What you experience during your recovery from rhinoplasty will be affected by factors such as the extent of the procedure, your general health and your body’s individual “timetable” for healing, and your willingness to rest and limit your activities over the first weeks of healing.
You should be prepared to encounter mild to moderate discomfort for the first few days, but nothing that cannot be managed with the help of our plastic surgeon.
- You are strongly advised not to smoke for at least two weeks prior to surgery and for two weeks following the procedure. Smoking (or chewing tobacco) can interfere with healthy blood circulation, and decreased circulation can have a significant impact on your rhinoplasty recovery.
- You should wait 10 to 14 days after your surgery before traveling by plane, as this can cause sinus blockage. Consult your surgeon if you have any questions about this.
You will experience swelling and bruising during the first week after your procedure, and this will likely be most noticeable on the second and third days. Your discomfort should be noticeably less after three days.
Bloody discharge from your nose is common after rhinoplasty. You will have a gauze dressing under your nose to help with this, and you will need to change it as instructed. Your nose will feel stuffy, and you may notice that your sense of taste or smell seems different. This is temporary.
Some things to remember:
- Do not blow your nose, and if you must sneeze do it with your mouth wide open.
- Take care not to squeeze or bump your nose – in this regard, pay special attention around children and pets.
- You may bathe or shower after the first day but avoid the spray of the shower contacting your nose.
- Sleep with your head elevated.
- During the first 24 hours after your procedure, you can help minimize swelling by applying cool compresses or ice in a dry cloth to your closed eyes. This can be done four to six times during the day.
By the second week after your procedure, any swelling or bruising should have decreased significantly. While your nose may appear swollen to you, others will not notice. With your surgeon’s approval, you’ll be able to return to work.
It’s important to emphasize that it will be several months before you are no longer able to see any swelling and up to a year before your nose takes on its final improved shape and size. Again, this is something you may see, but will be unlikely to be apparent to others.
Though you may feel back to normal in most respects at this time, you need to refrain from strenuous exercise and lifting for at least three weeks following your rhinoplasty. Don’t endanger your recovery by doing something that could cause your incision to rupture or start bleeding.
After Week Two
From this point on, you should experience ongoing, gradual reduction of any swelling, bruising or discomfort you have experienced thus far. Your ability to breathe through your nose will continue to improve, and should be significantly better by the third week. Contact your PPSD surgeon If you experience significant bleeding from your nose, if you injure it, or if you develop a fever above 100 degrees, or if you notice a problem that you want to discuss.
Remember, the full healing process will take up to a year. Don’t be worried if your aesthetic goals take a few weeks to become apparent. Patience is part of the process – and is well worth the result.