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Recovery After Rhinoplasty – Tips and Timeline

Tips for Recovery after Rhinoplasty – Tips and Post-Op Day-to-Day Timeline

Rhinoplasty is one of the most highly demanded procedures in plastic surgery. As a result, there are generally questions surrounding this procedure, for example; How painful is nose surgery recovery? How long does it take? What is it like? And most importantly, how can you heal faster?

The road to full recovery after rhinoplasty can be long and challenging. However, we will be there with you every step of the way. Our nose surgeon Dr Stephen Kleid is experienced in rhinoplasty. With over decades experience, he has developed surgical techniques allowing him to perform nose surgery. He will tailor a recovery plan for each patient to ensure the recovery process is as smooth and pleasant as possible. Your comfort is his priority.

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Learn more on Rhinoplasty

About Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is a cosmetic plastic procedure that alters your nose’s external appearance. It does so by reshaping your nasal structures. This includes your nasal bones, cartilage (the soft part of your nose), and overlying skin.

By altering your nose’s shape, size, and symmetry, rhinoplasty is a procedure that provides both aesthetic and functional changes. Even more so when performed in conjunction with a septoplasty.

The septum is the flexible internal structure between your two nostrils. It can block your nasal passage and cause breathing impairment in some individuals.

Recovery After Rhinoplasty – What to Expect?

Rhinoplasty is an outpatient procedure usually done under general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia with an intravenous sedative. Dr Kleid will help you choose what’s best for you. Surgery time can last between one and three hours, depending on the extent of changes being made.

Below is a week-by-week timeline of recovery after your rhinoplasty, from the moment you open your eyes after your nose procedure.

Immediately After Rhinoplasty

After your plastic surgeon is done with your nose procedure, you will be transferred to a nearby room to recover. As the anaesthesia starts to wear off and you begin to wake up you may feel worn out and lethargic.

It may take some time before the anaesthesia is fully out of your system. During this time, you will be blissfully unaware of any postoperative pain. Your plastic surgeon will then pass by to check up on you, once your surgeon confirms that you are alright you will be able to go home.

Your nose may be put in a splint or guard to help maintain its new shape and size after surgery. The nose splint is usually worn during the first week of the rhinoplasty recovery period, or until the fragile nose tissue begins to heal.

Dr Kleid will leave you with a set of rhinoplasty after-care instructions that you need to religiously adhere to during your healing period. This includes medication regimens and a list of what you can and cannot do after rhinoplasty.

1 to 3 Days After Rhinoplasty

The first few days following your rhinoplasty can be rough. Most of the postoperative pain, bruising, and swelling are at their peak during this period. The pain after nose reshaping surgery is mild to moderate. Fortunately, you can manage this through pain medication you will receive from your plastic surgeon.

You should also expect, under-eye bruising as well as eye and nose tissue swelling. These side effects are a part of the healing process in any surgery, including nose jobs. However, this swelling can make, your face appear asymmetrical and your nose swollen. Don’t be alarmed. Things often get worse before they get better. That being said, any severe pain, excessive bleeding, or breathing difficulties are serious red flags, if you experience any of these issues contact your plastic surgeon immediately.

Recovery After Rhinoplasty – 1 Week

Towards the end of recovery week one, your plastic or ENT surgeon will remove any remaining staples, sutures, and nasal packing left from your surgery.

Furthermore, any pain from your nose procedure should be minimal by this stage, you should only feel minor tenderness at your surgical site. This in turn means that you will not need to rely on pain relief medication as much. The black bruises that litter your face should fade into soft greens and yellows as your tissues reabsorb the accumulated blood from surgery.

Unfortunately, swelling will take a little longer to dissipate, but day seven after rhinoplasty should bring along some noticeable changes in your nose shape. Any breathing difficulties that are a result of swelling should also begin to subside.

2 Weeks After Rhinoplasty

Two weeks into your recovery after your rhinoplasty, you should no longer experience any lingering bruising or general discomfort. Your new nose will become remarkably more distinguishable as the swelling continues to decrease.

If necessary, your surgeon may perform some fine-tuning to your nose at your two-week appointment. This may involve the use of special tape, injectables, and certain massage techniques to ensure the best results.

From this point on your follow-up appointments will become farther apart.

3-4 Weeks into Recovery After Rhinoplasty

Though far from a full recovery, most of the swelling will be gone one month post nose surgery. Most of the visible side effects of your rhinoplasty will be gone.

It’s safe at this stage to slowly resume your everyday lifestyle. If you have a more physically challenging job, you may head back to work or resume your typical daily responsibilities at this point. Moreover, you can resume your usual fitness regimen, as long as it does not involve any strenuous activity, swimming, or flying objects.

6-8 Weeks After Rhinoplasty

Almost two months after your nose surgery, your nasal bone structures should be fully settled and stabilized. Any lingering swelling, especially at the nose tip, continues to feel better as well. You may return to more strenuous activities such as weight-bearing exercises and resistance workouts. But be sure to consult with Dr Kleid if you are unsure when you can resume a certain activity.

3-6 Months After Rhinoplasty

For many, this is thought to be the last stage of recovery after rhinoplasty that warrants necessary follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon. At this stage of your recovery, almost 90% of the swelling should be gone.

