Recovery Rhinoplasty: This Is What You Can Expect

When it comes to rhinoplasty recovery time, you can expect to be able to get up and move easily in no time.

But when it comes to how long it takes to heal after the operation, that’s a different matter.

The moment the bandages are removed, it may not be the happiest time you can live.

Prepare to be disappointed due to swelling, bruising, stitches, blood.

It will take approximately 1 year for you to fully recover from rhinoplasty. Yep, you read it right. 1 year.

Still, don’t worry. Most bruising and swelling after rhinoplasty goes away within the first month. Here is a timeline of what to expect after your surgery.

Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline

Here is a rhinoplasty recovery timeline to help you visualize how your post-operative recovery will progress:

0-3 Days After Operation

Immediately after surgery, you will wake up with a nasal splint taped over your nose and a drip pad taped (or secured around your ears) to trap blood and runny nose. Yes, it is as disgusting as it sounds.

If you had an open rhinoplasty, you should clean the incision under the nose with hydrogen peroxide or any other product that your doctor recommends.

You will (carefully) begin to scab the blood out from under your nostrils according to your doctor’s instructions.

  • Pain levels should be mild. Maybe 3-4 / 10.
  • You will experience strong pressure on your nose and will have difficulty breathing.
  • Expect to have difficulty sleeping. In addition to the need to recline, you need to keep your head in an advanced position. Difficulty breathing will make it difficult to sleep well.
  • DO NOT blow your nose.
  • DO NOT lift more than a couple of pounds.
  • DO NOT lean / or look at the floor.
  • DO NOT take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or aspirin, as they thin the blood and make nosebleeds more likely.
  • DO NOT consume alcohol for the same reasons mentioned above.
  • Keep your phone handy for texting, asking for things instead of talking, or if you need to call your doctor (see below for reasons to call your doctor).

Days 4-7 Post-Operative

  • Continue cleaning according to instructions.
  • Around 7 days, the splint and stents/micropores and gauze will be removed if used.
  • The bruising and swelling will improve a lot, but it will still show a lot, so don’t panic! Although you will be bloated, you should be able to easily see the new shape of the nose.

Days 8-14

  • Around day 8, you can go back to work, or to school, etc.
  • The bruises will already have faded significantly.

Days 15-30

  • YES YES! Most of the swelling is gone. The tip of your nose may still be a little swollen.
  • With each passing day, you will notice that your nose becomes more refined.
  • If you play contact sports or participate in high-intensity exercises, you will have to wait one more month, unless you can protect your nose with a mask. Be sure to clear it up with your doctor.
  • If you are passionate about exercise, you will be happy to know that at the end of week 3, you will be able to resume the activity in a MODERATE way.
  • And finally, FINALLY, you can start blowing your nose … SOFTLY!

Months 2 And 3

  • The tip of the nose may still feel a little numb, but most of the swelling is already gone.

1st Year

  • It is time to go back to your surgeon for a checkup.
  • Your scars should be almost gone by now.
  • There is no more swelling.