Rhinoplasty has one of the “longest” recovery periods, with some reports stating that it can take up to one year to fully recover from your nose job. While this sounds disheartening, it is not nearly as bad as it seems. Your nose will experience many subtle changes over the first year, and you cannot undergo a revision procedure. However, you will look and feel fully recovered far sooner.
Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that alters your nasal aesthetic. This surgery allows patients to trade in their nasal humps, bumps, upturned tips, or wide nostrils for smoother and sleeker lines and angles. Incisions for rhinoplasty are made on the inside of the nostrils. Placement here not only ensures that there will be no visible external scars, but it also keeps the length of the incisions to a minimum. This, in turn, helps you to recover more quickly.
While the extent of your rhinoplasty recovery will depend on the nature of your procedure (whether you received an augmentation with a graft or a reduction of the bone and cartilage), most patients can expect similar side effects during the initial days and weeks.
Following rhinoplasty, patients will wear a nasal splint on the outside of their nose and have gauze packing placed on the inside. This splint and/or packing will help protect the nose from injury and ensure that it heals in the intended shape. While nasal packing can be uncomfortable (and can impede your breathing), it will be removed after one week. At this point, many patients find that their breathing is vastly improved, and occasionally even better than it was before the procedure.
Most patients find that discomfort following rhinoplasty is less than they expected, and most patients can relieve any pain with over-the-counter medication like TYLENOL®. Much of the discomfort comes from the nasal packing and is lessened as soon as the gauze is removed.
Bruising and Swelling
Patients can expect moderate to significant bruising and swelling after their rhinoplasty. Bruising will develop underneath the eyes and typically lasts between three days and two weeks. The swelling that develops in and around the nose should start to subside after two weeks. Residual swelling may persist for up to six months or even one year, although it may not be readily visible or even noticeable.
Immediately following your rhinoplasty, you should rest and sleep with your head elevated for at least one week. This will help to minimize swelling and ensure that there is proper circulation.
Getting Back to Normal
Most rhinoplasty patients return to work or school within two to three weeks. Occasionally, patients can return sooner; however, there will likely still be visible signs of the surgery. Makeup can be worn to help camouflage any bruising.
Patients who wear glasses should abstain from wearing them for at least one month. Contacts may be worn in place of glasses.
Sports and activities which may damage the nose should be avoided for at least six weeks, and patients need to protect themselves even after that. The nose will be fragile and more susceptible to injury after surgery.