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Rhinoplasty Recovery 101

Rhinoplasty has helped many Manhattan, New York and New Orleans, Louisiana patients enhance their appearance or improve their breathing through nose job procedures. One of the first questions these patients often ask at their initial consultation is what to expect from the recovery process.

Through decades of working with patients, Dr. Miller understands that an educated patient is in the best position to enjoy exemplary rhinoplasty results. This rhinoplasty recovery guide is designed to help potential nose job candidates understand what is involved in the days and weeks following surgery.

How Long is Rhinoplasty Recovery: What to Expect

Dr. Miller typically performs rhinoplasty using general anesthesia. Patients cannot drive afterward and should have someone with them for the first 24-48 hours after surgery. While rest is an important part of the healing process, it is best to elevate your head while lying down or sleeping to minimize postoperative swelling. 

You will wear a nose splint for the first week and will experience slight bruising and swelling around the nose and eyes. This will gradually dissipate over the course of a few days or weeks.

How long does it take to recover from rhinoplasty?

It will take some time to heal after rhinoplasty. You can usually return to work and other activities within three weeks, but you should refrain from strenuous physical exercise for 3-6 weeks. You will begin to see the swelling and bruising disappear within 2-3 weeks, at which time you will start to appreciate the results. 

You will have at least two postoperative follow-up visits during this time as well. Full results usually take 6-12 weeks to be seen while your healing will continue for the entire first year. Dr. Miller and his team will follow you through this entire process, but please be patient to see the final results.

How long does swelling last after rhinoplasty?

Pain and swelling will be most pronounced during the first week post-surgery, and you will most likely have some bruising and tenderness under your eyes and on your cheeks as well. The majority of the facial swelling should subside and most of the bruising should be resolved after the second week.

What to expect 2 weeks after rhinoplasty?

Most of your facial swelling and bruising will have subsided at this time. You will likely feel comfortable going out in public, using makeup to cover up any residual discoloration. You will still have some time to wait before your full results become apparent. 

What to expect 3 weeks after rhinoplasty?

At this point, you can safely resume some cardiovascular activity such as walking, jogging, and swimming. Visible swelling and bruising should be virtually non-existent at this time. Most patients start breathing easier by now as well, with postoperative congestion dissipating. 

Hard Nose Tip after Rhinoplasty

A temporary hard tip or bump on the nose after rhinoplasty is very common. A hard tip typically occurs due to swelling of the nasal tissue or the presence of scar tissue. The hardness of the tip may also be indicative of the cartilage grafts used during surgery. The nasal tip is narrowed and supported with cartilage grafts, which give the nose a new shape but also prevent the nose from changing its shape once it has fully healed, making your nose feel tight after rhinoplasty. 

The stiffness is temporary and should resolve in 9 months to one year after rhinoplasty. As swelling and stiffness ease, the tip will be much softer, and normal sensation will return. Cut back on salt to help relieve swelling and fluid retention. If the tip of the nose is still hard one to two years after rhinoplasty, seek advice from your surgeon.

When can I wear glasses after rhinoplasty?

You can resume wearing your glasses or sunglasses after rhinoplasty by about six weeks when bones are more stable. Dr. Miller will give you specific instructions when he monitors you during your recovery process. 

When can I drink alcohol after rhinoplasty?

Drinking alcohol is a dangerous activity for any patient healing from surgery, including rhinoplasty. Alcohol can interfere with your medications and thin your blood, promoting excess bleeding and bruising. To be safest during your recovery, avoid drinking alcohol for at least three weeks after your rhinoplasty surgery.

When can I sleep on my side after rhinoplasty?

During the initial part of your recovery, it is extremely important that you keep your head elevated in a straight position to facilitate proper blood flow and prevent additional bruising and swelling, as well as displacing your nose. You’ll need to sleep in an upright position (with your head propped on two to three pillows or on a foam wedge) for 6 weeks. At that point, you can resume sleeping on your side if that is a more comfortable position for you.

How long after rhinoplasty can I workout?

At weeks 3-4, you can resume some cardiovascular activities such as jogging, cycling, and swimming. By the sixth week, your nasal bones should be stable enough to allow you to lift weights after rhinoplasty. To be sure, consult with our office before resuming any strenuous physical activities. 

When can I wear makeup after rhinoplasty?

You can start wearing makeup once the external splint is removed 5-7 days after your surgery. Be careful not to put too much pressure on your nose when you apply your products.

How long does your nose bleed after rhinoplasty?

How long after rhinoplasty can I breathe through my nose?

The nature of your procedure and the accompanying swelling in your nasal cavity means that you will likely experience a bit of congestion in the weeks following the procedure. If nasal packing after rhinoplasty is necessary, it is typically removed within two days after surgery. 

Swelling and bruising will often increase in the first 2-3 days following surgery and then start to subside. The nasal may feel congested for at least 2 weeks following surgery. It may be difficult to breathe through the nose initially but as the swelling goes down, the congestion should disappear. 

Schedule your Nose Job in NYC

Dr. Miller performs his nose job surgeries at his accredited plastic surgery clinic. Rhinoplasty is an outpatient procedure that usually lasts 1.5 to two hours and after the nose job is complete, patients can return home. Fly-In Program patients can convalesce in a hotel or recovery facility. The goal for all rhinoplasty patients is to allow for rest and recuperation in comfortable surroundings.

Please do not hesitate to contact our NYC plastic surgery clinic for any recovery or post-operative instructions after your rhinoplasty surgery. For more information or to schedule your initial consultation, contact our office today. 

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