Tips for a Smooth Rhinoplasty Recovery
The rhinoplasty recovery period can be challenging, but it is, of course, a necessary step in order to achieve your nose surgery results.
Whether you plan to undergo rhinoplasty purely for cosmetic reasons or you want this procedure to correct a breathing issue with your nasal passages (a deviated septum, for example), it’s important to understand the recovery process first.
What to Expect During Rhinoplasty Recovery
Rhinoplasty procedures require general anesthesia, so patients must be taken home by a trusted friend or family member. In addition, we advise patients to request that someone stay with them for the first 24 hours of the healing process.
During the initial period of recovery, some discomfort, swelling, bruising, and drainage are normal symptoms. You may have trouble breathing out of your nose as the nasal passage may be too swollen and clogged. Swelling may extend around the nose to the cheeks and upper lip.
Rhinoplasty Recovery Time Tips
#1 – Follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery.
Every rhinoplasty patient will receive a packet of specific instructions for their recovery. These directives must be followed closely if you want to heal well and achieve your desired results. Be sure to review your post-op instructions before your surgery so that you can plan ahead and make any necessary arrangements.
#2 – Do not blow your nose for the first few weeks.
For at least several weeks, do not blow your nose. This can be a challenge as you may have congestion and drainage from the use of saline nasal spray.
However, it’s important for rhinoplasty patients not to jar their nasal passages as they heal or they may accidentally shift their bones and cartilage. Instead of blowing your nose, gently use a cloth, tissues, or cotton swabs to gently dab and soak up any excess drainage.
You should also avoid sneezing altogether. Either try to curb the sneeze completely, or if you feel one coming on and can’t stop it, try to sneeze out of your mouth.
#3 – Eat a convenient and healthy diet.
While a full-blown liquid diet isn’t required during the first week after rhinoplasty, you may find that choosing easier-to-chew foods is helpful. Foods like applesauce, mashed potatoes, soft-steamed or roasted vegetables, soups, and smoothies are recommended.
After the first week, most patients can switch to regular foods. But always be sure to choose healthy meals and snacks. It may help to prepare these meals ahead of time or sign up for a meal service.
#4 – Use a cold compress to help with nasal swelling.
Facial swelling, especially around the nose, can cause discomfort and delay your results. To minimize swelling, try short periods of putting a cold compress on your surgical site area. Always consult with your surgeon first for optimal icing times and proper use of compresses.
#5 – Keep your head elevated.
Laying fully prone as you heal from rhinoplasty may increase nasal swelling. For this reason, plastic surgeons advise staying at a slight incline even while you sleep.
This position will reduce swelling and can be achieved by propping yourself up with pillows or a specially designed wedge pillow. Or, you can use a recliner to sleep in if you find this preferable.
#6 – Stay out of the sun.
Too much sun exposure can delay healing of the nasal skin and tissues, possibly even causing incision scars to appear hyper-pigmented and more noticeable over time. Even after your incisions have healed, stay out of the sun, wear protective hats, and use sunscreen whenever you are outside (yes, even on cloudy days!).
#7 – Be careful not to stress, strain, or jolt yourself during recovery.
The nasal bones, cartilage, skin, and swollen nasal tissues are all in a delicate state following surgery. Some patients will actually have an intentionally broken nose that needs to fully heal in order to achieve their results.
For these reasons, it’s important to move slowly and steadily during your recovery. Do not run, jump, or move quickly or violently. Also, be careful not to trip or fall.
#8 – Attend all follow up appointments.
Your surgeon will want to ensure you are in good physical health and are healing well after surgery. In order to monitor your progress, they will meet with your periodically for follow up appointments where they will check your incisions, ask you questions, take your blood pressure, and more.
Attend all of these appointments, or be diligent in rescheduling if you must miss one. Each follow up appointment is important.
How Long Is Rhinoplasty Recovery?
During the first few days following surgery, patients will typically experience the most discomfort. Pain can be treated with prescription pain medication. Cold compresses can help with both swelling and discomfort.
In the following weeks, each patient’s rhinoplasty recovery timeline typically follows a slow but consistent progression toward improvement. If you look online for some examples of rhinoplasty recovery photos day by day, you’ll see that every day, the patient improves.
Sometimes, the improvement is very small, but over time, you will see obvious changes. Most patients can resume normal activity — including non-physically taxing jobs — within one to two weeks.
The average rhinoplasty recovery time (initial period) is around four to six weeks, so it usually only after this time has lapsed that the patient can go back to exercise. Before that, light walking is recommended to increase blood flow.
Although you will see significant results after a few months’ time, most patients will not see their full rhinoplasty results for up to a year.
FAQ: Rhinoplasty Surgery Recovery and Results
How long after rhinoplasty will I look normal?
After your surgical procedure, you may not see the final shape of your nose for up to one year or more. However, after two to three months, most patients feel much more comfortable in public, and incision sites, scars, and swelling are hardly noticeable. With that said, do keep in mind that all patients heal at different rates.
How long do you have to be off work after rhinoplasty?
Most patients can return to work after one to two weeks as long as they do not have highly physical jobs.
What is non surgical rhinoplasty recovery like?
Non surgical rhinoplasty comes with a much easier recovery than open or closed rhinoplasty (surgical rhinoplasty). Redness, slight swelling, and some itching may occur. But most of these symptoms will dissipate within a few days.
What if I end up with a botched nose job?
Every plastic surgery comes with risks, but the majority of rhinoplasty surgeries go well and achieve the patient’s desired results. What’s most important is to choose a facial plastic surgeon who is board certified and has specific experience performing nose job surgery. This is your first line of defense in avoiding the need for revision rhinoplasty surgery.
Book Your Rhinoplasty Consultation Today
A nose job can improve imperfections in your facial features, restore facial balance, and fix breathing problems. If you are interested in rhinoplasty and would like to know more about the recovery period, your first step is to set up a consultation appointment with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Smita Ramanadham.
At your consultation, Dr. Smita will review your medical history and current medications, talk to you about your desired outcome, show you rhinoplasty before and after photos, and discuss your options with you. Call us today to set up your consultation!