Rhinoplasty is one of the most complicated operations in plastic surgery. So naturally, I am asked many questions before and after the surgery takes place. One of the questions that seems to be more prevalent than others is “When will the swelling decrease?” It’s normal to have concerns about the appearance of your nose after your surgery, but swelling is completely normal, and a necessary part of the healing process. Below, I’ve answered a few common questions that patients have after their rhinoplasty surgery.

When Does The Swelling Decrease?

It will take at least eight to twelve weeks for sixty to eighty percent of the swelling to decrease. However, all patients must understand that swelling will take at least 1 year to resolve. The nasal tip/lower third of the nose will take the longest to show improvement. Many factors like skin thickness and the surgery performed can impact this duration. If you are having revision surgery or multiple surgeries, expect the healing process to take even longer.

What Can I Do To Help Swelling Resolve?

I recommend sleeping with your head elevated for the first week after surgery. This can be done using stacked pillows or a wedge or sleeping in a recliner. Applying ice to the cheeks and eyes may help as well. A healthy diet and plenty of hydration are also proactive ways to help with swelling. Beyond the initial healing period, if swelling persists, I discuss other options with patients to address swelling, but these are rarely needed. Ultimately, time and patience are the best medicine for swelling.

What Else Should I Expect After The Surgery?

Every patient is different and every nose is different! The techniques used in one case may not be needed in another, and one patient’s healing may be faster or slower than another. But in general, it is very common to expect some drainage from the nose. This can be light spotting of blood and even increased mucous production. This can be greater in the first 2-3 days after surgery. You should also expect that the nose will be congested with more restricted airflow after surgery. This results from surgical swelling and potentially from a splint if one is used inside the nose. I do not pack noses after rhinoplasty surgery!
In addition, bruising can occur after rhinoplasty, especially in cases where the nasal bones were addressed. Generally, this is a faint yellow color with puffiness of the skin. In my experience, it is rare that a patient has black eyes after rhinoplasty. If bruising does occur, it typically resolves within 10-14 days.

Will I Need A Rhinoplasty Revision Right Away?

This is not something I can decide for you early on. It is common for most surgeons to stress the need to wait one year after rhinoplasty to even consider performing a revision rhinoplasty. This is based on great evidence of how the nose heals and continues to change over time. I show patients photographs of themselves and of other patients over the course of time to demonstrate how dynamic healing can be after rhinoplasty. My advice is to be patient and wait for your nose to fully heal.

Like any type of surgery, rhinoplasty requires downtime in order for your body to heal. My staff and I can help guide you through this time and process, and help address any other questions or concerns you might have. Please contact me for any further questions, and watch my video below on Rhinoplasty.