January 25th, 2023
Dr. Thomas Bell, MD
How Much Swelling Is Normal After Rhinoplasty?
The amount of swelling you experience after your rhinoplasty procedure depends on various factors, including the amount of work done to reshape or resize your nose. In the first couple of weeks following surgery, you will experience a moderate amount of swelling, and the shape of your nose (the true results) will be obscured.
Everything will settle into your desired proportions as you heal; however, if you experience excessive swelling, contact your surgeon/doctor to check if everything is healing properly. Swelling can take a week after surgery to reach its maximum, so do not feel alarmed if you are more swollen on day 5 versus day 3.
Factors Influencing Swelling
A few factors can influence and worsen swelling after your rhinoplasty surgery, including the thickness of your skin and sodium intake. The more thick your skin is, the more swelling you will experience. Limiting your dietary salt intake is also important, as fluid retention can occur underneath the skin of the nose.
Is Face Swelling Normal After Rhinoplasty?
Yes, facial swelling is completely normal after getting a rhinoplasty. While the nose will be the main site of swelling, you will also experience puffiness around your eyes, cheeks, and upper lip during the first couple of weeks after your surgery. After the first week, you can use makeup to hide any bruising or redness that occurs as a result of the swelling.
Many patients have no facial bruising a week after their surgery, while some experience minimal bruising and a small amount experience moderate bruising. The amount of swelling you experience depends on the complexity of your procedure, your skin, and your diet. All patients can expect to see swelling resolve within a few weeks after the rhinoplasty.
How Long Does Swelling Last After Rhinoplasty?
Healing time is different for every patient, but swelling after a rhinoplasty procedure usually goes down within a few weeks. Swelling can get worse before it gets better, and recovery times vary. You can expect to be “back to normal” after 3-4 weeks, with a small amount of swelling lasting around 3 months.
For patients with thicker skin, the outcome of their surgery may take closer to 18 months, rather than the typical recovery time of 9-12 months. Lastly, a revision rhinoplasty procedure requires longer healing time to see final results than a primary rhinoplasty procedure does.
Weekly Stages of Swelling
After your rhinoplasty: After you are cleared for discharge, your surgeon will provide you with ice packs and instructions on how to apply them. Your doctor will also give you any topical ointments required and a nasal drip pad if necessary. It is important to sleep upright in a chair to ensure your head stays elevated the night after the surgery.
1 week after your rhinoplasty: Any staples, splints, protective coverings, or sutures will be removed. You may still experience swelling, but difficulty breathing through the nose will subside. Bruising around the nose and eyes will fade to green or yellow and can be covered with makeup. Your pain level will be minimal to nonexistent and can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications.
2 weeks after your rhinoplasty: You will most likely see a dramatic reduction in your swelling at this point, and bruising will be barely visible. Your nose shape will become more apparent, and any fine-tuning of the results can be done with taping, injectable treatments, or massage techniques. You can resume your regular activities after 2 weeks.
4 weeks after your rhinoplasty: All signs of surgery will be gone at this point, and you can begin working out again. Your nose will be more defined while swelling continues to reduce. You will finally be able to see what your final results will look like, and at 6 weeks, you may have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to check on things.
6 weeks after your rhinoplasty: Your bone structure will now be stabilized, so you can resume weight-bearing exercises, wear glasses, and blow your nose.
3-6 months after your rhinoplasty: Any issues you were experiencing with sensation inside your nose or on your nose skin will resolve at this point.
1 year after your rhinoplasty: Your healing process will be complete, and any repositioned cartilage will be conformed to your new nose shape. All swelling will be gone, and the tip of the nose will be more refined.
How to Reduce Swelling After Rhinoplasty
Some tips to reduce swelling after your rhinoplasty are:
- Keep your head elevated. This will help excess fluids drain away from your nose. Use many pillows when you lie down, and try to sleep in a chair upright the night after your surgery.
- Apply a cold compress. Placing cold compresses and ice packs on your face after your rhinoplasty will soothe the area and slow blood flow, reducing inflammation and bruising. Never apply ice directly to the skin – your best option is to wet a cloth with cold water.
- Drink water. Staying hydrated will flush toxins out of your body and reduce swelling. Avoid caffeine and keep an eye on sodium intake to prevent fluid retention.
- Relax. Devote the first couple of weeks of your recovery to resting. After this, your swelling and bruising will reduce to the point that you aren’t self-conscious about going out in public.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and supplements. Stop taking supplements, drugs, and medications two weeks before your rhinoplasty and after your rhinoplasty – they can severely affect your blood pressure, healing, and circulation.
- Follow nasal taping guidelines. After your rhinoplasty, you will have splints and surgical tape across your nasal bridge and tip to minimize swelling and keep your airways open. Splints will be removed, and tape will be replaced when you visit a follow-up appointment to remove your stitches. After 2 weeks, you will only have to wear tape at night. Apply the tape as directed by your surgeon to make sure your nose heals in the proper shape and reduces scarring.
- Avoid blowing your nose. Sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, and crying can all cause swelling in the nose and irritate your stitches, causing bleeding. Use a humidifier to avoid coughing, and stay away from cigarette smoke, pollution, and other irritants that will cause issues in your nose and throat.
Toronto Plastic Surgeons
Dr. Bell is at the forefront of surgical technologies, particularly those that reduce fat and improve signs of aging. With Dr. Bell, patients are guaranteed the best possible treatment and results from him and his excellent team of professionals. Dr. Bell offers options for female and male rhinoplasty treatments so everyone can put their best face forward. Contact us today to book a consultation and achieve the aesthetic results you’ve always wanted!