What to Expect from Rhinoplasty Recovery

November 14, 2022

What to Expect from Rhinoplasty Recovery

One of the first things most people want to know about rhinoplasty is how intense the recovery period is. Having the right expectations about any cosmetic surgery is important. Knowing what to expect and what to do to get the best results is essential before you ever set foot into a surgeon’s office.


Length of Recovery Time for a Rhinoplasty

Every person is different, so recovery is unique to each individual. The time it takes to heal to enjoy the final results will vary based on many factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Overall health
  • Thickness of skin
  • Surgical technique utilized
  • How closely postoperative instructions are followed
  • A person’s tendency toward bruising and swelling
  • Whether this is a first or revision procedure
  • If other procedures are done at the same time as the rhinoplasty

While factors may vary, this information will pertain to the average. Speak to your surgeon for more personalized information about what to expect.

Immediately Following Surgery

Rhinoplasty is performed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. Upon waking, someone will need to drive you home and should be available to help you for one to two days. A splint may be inside the nose, outside the nose, or in both locations. Pain medication will be prescribed for discomfort. After surgery, achiness, congestion, bleeding, swelling, and bruising may occur.

Wearing eyeglasses, putting on makeup, and breathing through the nose will not be possible at this juncture.

The First Week

The first few days will require the most rest and be the most uncomfortable. Whenever possible, relax with your head propped up. Cold compresses can be used for swelling and discomfort. Sleep on the back with the head elevated and avoid activities that might put your nose in harm’s way. There may be some bloody oozing that occurs for 1-2 days after surgery. Due to not breathing through the nose, your throat and mouth may be dry, and sleeping can be disrupted. Care for and clean the incisions as the surgeon directs. The splints will be removed within the first week.

The Following Weeks

Mild discomfort, bruising, and swelling may continue for up to two weeks and should completely disappear by four to six weeks. Light activities can be undertaken after about a week of resting. Wait two weeks for more strenuous activity. Continue sleeping on your back and not wearing glasses of any kind.

The full recovery will take time. Swelling can be significant and may take an extended time to resolve. The shape of the nose will continue to change for months as it settles into its new form. Be patient as the final results may not be seen for up to a year. The surgeon should assess the recovery through follow-up appointments throughout this time.

Final Thoughts

Now you have the basics of what to expect following rhinoplasty surgery. It’s important to speak with your surgeon to get additional information. Some surgeons will have additional tips and information for your recovery. You can also call with questions about recovery after the rhinoplasty is complete.