Rhinoplasty Recovery (Nose Job Surgery)

How Long Does the Recovery Period Last?

Rhinoplasty recovery requires a lot of patience. During the first day or so after surgery, your nose will probably ache. Your face will feel swollen and puffy. You will have bruising and swelling around the eyes, which lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. You may also have a headache, but you will be prescribed pain medication for this. Bed rest with your head elevated at this time is the best thing. Feeling nauseous the evening or next day after the surgery is normal, you may even vomit. You may or may not have nasal packing, which is stuffed up your nose to reduce bleeding. This can make you feel rather stuffed-up and may be a bit overwhelming for some. However, the packing will be removed in a few days at your first post-surgery appointment. A little bleeding is common in the early days after surgery and you may be asked not to blow your nose for a week or so to allow the tissues to heal. By the end of one week, all dressings, splints, and stitches will be removed. It is advisable to avoid strenuous activity for at least 2 weeks and not to bend over with the head below the heart as this may increase swelling and bleeding. Contact sport should be avoided for at least 6 weeks. You will have to have frequent follow-up visits in the months after surgery to check on your progress.


It is important to rest while the effects of the anaesthetic pass, after which you may experience some pain and discomfort, which is normal. You will not be able to drive yourself home, and so you should make sure you have someone that can take you home once you are discharged. Ideally, someone should stay with you for a day or two as the anaesthetic wears off. You may feel as though you have a cold, as your nose will be blocked with dressings for a day or two. This is to stop you breathing through your nose as you recover, and these will be removed in time as you heal. Your surgeon may have also placed splints inside the nostrils as well as over the bridge of your nose to keep the nasal bones in place, and these may remain in place for a couple of weeks following the surgery.

Side-effects and Complications

There are some common side effects of nose reshaping, although many of these are temporary and will subside as you heal.

Rhinoplasty recovery

Some of the most common include swelling and bruising, particularly around the eyes, along with general soreness and pain as the anesthesia subsides. You may feel that the nose is stiff and/or numb, especially at the tip of your nose, and this loss of sensation can potentially last up to a few months following the surgery. As your nose is swollen following the procedure, you may have difficulty breathing through your nostrils, although you should be able to breathe through your nose as normal as this swelling dissipates. Light nosebleeds in the days immediately following the reshaping procedure are common and normal.

There are a number of complications that can arise, such as permanent difficulty breathing. Nosebleeds that are moderate to heavy and that happen shortly after your operation or later should be reported to your surgeon. If your surgeon damaged the cartilage between your nostrils (the septum) during the procedure, this may not be able to be repaired. You could also experience a loss of sense of smell in rare cases. If an implant was used during the operation, there is a risk that this can emerge through the lining of your nose after several months or even years. Should this happen, it will need to be surgically removed before a new one is put in place. The risks associated with reshaping the nose will vary from individual to individual, so you should speak with your surgeon about the potential for complications ahead of your procedure so you can be prepared.

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Signs to Look Out For

During the recovery period you will need to keep an eye on your personal healing process and whether or not any complications arise. If you feel something is wrong then contact your surgeon immediately to avoid major and more serious complications. Here are some of the following signs to look out for:
  • Infection: This might be hard to notice, but try to check your nose to see if it’s infected. If it feels very itchy and extremely tender, with yellow or green-ish discharge even after a few days then it may be worth investigating
  • Bleeding: While a small amount of bleeding is to be expected, excessive or continuous bleeding may be a problem.
  • Nasal discharge: Any kind of dischage that is not normal nasal mucous.
  • Uncontrollable pain: A sudden and severe increase in pain is never a good sign and is worth notifying your surgeon about, since there could be more severe problems underlying the pain.
  • Fever: Fever over 101 Deg. Fahrenheit.
  • Breathing difficulty: If you experience trouble breathing, a shortness of breath or chest pains then there may be problems with your rhinoplasty or potential infections. Whilst some initial discomfort can be expected and is usually normal, any continuation should be investigated.
  • Irregular heartbeat: Be aware if you experience a rapid or irregular heart rate and contact your surgeon as quickly as possible.

Final Results

Each patient is different so no definite timescale for recovery can be given. However, most rhinoplasty patients are up and about within a couple of days after surgery, and are able to return to work after just a week. But if post-operation instructions are not strictly followed, recovery for the patient may take longer time. Airline travel is not recommended in the first few weeks following surgery. If you wear glasses be careful when wearing and removing them as this can cause discomfort. Your nose will be very sore and placing any kind of pressure on them could be painful. So, taping the eyeglasses in the forehead or propping them up on the cheeks for couple of weeks to avoid them from getting to the operated nose may be advisable. However, contact lens wearers won't have any problem. The final results of Rhinoplasty may not be apparent for a year or more. To achieve the best nose job result, the patient should diligently and patiently follow all the post-operative instructions given.

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