Postoperative Rhinoplasty Recovery

Postoperative Rhinoplasty Recovery

Plastic surgery of the nose – a rhinoplasty or “nose job” – is one of the most performed aesthetic procedures. However, this is also a procedure that requires proper care during the postoperative period.  As the nose is a region that is very delicate and sensitive, it is extremely important that the patient knows what the recovery process from rhinoplasty entails. This will help patients take the most appropriate post-op care, contributing to the end result. If a patient dutifully follows good post-operative care, they will start to see better final results more quickly.

How Rhinoplasty Recovery Works

The nose is one of the regions of our body that takes a long time to heal and deflate after undergoing a surgical procedure. Thus, postoperative recovery after rhinoplasty is slightly different from other plastic surgeries.

For the recovery of the rhinoplasty, it is very important to guarantee the support, as well as the protection of the nasal structures. This is essential, especially during the healing period. For this reason, the surgeon, after performing the rhinoplasty, may put an internal plaster in addition to the dressing of the nose.

In the first 48 hours after surgery, the patient may notice bleeding. If this happens a lot, it is recommended to use an ice pack over your nose. Nasal obstruction is also common, at least in the first weeks. To properly clean the nostrils, saline should be used.

Throughout the rhinoplasty recovery process, it is normal to experience pain, swelling, discomfort, and even darkening in the region.

What is the rhinoplasty recovery time?

Relatively simple rhinoplasty recovery takes an average of up to 15 days. Generally, it is possible to resume work activities between 7 and 15 days. After 4 weeks, you can return to physical exercises. However, it is essential to note that, sports and activities that pose a high risk of nasal trauma should be avoided for approximately 3 months.

The final result can be observed 1 year after the rhinoplasty was performed. In the case of people with thicker skin, this time may increase to 2 years. Remember that rhinoplasty recovery is slow and gradual.

Care in rhinoplasty recovery

In order to have a better recovery from rhinoplasty, post-operative care is very important and involves all areas.  Some of the main cares are:

Dressings and splints

In the past, the dressing used in the postoperative period of rhinoplasty was plaster. However, this ended up being uncomfortable for most patients. Therefore, a splint should be used for about 7 days in order to immobilize and protect the nasal structure. The stiffened plastic is more hygienic than plaster and does not prevent the patient from washing his/her face.

This splint is replaced by an adhesive tape later, which must also be kept for 7 days.


The first week after surgery is the most critical part of rhinoplasty recovery. Precisely for this reason, it is recommended that the patient’s diet be based on cold and pasty foods. This is because chewing, especially of hard foods, can cause pressure in the region, increasing the discomfort and causing even more pain.


Many people who wish to have a rhinoplasty are afraid of having their breathing impaired. Even those who have had surgery may feel desperate when they are unable to breathe through their nose. This situation, however, is transient, usually occurring only in the first days due to swelling and the presence of clots.

This problem can be alleviated with the use of decongestants and cold compresses. However, the patient should remember not to press the nose and must ask the doctor before using any type of medication.


Rest should be absolute, at least for the first week after surgery. No work should be performed during this time, even if the activities are not heavy. This stage of rhinoplasty recovery is essential.

Between the 8th and the 15th week, the rest should be moderate. That is, activities can be resumed, as long as they do not involve excessive or aggressive physical effort.

Sun exposure

The patient who undergoes a rhinoplasty must be careful with sun exposure. It is for this reason, in fact, that many people choose to have surgery during the winter. If it is impossible to avoid exposure to the sun, sunscreen should be used to avoid the appearance of stains on the skin.


Discomfort and pain can be felt when recovering from rhinoplasty. However, this post-op period is not usually very painful for patients. The doctor may also recommend pain medications if required. About 20 days after rhinoplasty, the occurrence of pain should diminish.  Pain persisting past this point is more unusual.

Other care

Don’t move your nose to see how it looks in the first week after surgery.  As great as your curiosity is, don’t think about removing the splint and micropore tape that protects your nose right after surgery. They serve, precisely, to keep bones and cartilage in the new position, helping in the healing process.

Don’t sleep face down. If you have a habit of sleeping face down or on your side, look for a way to lie on your back all night, preferably with your head up on two pillows.

Or, if you feel safer, rest in a reclining chair – at the very least for the first 2 nights after the procedure. A comfortable office chair with a good footrest helps with restfulness.


Teresa Bergen, Deborah Weatherspoon, Rhinoplasty June 15, 2018

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