Unlike the healing process for many other cosmetic procedures, recovery for rhinoplasty does not interfere with function or mobility. However, most patients will prefer to spend the first week secluded from social view due to swelling and bruising. The degree of these symptoms will depend on the extent of the changes made to the nose’s underlying bone and cartilage. Below you will find a detailed recovery guide and timeline that explains what to expect at every phase of your rhinoplasty healing process.

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Overview the road to a full recovery after rhinoplasty

Most patients are eager to understand the recovery process up front so they can anticipate the degree of discomfort they will be in, how long they will need to take off from work, and how they will look in a few days, months, or years. Dr. Afrooz has performed hundreds of successful rhinoplasties, and he can provide detailed information that sets clients at ease.

After surgery, patients will go home right away, accompanied by a responsible adult, friend, or family member. Bruising will begin to diminish with each passing day. Swelling in the bridge and upper nasal region will decrease faster than in other areas due to the thinner skin in these regions. Swelling in the tip may take longer to disappear.

As mentioned earlier, the degree of swelling corresponds to the extent of the changes made by Dr. Afrooz. Complete nasal reconstruction with septoplasty will cause more swelling than if minor changes were made to the nasal tip, for instance. In general, swelling will peak during the first week and then begin to fade.

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How long does it take to heal from rhinoplasty?

The typical healing time is around 10 days. A splint may is placed on the nose for the first 7 days to protect its new shape. While normal activities can be resumed in a few weeks, the patient should continue to avoid contact sports and sunglasses for up to 6 weeks. Most patients feel comfortable being in public roughly one week out from surgery, and find that light concealer helps cover any lingering discoloration. Taking arnica pills and using an ice pack over the eyes and cheeks after surgery can both help to accelerate healing — just be sure to avoid placing any pressure directly on the nose.

How long does bruising last?

The amount of bruising will depend on whether the patient underwent in-depth changes, such as are common with correcting a broken nose, or more standard ones, such as adjusting the nasal tip or bridge. Bruising rarely lasts longer than 7 days for most clients. However, no two people are the same when it comes to how their bodies react to surgery. Some people simply bruise more easily. The one constant is that the bruising will always disappear with time.

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Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline


For 4-7 days, a splint will be in place to protect the nose and combat swelling with mild compression. Once it is removed, patients will appreciate that their nasal bump is gone and that the profile is more balanced. The nasal tip may also appear more refined. Swelling and bruising will gradually continue to subside with each passing day. Tape is applied to help minimize swelling and add pressure to the supratip break.


During this time, the tape is removed and swelling will fade more rapidly. Bruising is usually minimal at this point. After two weeks, office visits will be less frequent and may be virtual, and the patient really begins to enjoy their new nose. Patients are usually ready to begin returning to their normal activities and social engagements without a splint or tape on the nose.


Healing has progressed, and swelling is going down. Swelling in the bridge is almost unnoticeable at this juncture. Swelling in the cheeks and on the sides of the nose may still be present but to a much less obvious degree.


People look very good at 1-month. There is little evidence that the patient had any surgery at that point. Again, remember your nose at 1 month is very good, at 2 months it is even better.


After 3 months, around 80-90% of recovery is complete. The skin that was redraped over the nasal bone and cartilage will continue to shrink, fitting snugly over the newly sculpted nasal contours. Most patients can clearly see what their final results will be at this point in time.


Dr. Afrooz sees patients at the 6-month mark to compare their appearance to previous photographs. This always helps bring perspective to the patient, who may not remember what their nose looked like during the previous months.


After 12 months, changes in the nasal tip will have reached maturity, and all residual swelling will have died down. The width of the nose will have assumed a refined appearance as well. Patients will feel that their nose has always been a part of their face, and they may forget they ever had surgery.

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Rhinoplasty Recovery Tips


After rhinoplasty, patients can begin walking right away within the first few weeks in order to boost circulation. By week 3, they can resume light workouts at half their normal pace. Lifting weights above the head and vigorous aerobics should be avoided until 5-6 weeks post-op. If you are unsure about resuming a certain activity or sport, check with Dr. Afrooz.


Start with liquid, bland foods. If well tolerated, progress to a regular diet. If you have postoperative nausea, carbonated sodas and dry crackers settle the stomach. Certain foods can accelerate healing. Fresh papaya and pineapple are rich in enzymes that combat bruising. You should take care to limit your alcohol intake, as this will help reduce swelling. The combination of alcohol and pain medications can be dangerous. Do not drink until you have stopped taking them.


Patients can resume showers within 48 hours after surgery, as long as the nasal splint is not directly impacted by the water pressure. You can cover the nose with Saran wrap to prevent moisture from loosening any adhesives that are keeping the splint in place. Do not make the water too hot. Excessive steam will cause the cast to lift off the nose.


In general, patients should sleep on their back with the head slightly elevated for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Two or three pillows will accomplish this. After that point, sleeping on the side is acceptable. Patients may notice slightly more swelling on the side they are sleeping on, but this usually fades by the end of the day. Patients should not worry if there is slightly more swelling on one side or the other of the nose due to their sleeping position.


