Rhinoplasty (Nose Job) Recovery

Reviewed by Darrick E. Antell, MD

New nose, new you! Not so fast; your new nose won't be fully evident until after your rhinoplasty recovery. This process varies considerably from one person to another. How quickly you rebound depends on many factors, including the extent of your nose surgery, your personal resilience factors, your surgeon's skill set and how closely you follow his or her pre- and postoperative instructions.

Discuss your rhinoplasty recovery with your board-certified plastic surgeon during your initial consultation. He or she can give you a general idea of what to expect. If taking time off work or school is a consideration, or if others are dependent upon you, you will need to plan accordingly.

Nose Surgery Recovery: Common Concerns

Immediately after your procedure, your surgeon will likely place a small splint on your nose. This splint protects your nose by keeping it stable for at least five to eight days. There is typically some mild to moderate discomfort after nose surgery. Your surgeon will discuss appropriate pain medications with you.

Another common concern after nose surgery is nasal congestion. You will be congested, but you can't blow your nose for at least one week. Ask your surgeon what decongestants are OK to take during your rhinoplasty recovery. You should avoid decongestants that also contain other active ingredients. Some combination products also contain aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that increase bleeding risk during your recovery. Read the labels carefully.

Bruising and swelling are common after rhinoplasty and may even occur under your eyes. Cold compresses help. Ask your surgeon what else he or she recommends to alleviate bruising or swelling. The herbal remedies arnica montana and bromelain are sometimes used for this purpose.

The majority of the swelling resolves within two weeks and the rest abates within a month. That said, it can take up to a year for swelling to fully subside. This is why most plastic surgeons suggest waiting at least one year before even considering revision rhinoplasty.

Learn more about rhinoplasty recovery

Steering clear of any trauma to your nose after your rhinoplasty is essential. Ask your surgeon for instructions on what you can or can't do after your nose surgery. You should sleep on your back after your rhinoplasty to avoid putting any pressure on your new nose while you recover. Most people can return to work within seven to10 days after surgery. This will vary based on your job description.

Contact lenses are permitted immediately after nose surgery, but eyeglasses that rest on your nose are not. The opposite is true during eyelid surgery recovery. Exercise caution when washing your face and apply sunscreen to your nose once your surgeon says it's OK to do so.

Rhinoplasty Recovery: Recognizing Complications

Ask your surgeon what you should look out for during your rhinoplasty recovery, including the signs of infection or other rhinoplasty risks. It is also important that you know who to call in the event of complications.

The best way to encourage a smooth and speedy recovery is to choose a qualified, board-certified surgeon and follow his or her advice. Start your search for that surgeon now.

About the Reviewer of This Article

Darrick E. Antell, MD, is an educational spokesperson for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has been in private practice for more than 20 years in New York City. Dr. Antell is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Antell received his general surgery training at Stanford University Medical Center and his specialty training in plastic/reconstructive surgery at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.