If you’re considering rhinoplasty surgery, it’s essential to understand the healing process. Recovery after rhinoplasty isn’t easy, but with the right tips and a timeline for healing, you can manage your expectations and ensure you get back to feeling like yourself in no time!
Our guide provides an overview of what to expect after surgery, helpful tips for healing, and a timeline for a full recovery so that you can be prepared for the days after surgery. Read on to learn more about recovering from rhinoplasty surgery!
What is the healing time for a nose job?
Rhinoplasty is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure as it can alter the balance and appearance of the face since the nose is its main feature.
One common question related to rhinoplasty procedures is the length of healing time. The type of surgical approach used affects the average rhinoplasty recovery time. In a closed rhinoplasty, two incisions are made internally for alterations.
For an open rhinoplasty, three incisions are usually made – two internally and one across the columella. This gives a better view of internal nasal structures and allows for more precise adjustments to the nasal bone and cartilage.
Open rhinoplasty may cause more swelling and an external scar, but in most cases, the scar will be barely visible once it has been treated.
Nose Job Recovery Timeline
During the surgery day, the surgeon will make incisions inside the nose or across the columella (the strip of tissue between the nostrils). Depending on what is being corrected and how much work needs to be done during the rhinoplasty operation, they may remove bone and cartilage, change the tip of your nose, narrow your nostrils, or adjust your septum. Once this is completed, they will close up the incisions with sutures and apply a dressing to protect your nose during healing. The entire surgery time takes from two to three hours.
24 Hours After Surgery
If given sedation or general anesthesia, you may experience drowsiness and sleep for up to 24 hours after your surgical procedure. Only those who received local anesthesia and remained awake during the procedure will not have this sensation. It is not safe to operate motor vehicles within 24 hours of waking up from sedation or anesthesia.
It is advised to take a restful approach and do minimal activities during the first 24 hours after the day of surgery. Focus on setting aside time to rest.
Rhinoplasty Recovery: Week 1
During the initial rhinoplasty recovery timeline, it is normal to have facial swelling, bruising, and discomfort. The nostrils may be blocked by an external splint or internal splint or packing. Additionally, breathing function through the nose will not be possible due to these obstructions.
At the end of the week, your facial plastic surgeon may take out any splints and packing, which could make you feel more comfortable.
Rhinoplasty Recovery: Week 2
After a couple of weeks, there will be bruises and inflammation that will become much more subtle after two weeks. To ensure proper healing, it is advised to abstain from strenuous activities and lifting heavy objects, as well as limiting sun exposure as the nasal skin may be extra sensitive.
Rhinoplasty Recovery: Month 1
After about a month, the swelling at the tip of the nose will have subsided and you will be able to discern the initial results of rhinoplasty surgery.
You may still experience some minor facial discomfort, particularly around the nasal area, but you will be able to discern the initial surgical results from this point onwards. At this point, you are likely ready for moderate physical activity and may be able to wear glasses or sunglasses.
Rhinoplasty Recovery: Months 2 – 3
As the rhinoplasty swelling decreases, your nose will become more refined over time. You are nearly completely recovered by this point, allowing you to resume most of your regular activities although contact sports should be avoided.
Rhinoplasty Recovery: Months 6 – 12
After a period of approximately six months after rhinoplasty, contact sports may be resumed. Nasal swelling after rhinoplasty often subsides by this timeframe, though it is likely resolved within 12 months when complete healing of the nose internally and externally can be expected.
Rhinoplasty Recovery Tips for a Rapid Healing
Listen to Your Body
During your post-operative care, you cannot force bone healing, but you can aid skin healing from rhinoplasty. The best way to do this is to pay attention to how your body feels. Try a gentle walk if you are able. Eat nutritious food when hungry and take breaks when needed. Do not return to work until you are ready.
If you have an unexpected reaction to your medication during days of rhinoplasty recovery, contact your doctor for assistance. They may be able to make adjustments to timing or switch medications.
Listen to Your Doctor
It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions for a successful recovery, even if you are feeling fine as the cartilage healing may not be complete.
At your initial consultation and after the procedure, you will be provided with instructions on medication, cleaning of the skin around the nose, and when to return for a check-up. If there are any issues or queries, please inform us promptly.
Elevate Your Head
After surgery, it is advised that individuals should initially maintain a sleeping position on their back with their heads slightly raised for the first six weeks. Sleeping on the stomach or side may cause discomfort but will hinder recovery time.
Sufficient pressure can be placed on newly set cartilage if you sleep on your side or stomach. To prevent this, ensure to sleep on your back with a minimum two pillows positioned under your head. If one pillow is thin, use three.
Healthy foods: Eat proteins and vegetables.
Following your procedure, you may be attracted to convenience meals such as pizza or burritos. To ensure good nutrition during your recovery process, it is important to prepare in advance and have a healthy diet containing adequate food choices.
Ensuring your meal focuses on protein and colorful vegetables is essential. Protein promotes healthy, strong skin due to the presence of collagen which aids wound healing. Furthermore, these colorful vegetables provide essential micronutrients important for skin, bone, and cartilage maintenance and aid in swift healing.
Get Plenty of Rest
It is essential to get sufficient rest during the first six weeks after surgery. Your skin, bones, and cartilage need time to properly set into their final positions and heal from being opened and shifted. Sleeping between 7.5 and nine hours per night will ensure your body has the energy needed to recover effectively.
When tired, it is recommended to sleep. While asleep, our bodies will cycle between different phases of sleep, including the REM (rapid eye movement) phase, where most healing occurs. On average, these phases will repeat every 90 minutes; in a 9-hour night, there would be 6 REM phases.
Use Cold Compresses
A cold compress should be applied within the first 72 hours following surgery in order to provide comfort. For proper placement, ice packs should be held against one of the cheeks rather than the nose to avoid displacement of cartilage or bones.
Don’t Blow Your Nose
Do not attempt to clear your nose by blowing it for the first six weeks following your operation. Congestion may be experienced during this period, but it is important that you do not try to clear your nose anyway. This feeling of congestion should be attributed to swollen nasal tissues and not actual sinus mucus.
To relieve a stuffy nose, a saline nasal spray may be purchased or made at home which can help moisturize and shrink swollen passages. To further decrease the inflammation, cold compresses to the cheeks or consuming arnica supplements four times a day may be beneficial.
Stay Out of the Sun
When venturing outside during daylight hours, it is advisable to use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 35 due to the potential risks associated with sun exposure.
It is essential to guard your nose against the sun’s UVC rays. This is because the production of collagen becomes slower and existing collagen can be damaged. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can lead to increased blood pressure and aggravation of nasal swelling or pressure.
If you’re looking to achieve the perfect nose, it’s important to seek out a professional to give you a detailed explanation of how a rhinoplasty can help you achieve your aesthetic goals.
Facial plastic surgeon Dr. Benjamin Swartout provides personalized care and attention to ensure that you get the best possible results from your nose job. He will answer any questions about recovery that you may have. With his help, you can be sure that your nose will look exactly how you want it to!