recovery timeline, swelling typically peaks on the second or third day after surgery and is usually worse in the morning — that’s why it’s best to keep the head elevated as much as possible. As you heal, the swelling will subside and your face will return to normal.
It is also common to have bruising around the eyes and face. The discoloration may become pronounced a few days after being discharged, but it decreases in intensity and usually lasts no more than a week.
How Long Will Swelling and Bruising Last?
Swelling, bruising, and pain will be most pronounced during the first week after your surgery, and you will most likely have some tenderness under your eyes and on your cheeks for up to 2 weeks. Most of the facial swelling and bruising should subside after the second week.
When Can You Return to Work or School After Rhinoplasty?
After your rhinoplasty surgery, follow your plastic surgeon’s recommendations on when you can go back to work or continue your regular activities.
While the length of recovery from rhinoplasty depends on the complexity of the surgery, you should be able to return to work or school in 1-2 weeks. You can begin doing light exercises within 4-6 weeks, but you shouldn’t lift anything heavy for 4-6 weeks or longer.
How Long Will the Final Results Take To Appear?
You may see the initial results of your rhinoplasty 4-6 months after surgery. Although the rhinoplasty’s “healing” is already considered complete at this time, the nose will still undergo further maturation and improvement for up to 1 year. The speed of your rhinoplasty recovery time is determined by the surgical technique used for your rhinoplasty, how extensive the procedure was, and how your body heals itself.
Our plastic surgeons always advise their patients to wait for a full year to see the final results.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Nose During Rhinoplasty Recovery
While rhinoplasty is an effective procedure for reshaping the nose to enhance facial harmony or improve breathing, you need to take care of your nose so it heals properly and achieves the best possible results. Tips for rhinoplasty recovery include:
- Follow our post-surgery care instructions: This ensures a smooth recovery process. His recommendations will help manage your downtime, and he will be available to address all your questions and concerns.
- Apply cool compresses: In the first 3 days after surgery, apply a cold compress (not ice) to your cheeks or under the eyes. Do not apply the compress directly to your nose, as doing so can shift cartilage or bone.
- Keep your head elevated: Sleeping in an elevated position facilitates proper blood flow and helps reduce bruising and swelling. Sleep upright by propping your head on 2-3 pillows. You may resume sleeping on your side in about 6 weeks.
- Get plenty of rest: While congested nasal passages may make sleeping uncomfortable, you will need plenty of rest to allow the body to repair itself.
- Avoid hot showers and saunas: Although it feels good and relaxing, heat may increase the swelling of the tissues.
- Avoid vigorous exercises: Skip the strenuous workouts in the first 6 weeks after surgery to avoid nasal swelling.
- Avoid sun exposure: The skin should not be exposed to strong sunlight for at least three months after surgery since it is more prone to sunburn and long-term swelling during this time. Always wear sunscreen and a hat when out in bright sunlight.
- Don’t smoke: Stop smoking 2 weeks before and after your rhinoplasty. It decreases blood flow, impairs wound healing, and increases the risk of infection.
Schedule Your Rhinoplasty Consultation With Dermatology & Surgery Associates and Bronx Plastic Surgery
Being an informed patient puts you in the best position to enjoy a smooth recovery process and the best rhinoplasty results possible.
At Bronx Plastic Surgery in New York, we are committed to providing patients with the highest level of care, including the right information about their plastic surgery procedures. Our board-certified plastic surgeons are available to answer all your questions and concerns about rhinoplasty’s recovery process. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a consultation.