There are many people who are not entirely happy with the appearance of their nose and consider rhinoplasty as an ideal solution to achieve their desired look. In fact, this operation has become one of the most popular of our time. While there are a number of important factors associated with the procedure, in this article we focus on the recovery time.


How does rhinoplasty work?

Rhinoplasty surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The duration of the intervention may vary depending on the technique used. However, it typically takes 40 minutes to 2 hours.

After the first week, the first checks will be carried out and the stitches will be removed if necessary. At this point, the patient can return to their daily activities avoiding sports and other activities that can cause trauma for at least 3 weeks.

Asking the right questions before surgery


Does rhinoplasty hurt?

Rhinoplasty is the intervention of choice for those who have imperfections in the nasal pyramid and wish to shape their nose. In the past, this procedure used to be traumatic, resulting in a rather long and painful postoperative period. However, the swelling after cosmetic surgery is currently less than in the past. During the last decade, the technique has evolved by reducing surgical invasiveness and execution time. 

Patients who are candidates for surgery are interested in knowing if rhinoplasty is painful. During surgery, rhinoplasty does not entail any pain because the area is subjected to local anesthesia or because the surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Immediately after awakening the patient does not feel pain because the anesthesia leaves a long period of postoperative analgesia.

Rhinoplasty is also not painful the next day. After 24 hours, the small nasal braces (which replaced the classic tampons) are removed without causing any particularly painful sensation.

Patients will need to start taking the prescribed medications for a few days. There are common painkillers that reduce any mild pain very effectively. After two weeks, the nasal splint can be removed and the patient can see its new profile for the first time. Until that time, rhinoplasty has caused almost no pain.

However, in the following days and during the first two months you have to be very careful with trauma and micro-trauma because the nose bone takes 35 days to heal. During this period of bone healing, even minor trauma to the nose can be extremely painful. This is the reason why cosmetic surgeons indicate not to do risky sports activities for at least 60 days.

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How long does it take to recover from rhinoplasty?

Thanks to modern surgical techniques, a patient undergoing rhinoplasty can return to a moderate work activity after 7 days. Full recovery from rhinoplasty generally takes 3 to 6 months but in the most severe cases, it could take up to 12 months. 


When can I take my nose splint off?

The external nose splint should be removed 7 to 12 days after surgery. The points fall out on their own or can be removed the same day of the review.

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Which activities should I restrict during my rhinoplasty recovery?

In general, the patient should avoid situations that may increase blood flow to the upper part of the face, as they would increase swelling and bruising. Here are guidelines on how to behave during the first 24 hours after rhinoplasty surgery

  • Do not lower your head or stand in positions where your head is at or below chest level.
  • Do not sleep in a horizontal position, but with the upper part of the body elevated. Ideally, the person should be semi-sitting.
  • Do not sleep on your side. This would create a much more pronounced swelling on the support side.
  • Avoid altering your mood. It is not recommended to get angry at this stage, as it will cause an increase in blood pressure, which could be the cause of bleeding and increased swelling.

24 hours after the rhinoplasty surgery is when you will see the worst appearance of the face in terms of swelling and periorbital bruising. This is nothing to worry about!


What can you do in the first 24 hours of the post-rhinoplasty period?

The patient can perform activities that require little physical effort, such as:

  • Watch TV
  • Use a computer
  • Use a cell phone
  • You can also leave the house and take a breath of fresh air

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Tips for a quicker rhinoplasty recovery

The absorption of bruises around the eyes, which usually occurs in the first two or three weeks, is one of the first changes you will notice after rhinoplasty surgery. No special care or attention is needed, apart from not being exposed to the sun during those weeks.

Here are some helpful tips to help you limit bruising and swelling: 


Avoid the sun

Exposure to the sun after rhinoplasty can negatively impact the skin and can potentially cause permanent discoloration. In the first weeks, it is advisable to stay at home. In any case, you can always apply a highly protective cream and wear a wide-brimmed hat that protects your face from UV rays.


Cold therapy

It is recommended to apply cold compresses under your eyes. You should alternate them with rest periods and avoid doing this continuously. Keep in mind that this should only be done in the first 24 hours.  You should try to get your forehead and cheeks in contact with the cold as well, avoiding placing something directly on the nose, to avoid annoying and counterproductive pressure on the nasal pyramid. The cold will also serve to reduce cutaneous perfusion on the skin of the nose.

Nasal swelling generally occurs in the first 24 hours after surgery. The more consistent the patient is with cold therapy, the less swelling the nose will experience, making the settling period smoother. You can also use frozen vegetable ice packs or cooling gel packs with ice. Anything that is frozen will do the job, as long as it doesn’t come in direct contact with the skin. You should use a piece of cloth to separate the two surfaces.


Sleep position

Another recommendation is to sleep with your head raised above your torso for the first 2-3 days. This will go a long way towards draining the stagnant fluids that have formed and preventing them from forming in a larger volume. To maintain the correct position, you can help yourself with two or three pillows, or sleep in a reclining chair for the first few days after surgery.

You should avoid, especially in the first days following surgery, activities or positions that could lead to increased blood flow to the upper parts of the body. Try not to lean too far forward by lowering your head. Definitely avoid any physical activity that is even slightly more than moderate in intensity. These precautions will allow you to reduce the risk of postoperative bleeding. 


Massaging and cleaning the nose

In order to reduce postoperative edema, it is possible to perform draining massages that, starting from the tip, accompany the skin upwards. For this, it is advisable to use almond or olive oil. For cleaning the nose in post-rhinoplasty washes after the procedure, you can find products made in the pharmacy that contain sea water or physiological solution. What you should do is lie down on your bed, spray the liquid so that it reaches the oral cavity and then expel it.

To clean the inside and remove the scabs from your nose after rhinoplasty, you can use cotton swabs soaked in water mixed with hydrogen peroxide. After you have cleaned the entire internal surface of the nose, you can proceed to apply a thin layer of olive oil. In the areas where the sutures have been placed, you should use a cotton swab with antibiotic ointment.


Eat a healthy diet

There are really no specific restrictions regarding nutrition after rhinoplasty. However, it is recommended to follow a healthy and balanced diet. Healthy and nutritious foods give your body the support it needs to speed up the recovery process naturally. For the first few days after surgery, try to eat softer foods, such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, or smoothies, as they are easier to swallow.


Don’t blow your nose

As much as you feel congested and may be tempted to blow your nose after surgery, try to contain this urge for the first three weeks. Blowing your nose increases the pressure inside your nostrils and could cause bleeding or more bruising.


Avoid wearing glasses

Glasses can be worn over the splint for the first week. However, avoid wearing glasses for the first 4 weeks after surgery, as the frames can cause dents and deviations in the nasal bones. If it is possible to wear specific contact lenses or post-surgical glasses during this period, you should definitely do it.


Considering rhinoplasty?

If you are considering rhinoplasty, you have come to the right place.  Dr Moufarrege is a fellow student of the Royal College of Surgery in Canada and an assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Montreal. He is also a professor in the French College of plastic surgery, since he trained a large number of French plastic surgeons. His years of experience and quality of work have earned him an astonishing reputation. Feel free to schedule a consultation