Recovering From Rhinoplasty: Here's What to Expect

rhinoplasty recovery

Once you make the decision to have rhinoplasty, undoubtedly, you’ll be eager to reveal the finished results of your “new and improved” nose to friends and family. But, rhinoplasty isn’t a quick, immediate-results type of surgery. It takes some time for your nose to fully heal.

At his practice, with convenient locations in Carnegie Hill in New York City and on Staten Island, Robert A. Guida, MD, is known for his natural-looking rhinoplasty results and expert plastic surgery techniques. He shares some practical guidelines and insight into what you can expect as you recover from rhinoplasty before you’re ready for the big reveal.

Expect swelling

Each rhinoplasty surgery is as unique as your nose, so Dr. Guida custom-designs the procedure for your specific needs. However, the one thing you’ll have in common with just about everyone who undergoes rhinoplasty is swelling after surgery.

The internal tissues inside your nose are delicate, so even though there’s a good chance of Dr. Guida completing the entire surgery through small incisions inside your nose, rather than externally, you’ll still experience a significant amount of swelling.

This is nothing to be alarmed about, as Dr. Guida and the team explain before your surgery, but when you’re mentally prepared to see your swollen nose with a splint and bandages, it’s a little less surprising.

You may have some black and blue areas, too, depending on the extent of your surgery, but this usually dissipates in 5-6 days. During that time, you’ll have a splint on your nose, but no internal packing, which tends to lead to an easier recovery.

Take a few days off to rest and recover

If you’re not comfortable being in public with a splint on your nose for the first several days after surgery, plan to take some time off from work and other usual activities. It’s a good idea to rest for the first couple days after surgery, anway, so your body has time to recuperate.

Recline in a comfortable position in bed or on the couch with your head propped up higher than your chest to help minimize bleeding and swelling.

The first few days after rhinoplasty are a great time to catch up on your favorite TV shows or the movies you’ve been wanting to stream. You’ll want to avoid strenuous activity for at least 2-4 weeks, such as aerobic exercises, like running, basketball, or cycling. And you’ll most likely need to avoid swimming and going underwater for a minimum of six weeks after surgery.

Vigorous activity raises your heart rate and increases blood pressure, which can make your nose swell even more. Your nose will bleed a bit after surgery, and adding this kind of pressure can also lead to more severe nosebleeds. It’s best to rest and relax for the first few days until the initial swelling subsides and Dr. Guida removes your splint and bandages.

Expect to stay out of the sun, and avoid wearing glasses

The last thing you want as your new and improved nose heals is to develop discoloration from sun exposure. Your skin is sensitive immediately after surgery, and too much sun may cause permanent discoloration. You shouldn’t wear sunglasses, either, or prescription eyeglasses, because they can add pressure on your nose as it tries to heal.

If you need to wear glasses to see the TV, or in general, you can use cheek rests or tape your glasses to your forehead until your nose heals. It’s not an ideal situation, but it keeps the pressure off your delicate nose so it can heal into its intended shape. If you wear contacts, you’ll be able to wear those a day or two after surgery. Dr. Guida may recommend avoiding wearing your glasses for up to four weeks.

Make things as easy as possible as you recover

You know how much it hurts if someone accidentally elbows you in the nose? Well, imagine that pain multiplied by 10 when, fresh off rhinoplasty, you accidentally bump your nose getting dressed. Plan to wear shirts that button or zip up the front so you don’t hurt your nose while pulling a fitted sweater over your head.

Try not to blow your nose to avoid discomfort, and take a bath instead of a shower so you can keep your bandages dry the first several days after surgery. When you brush your teeth, be gentle so you don’t move your upper lip so much that it hurts your sensitive nose.

Expect to see results over time, rather than immediately

Once the swelling goes down and Dr. Guida removes the splint, you’ll begin to see your new nose take shape. Your nose could take up to nine months or more to fully heal into its new profile, and it may change a little at a time. Don’t get discouraged. Rhinoplasty surgery is more like a long-distance marathon than a sprint to the finish line.

Are you considering rhinoplasty for structural or aesthetic reasons? If you live or work in Manhattan or Staten Island, Dr. Guida invites you to contact either location by phone or the online booking feature on this website. A consultation is the first step toward the naturally shaped nose you’ve always wanted.

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