Smoking is forbidden for 14 days before and after rhinoplasty because it can significantly inhibit the healing process. Many patients use their rhinoplasty procedure as a good opportunity to quit smoking, as in general, it is not a healthy habit, and it can accelerate the aging process.


Patients who have had their nasal bones repositioned should plan on avoiding wearing glasses for 6 weeks. Glasses can be suspended from the nose using transparent tape, however, so that they do not place pressure on the nose as it heals. Be careful not to get your glasses bumped from the side, as this might cause a shift in your nasal bones. Contact lenses can be worn the next day after rhinoplasty.


It is common to experience an itchy nose after rhinoplasty. The best approach is to use a Q-tip to gently relieve the sensation. Witch hazel and antibacterial soap can be used to help keep the area clean and oil-free.


It’s important to refrain from blowing your nose for the first 4 weeks. This action can cause internal nasal pressure and may result in bleeding or prolonged swelling.


If fresh scars are exposed to the sun, they will heal darker and take longer to fade. Sunscreen and sun protection MUST be used.


Do not drive for at least 2 days after general anesthesia/IV sedation or while taking pain medication.


Your nose may be partially or completely obstructed due to swelling and nasal splints. This is normal and will subside when the splints are removed, and swelling dies down


Arnica Montana (Arnica Montana) can be taken as directed beginning the evening after surgery, along with Bromelain. Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen products until 10 days post-op. You may resume all other medications, vitamins, and herbal products at this point. Dr. Afrooz will provide pain medication prescriptions for your comfort and care. You must use medications as directed. For 1-2 days after surgery, it is important to stay "ahead of the pain" by taking your pain medication every 3-4 hours, if necessary. It can take 30-45 minutes for the medication to work. Do not wait until you are too uncomfortable before taking them. Pain medications may cause nausea, dizziness, and nervousness, etc. if taken on an empty stomach. Always have something semi-solid (crackers, ice cream, etc.) or solid (regular food) in your stomach before taking. Symptoms such as itching, rash, wheezing, or tightness in the throat could indicate an allergic/adverse reaction to the medication. Should any of these occur, discontinue all medications, and call Dr. Afrooz’s office immediately.

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You may use a cool compress or ice pack to help reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. This should be used for the first 48 hours after surgery (30 minutes on/30 minutes off) while you are awake. Apply the compresses to your cheeks and eyes. DO NOT PLACE ON YOUR NOSE.


You will be sent home with a drip pad taped under your nostrils. You may have some oozing/bleeding for the first 24-48 hours. It should be changed as necessary if the gauze becomes saturated. When dripping subsides, remove the drip pad.


After surgery, oozing and bleeding may occur for a day or two. This is normal. To prevent the crusting of dried blood, clean the inside rims of your nostrils with Q-tips soaked in Hydrogen Peroxide. A gentle twirling motion is enough to keep the area clean. You can advance the Q-Tips as far as the end of the cotton. Apply a thin coat of Mupirocin ointment after. The nurse will instruct you on this protocol the day after your procedure in your first post-operative appointment. This process is important to avoid infection.

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Rhinoplasty Recovery FAQs

Is Rhinoplasty Recovery Painful?

Will I Have Scars After Rhinoplasty?

Will The Nose Grow After Rhinoplasty?

How Can I Prevent A Dry Nose After Rhinoplasty?

Is Rhinoplasty Recovery Painful?

Most patients report that rhinoplasty turned out to be less painful than they imagined. The tip of the nose tends to be more numb after surgery, while the bridge is an area where patients tend to experience more soreness. Dr. Afrooz has extensive experience with pain control, and he can tailor your aftercare plan to your comfort levels, providing the appropriate prescription pain medications. Some patients will be comfortable using only extra-strength Tylenol. Just be sure to avoid aspirin.

Will I Have Scars After Rhinoplasty?

With closed rhinoplasty, incisions are made within the nostrils, where scars are undetectable. With open rhinoplasty, a small incision is made at the base of the nose across the columella. Scarring in this area is typically unnoticeable except to the patient and Dr. Afrooz.

Will The Nose Grow After Rhinoplasty?

No, the nose will not grow. It may appear bigger for the first week or two, however, due to swelling. As a person ages, the nose tends to droop. This may occur due to gravity or an overactive depressor muscle. Rhinoplasty helps patients to avoid this, as internal nasal scarring keeps the area from sinking.

How Can I Prevent A Dry Nose After Rhinoplasty?

After nose surgery, production in the nasal mucus glands may slow down. This leads to dryness, which, while not medically compromising, can be uncomfortable. Dr. Afrooz will provide suggestions for nasal moisturizers with salt water as their primary ingredient. These products can be sprayed in the nose to soften internal crusting and accelerate healing. Ointments can also be used to ease the nuisance of a dry nose.

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