If you’ve had any problems with sensation inside your nose or skin during your rhinoplasty recovery period, they should resolve by now. This includes numbness, tingling, and burning sensations.

12-18 Months After Rhinoplasty

The road to full recovery after a nose procedure is notoriously long. It takes a year or more (especially in cases of revisional rhinoplasty) for the remaining 10% of your swelling to completely disappear. At this point, the changes to your nasal architecture should fully conform to its new shape.

The length of the recovery after rhinoplasty should never be a deterrent from undergoing the procedure. The majority of patients report being happy with their results as soon as one month after their nose job surgery.

Recovery after Rhinoplasty – How to heal quickly

Unlike other cosmetic surgeries, rhinoplasty recovery time depends on your appearance, and not on your bed-bound and helpless state. Regardless, you’re still expected to devote some time and effort to your nose healing process.

So what is the fastest and best way to recover from a nose surgery? Here are some tips on how to deal with pain, bruising, and swelling after rhinoplasty.

How to Relieve Pain After Rhinoplasty?

More effectively relieve pain after rhinoplasty surgery:

  • Use pain medication as per your plastic surgeon’s instructions and only when needed.
    • This can include acetaminophen and ibuprofen, or stronger medications
  • Apply cold compresses to restrict access of painful inflammatory mediators (flowing through your blood) to your surgical site.
  • Allow yourself plenty of rest and avoid any activity beyond light leisurely walks, especially in the first 2 weeks following your nose procedure.
  • Wear button-front shirts, and stick to foods that don’t require any aggressive chewing. This will minimise the chances of knocking your nose in the first few days of your rhinoplasty healing period.
  • Use nasal saline sprays to moisturise and clean your nose after rhinoplasty.
  • Never blow your nose, as this can cause unnecessary pain and may compromise your still fragile nasal architecture.
  • Never hesitate to ask for some assistance around your house. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many are willing to help as you heal from your nose procedure.

How to deal with bruising after Rhinoplasty

You’d be surprised to know that bruising after a nose procedure, though common, is not always a given. Bruising after rhinoplasty depends on several factors including;

  • The extent of your procedure
  • Your age
  • The presence of a bleeding disorder
  • Or, the usage of blood thinners.

Here is how this can happen faster:

  • After consulting with your GP, stop blood thinners including any aspirin-containing medication before your rhinoplasty (at least 2 weeks before). They can increase the risk of bleeding complications, including severe bruising.
  • Apply bromelain to your rhinoplasty surgical site. It’s a mixture of anti-inflammatory enzymes derived from pineapple extract. It can help with both your bruising and swelling.
  • Keep exercise to a minimum for at least the first 5 days of your rhinoplasty healing period.
    • An increased heart rate causes increased blood flow, and this can worsen your bruising.
  • Wear your compression device as recommended, whether it’s a splint, tape, or bandage. This limits the blood from seeping out further into your skin.

How to reduce swelling After Rhinoplasty

The nose is known for its ability to retain swelling, especially at the tip, more than the rest of your other body parts. Here are some tips to get rid of your swelling faster after a nose procedure:

  • During the night, keep your head elevated in the first few weeks following your rhinoplasty. This minimises blood flow and fluid accumulation inside your nose tissue.
    • Use a recliner or prop your head up with several pillows to reach the ideal sleeping position.
  • Use cold compresses in the first 3 days after your nose job surgery.
    • Apply them on your cheeks at 15 minutes intervals, several times a day to help with your swelling.
  • Restrict your salt intake.
    • Salt-rich food encourages your body to retain more fluid.
    • This can worsen swelling after nose surgery.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This can help you get rid of swelling faster, as your body clears out excess water through urination.
  • Remain active (within reason) and move around during your nose healing period. This can reduce swelling by improving blood circulation. It also lessens the risk of blood clots.

What NOT to do after Rhinoplasty

Healing from your rhinoplasty is like running a long marathon. It’s by no means a sprint. On that note, running is prohibited in the first few weeks following your procedure. Below are some other things you should AVOID to help you heal faster after your nose surgery:

  • Smoking and alcohol consumption before and after your rhinoplasty. They are known to cause delayed and poor wound healing.
  • Applying cold compresses directly onto your rhinoplasty surgical site. This can result in accidental shifting of your nasal structures from their new position.
  • Any strenuous activities, including jogging, aerobics, and weight lifting. They are an absolute no Choose the first few days and weeks following your nose surgery.
    • Even when you reach your sixth-week time mark, and your nasal bones settle, always ask your plastic surgeon before attempting any activity you’re unsure of.
  • Bathing or showering with hot water. Heat can dilate your blood vessels and worsen your swelling after rhinoplasty. Even steaming hot food should be avoided in the first few days following your nose surgery.
  • Sun exposure. Your nose is normally prone to sunburns more than the rest of your body. It becomes more vulnerable after rhinoplasty. Sun exposure can increase the risk of scarring too.
  • Eyewear, pullovers, and turtlenecks. Eyeglasses can leave behind indentations on your nose, and pulling items of clothing over your head can displace your nasal bones and cartilage after your rhinoplasty procedure.

Medical Sources for Further Reading

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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