Swelling and healing after rhinoplasty: what to expect


An overview 


Rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, is a surgical procedure that involves reshaping and reconstructing the nose. It can be performed for aesthetic or functional reasons, such as correcting a deviated septum or improving the appearance and breathing functionality of the nose.

After rhinoplasty, patients may experience swelling, bruising and discomfort in the nose area. The swelling stages and healing timeline can vary from person to person and depend on the complexity of the surgery.


Typically, rhinoplasty swelling can be categorised into three stages:


  1. Acute swelling: This occurs immediately after surgery and can last for up to two weeks. During this stage, the nose may feel tender, sore, and swollen.
  2. Subacute swelling: This occurs from the second to the fourth week after surgery. Swelling may decrease during this stage, but patients may experience discomfort and inflammation.
  3. Late swelling: This occurs from the fourth to the twelfth week after surgery. During this stage, most of the swelling should have subsided, but there may still be some residual swelling that could affect the final appearance of the nose.

You may also witness some swelling, bruising, and redness around the nose tip, face, or under the eyes since they are in close proximity to the nose.

Note: The healing timeline for rhinoplasty can vary from person to person, but generally, it can take up to a year for the nose to fully heal and for the final results to become apparent. During this time, patients should follow their surgeon’s post-operative care instructions, such as avoiding strenuous activities and wearing a splint or bandage to support the nose during the healing process.


Also Read: Open Vs Closed Rhinoplasty


Here’s a detailed breakdown of the timeline of rhinoplasty recovery stages.


Timeline: swelling and healing after rhinoplasty


Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that requires a considerable amount of recovery downtime. While most of the healing process occurs in the first few weeks, residual swelling may persist for up to a year.


Though recovery may differ from person to person, you can expect it to follow this timeframe. 


Recovery in the first few weeks


Week 1:

In the first week after surgery, you should allow sufficient time for rest and recovery. You may expect significant swelling for the first few days, along with tenderness and potential difficulties with breathing through the nose.

The surgeon may apply a splint or nasal dressings on the nose for support. During this period, you may see some bruising around the eyes, cheeks, and lips, as well as puffiness at the nasal tip. Uneven swelling and asymmetry may also be observed during the early stages of recovery.


Week 2:

You may expect reduced swelling compared to the first week. The remaining bruising can be concealed with makeup. By the second week, you may return to desk work,  provided your job is not strenuous. You should avoid intense and demanding activities for up to six weeks.


Week 3-4:

By the third or fourth week, there should be a noticeable reduction in swelling, and the most visible signs of surgery should have disappeared. Your new nose will be more defined, and you will begin to see the results of your rhinoplasty. You can take part in moderate exercise at this point. However, if you had a revision rhinoplasty or have thick skin, some swelling may persist.


Also Read: Your Guide To Having Bulbous Nose Rhinoplasty


Here are some common noticeable signs of swelling reduction after rhinoplasty in the first month:

  • Decrease in the overall size of the nose
  • Improved definition of the nasal tip
  • Reduced prominence of any humps or bumps on the bridge of the nose
  • Improved symmetry of the nostrils and nasal passages
  • Easier breathing through the nose


Recovery of the nose month by month


Months 2-3: 

As healing progresses and swelling continues to subside, you will begin to see the results of your rhinoplasty. Swelling of the nose tip will reduce, showing significant results, and you should feel more confident about your new nose.

However, it’s important to note that it can take up to a year for all swelling to resolve. During this period, the bone structure will become more stable, allowing you to wear spectacles and resume weight-bearing exercises.


Months 3-6: 

At this stage of recovery, any numbness or tingling sensation on the skin or inside the nose should begin to resolve. You may start low-impact exercises while avoiding putting pressure on the nose for any reason.

You can expect to see the visible effects of rhinoplasty during this phase. However, the nose will still need time for complete healing.


Months 6-12: 

Within a year, the final results of your rhinoplasty procedure will become apparent, with minimal to no swelling. Changes in the nose during this period will be subtle, with the repositioned cartilage fully conforming to its new shape and the nasal tip appearing more conical and refined.

Please note that several factors may affect your recovery timeline, such as skin texture and thickness, revision surgery, or extensive nasal reconstruction. During your consultation with Dr Adnan, he will discuss the expected recovery process for your specific rhinoplasty procedure.


Tips to reduce rhinoplasty swelling


While there will be swelling and bruising after the rhinoplasty, Dr Adnan will offer you these tips for a speedy recovery from your rhinoplasty:

  • Sleep on your back, trying to keep your head elevated on several pillows (for the first week) to reduce fluid buildup, congestion, and discomfort. Avoid sleeping on your side or belly.
  • Avoid hot baths and showers. Avoid splashing water onto the nose.
  • Use cool compresses and ice packs around your nose to help reduce swelling, but be sure to wrap them in a towel to avoid ice burns.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to reduce swelling and prevent fluid retention.
  • Avoid salty foods, which can increase fluid retention and lead to more swelling.
  • Eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and proteins that promote wound healing.
  • Avoid strenuous activities for 3-6 weeks to prevent increased blood flow and swelling.
  • Do not smoke, as it slows the healing process and increases the risk of complications.
  • Avoid blood-thinning medications that can affect bleeding and impair healing. Consult your doctor before stopping or changing any medication.

Rhinoplasty is one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures. Even though it takes nearly one year to show full results, rhinoplasty is popular because it can improve the nose’s shape, angle, and size and can also enhance breathing by resolving nasal constriction.

Most patients who visit Dr Adnan for rhinoplasty visit him for two reasons.

Firstly, they know that enhancing their nose with rhinoplasty will improve their overall appearance.

Secondly, they are 100% confident about choosing Dr Adnan as their rhinoplasty surgeon in Dubai.

Dr Adnan Tahir is one of the most renowned plastic surgeons in Dubai, with 20+ years of experience in cosmetic surgical procedures.

Rhinoplasty can have a significant impact on your self-image and self-confidence. Improve your nose and your confidence with Dr Adnan’s rhinoplasty.

Maryam A
Maryam A
Dr adnan he was very attentive, supportive, caring, and genuinely friendly. He did an amazing job. His nurses Janine and June were amazing helping me prior and supporting and checking up on me afterwards.
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