Astrid Plastic Surgery Clinic

Your Rhinoplasty Recovery Explained From Day 1 to 30 - What to Expect After Rhinoplasty Surgery


Rhinoplasty is the answer to reach your ideal nasal aesthetics or to correct a deviated nose, especially if it causes nasal obstruction.

If you are considering a rhinoplasty, it is useful to know, not just about the surgical procedure, but the protocol following surgery as well. Although it may take a few months to begin seeing final results of a rhinoplasty, the recovery process will take less time.

It is difficult to give an absolute duration for recovery time as it is dependent on various factors such as age, health status and type of rhinoplasty procedure performed. However, knowing what to expect and following our postoperative care instructions will make a big difference to your recovery.

There are two main approaches to rhinoplasty – open or closed rhinoplasty.  In general, closed rhinoplasty has less swelling and less downtime, hence reaching the final result faster. If there are more complex corrections required for your nose, it is likely that an open rhinoplasty will be recommended to address your concerns.

Here is a typical 30-day open rhinoplasty recovery guide, so you’ll know what to expect during a typical recovery period.

Rhinoplasty Recovery Week 1

During this time, follow the postoperative incision care closely – keeping the incision clean will prevent infection and optimise healing Avoid spectacles and any pressure on the nose. We apply a protective dressing/splint to shield the nose. Avoid sneezing and coughing forcefully.

Day 1: If your surgery was done under sedation or general anaesthesia, you may feel unsteady and sleepy. You should have arrange support from family and friends to drive you home. Most patients feel that the nose feel “bruised”. On day one, it is likely that you will need pain medication to stay comfortable and have a good night’s rest. It is common to have small amounts of bleeding through the nostrils which can be managed with gauze. Sometimes, packs are left in the nose to control the bleeding, especially if you have bone or turbinate surgery. You will have to breathe through your nose.

Day 2: Rest is recommended for this day, but you should start to feel better and want to move around more. Sitting up and moving around, instead of lying flat, helps to reduce swelling. You may still have some blood spotting today.

Day 3: Bruising and swelling usually reach their height around day 3 and 4, but both will likely be present for several additional weeks, although they will be significantly milder than the first week of operation. Continue to take medication if you experience discomfort.

Days 4-6: By this time, most people can reduce or even stop their prescription pain medication. You should start to see the swelling go down. If you have packs in, the surgeon will often ask you to return to have them removed by this time. You should also start feeling more comfortable moving about. Doing light housework is often permitted. Lasers can help to clear bruises for those with bruising tendency.

Rhinoplasty Recovery Week 2

Days 7-14: A follow-up visit will be scheduled at this point, usually to remove your surgical dressings and sutures. During this week, you will still have mild swelling, bruising and numbness on and around the nose. These are all common occurrences after a rhinoplasty and should not cause concern. Many begin doing light activities like walking.

Most people return to work in the second week. After a simple closed rhinoplasty, it is possible to go back to work earlier than that. Although most of the swelling would have settled by 2 weeks, with mild residual puffiness, some patients do express that they may still feel shy to meet people. Being a patient, it is common to be more self-conscious of this swelling than how it appears to others.

Rhinoplasty Recovery Week 3 And 4

Days 15-30: During this time, as the swelling subsides further, you will start to appreciate a more defined nasal contour. By now, you can get back to your usual exercise regime. You can also start enjoying activities without people noticing much, if any, outward signs of your procedure. Incision sites will have a pinkish-red hue but this should fade with time.

What To Expect After 30 Days

After the one-month postoperative mark, you should be back to doing normal activities and enjoying life with your new look. It can take up to one year for very minor swelling, tightness and numbness to reside, but those typically are only noticeable to you.

Keep in mind that the above only represent very general timeframes. Everyone will have a unique experience, and you should always follow the directions provided. It is important to communicate with your plastic surgeon throughout the entire process. Ask questions and let them know if you are experiencing any symptoms that you feel are out of the ordinary.

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