Rhinoplasty recovery times can vary. Rhinoplasty, also known as a nose job, is surgery that improves the size, shape, or function of the nose. There can be a medically-necessary reason for rhinoplasty, such as correcting breathing problems or reconstructing damage from an accident, or you can choose to have rhinoplasty for cosmetic purposes.

If you’re considering a nose job, this article will let you know what to expect in your nose job recovery week by week. Don’t go in blind – understand what you are in for, what you will feel like, and what you will look like throughout your recovery from rhinoplasty surgery.

How Long Does it Typically Take to Recover From a Rhinoplasty?

The time that it typically takes to recover from a rhinoplasty varies depending on the type of rhinoplasty you need to improve the appearance of your nose, your body’s unique healing, and how your diligence in aftercare.

It typically takes up to a year to complete nose job recovery, although most rhinoplasty patients are completely healed within four to six months.

Nose Job Recovery: Week 1

Rhinoplasty is an outpatient procedure. Depending upon the complexity of the work being done, the actual procedure should take no more than a couple of hours under general anesthesia. You will go home that same day; however, you are required to rest for the first week or two after the surgery.

You will have bandages on your face and a splint supporting your nose. The splint will be taped to your cheek or forehead. There can be bloody discharge from the nostrils, so gauze is often taped under the nose as well.

You can expect to be sore and experience pain during the first week of recovery. The nose and surrounding area will be swollen and appear bruised, along with the area under the eyes. Keeping your head elevated while resting will reduce swelling and discomfort. 

You should take off from work and stay home, rest, and avoid strenuous activity during the first week after surgery, at least. Resting for the first few days is essential to nose job recovery.

Nose Job Recovery: Week 2

For most rhinoplasty patients, the splint and bandages will come off in the second week during their follow-up visit with their plastic surgeon. There will still be some bruising and swelling during the second week of rhinoplasty recovery.

Whether to return to work or go out in public after the first week is entirely up to you and how you feel about your appearance. Regardless, you should still avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting, and if that sort of activity is part of your job, it might be prudent to take more time off.

Nose Job Recovery: Month 1

Most swelling and bruising should have subsided after the first two weeks, and the discomfort caused by the surgery and the healing process will have decreased for most patients after a month. You will likely be able to see many of the results you expected from the rhinoplasty. While some swelling of the nose could remain, it may only be noticeable to you and your family.

Your doctor will advise whether you can return to normal activities or continue to avoid strenuous exercise.

Nose Job Recovery: Months 2-3

During the second and third month of rhinoplasty recovery is when your face will start to feel and look like itself again, but with an improved nose shape, size, and/or contour. Be aware that the very tip of your nose is very susceptible to swelling and could retain some subtle signs of swelling for up to a year.

Nose Job Recovery: Months 6-12

For some rhinoplasty patients, it takes up to a year for that small amount of swelling at the tip of the nose to subside. This can be especially true if you have thick skin on your nose. Once the swelling does subside, you will see the final rhinoplasty results.

Three Factors That Impact Rhinoplasty Recovery Time

Factor #1: Rhinoplasty Recovery Time Depends on Procedure

There is temporary, non-surgical rhinoplasty available that has little to no recovery time attached. But for surgical rhinoplasty, there will always be a period of recovery. The length of that nose job recovery and your limitations will be dictated by how quickly you heal and the complexity of your procedure.

More invasive procedures like rhinoplasty for a crooked nose or wide nose rhinoplasty will have longer recovery time because your surgeon needs to make more substantial adjustments to the bone, cartilage, and skin of the nose.

Factor #2: The Health, Age, and Lifestyle of the Patient Can Affect How Quickly They Recover from Rhinoplasty

If you’re older and have one or more medical conditions, this may slow the healing process. As a general principle, younger patients heal more quickly, barring health or lifestyle issues. Regular use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can also slow the nose job recovery process.

Factor #3: Whether the Patient Complies with Discharge Orders

Your discharge orders will expressly provide instructions on what to do and what not to do in the days and weeks following your rhinoplasty. If you fail to follow these instructions you risk extending the recovery period and compromising the results of the cosmetic surgery.

How Can I Speed Up My Rhinoplasty Recovery Time?

In order to speed up rhinoplasty recovery time, follow this advice:

  • Rest for the first two weeks and otherwise comply with discharge instructions
  • Manage expectations for when the bandages initially come off
  • Take it easy for the first couple of months and let your body heal
  • Accept that the final result may not reveal itself until a year has passed
  • Stay confident that you will soon look like you want to look like

How Long Will My Nose Be Swollen After My Rhinoplasty?

How long your nose will be swollen after a nose job depends upon the complexity of your procedure, how easily you bruise, how quickly you heal, and whether you follow the aftercare instructions. If you follow the aftercare instructions, you can expect most swelling to subside in two to three months. However, the very tip of the nose may retain some subtle swelling for up to a year.

Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages

Rhinoplasty Swelling: Week 1

While swelling after rhinoplasty may vary based on the patient and the complexity of the procedure, there are some key rhinoplasty swelling stages you can expect. Your nose will be swollen immediately following the surgery and in most cases, swelling will worsen slightly by day three or four. This is normal. After the first few days, swelling begins to subside quickly and by day 7 or 8 you will start to notice significant improvement.

Rhinoplasty Swelling: Week 3-4

The majority of swelling should be gone by week three or four. This means that while you may have some residual swelling until month three, your nose will look “normal”. The swelling won’t be substantial and often isn’t noticeable.

Rhinoplasty Swelling: Week 9-12

Swelling after rhinoplasty should be gone completely between nine and twelve months. However, if you had a more complex rhinoplasty procedure, it could take closer to 18 months to reach the final result of your rhinoplasty.

Choose the Best Surgeon to Ensure The Best Rhinoplasty Results

Since rhinoplasty is a complex surgical procedure, it is important to choose a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with years of experience in rhinoplasty. Even if you opt for non-surgical rhinoplasty, the doctor’s knowledge and skill is the deciding factor in providing a natural appearance post-procedure.

If you’re interested in improving your nose or learning more about nose job recovery week by week, contact Dr. Castellano to schedule a complimentary consultation. He is double board-certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He specializes in facial rejuvenation and focuses on aesthetic plastic surgery with natural-looking results. 

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