How Long Does Rhinoplasty Recovery Take?

Rhinoplasty is a bit of a tricky recovery process – not painful, fortunately, but drawn-out thanks to the nature of the area you’re treating.

Immediately after surgery, the surgeon will use nasal packing, usually gauze, to shape the nose from the inside. The packing will hold the new shape of the nose in place and stabilize the septum. The surgeon may also put a splint over the nose to hold it in place as well. The packing will stay in place for a few days while there is discharge from the surgery.

During the first week, dull aching is common in the nose and behind the eyes. The packing may be uncomfortable as well. The doctor will instruct you not to blow your nose once the packing is out for a few weeks at least.

During these first few days, the swelling and bruising of the nose and the surrounding eye tissue will become more pronounced. This is often unexpected and can affect how the new nose appears, making patients concerned about final appearances. Cold gel packs and compresses will help to soothe this swelling and bruising, but patients should expect to see some swelling for many months after surgery.

As the swelling gradually disappears, the recovery process will seem to slow down. The bones will be healed in a few weeks and the bruising will disappear along the same time frame. But swelling may remain for up to a year, primarily in the tip of the nose.

Most patients return to work after a week of recovery using makeup to hide the bruising and swelling that may still be present. Continued applications of the make-up around the eyes and nose will ease the transition back to the workplace and make it easier to let the rest of the swelling fade over time.