First Few Days
You spent hours looking at before and after photos of rhinoplasty procedures and researching surgeons who had the experience and expertise to give you precisely the results you were after. Then, you went to the consultation and, after plenty of thoughtful consideration, you finally decided to move forward with your rhinoplasty procedure.
After all, you’ve been dealing with the negative impacts long enough, and you are ready to finally feel confident in your facial appearance. The rhinoplasty is scheduled, and you were given plenty of preoperative instructions on what to do during the days and weeks (and sometimes, months) leading up to your procedure.
Now the question becomes, “what you should expect after a rhinoplasty?” There is a library of information available regarding what to do and what not to do after a rhinoplasty and what to expect from your nose job recovery. Unfortunately, the answers are mostly scattered around the internet.
The questions continue to build the closer you get to your surgery. What are the rhinoplasty healing stages? What kind of swelling should I be expecting? What is the full recovery timeline? We know the kind of anxiety that can come with not having answers, so we decided to compile this complete recovery timeline so that you know exactly what to expect after a rhinoplasty.
After completing your surgery, your physician will likely be placing plenty of bandaging, packing and a splint inside your nose to protect the newly created structures during the first few days of healing. You should avoid blowing your nose as you normally would. Instead, wipe your nose gently with a tissue. Since sneezing can cause your nasal structure to shift, you should allow the sneeze to leave through your mouth to soften the potential damage to your nose.
During this time, keeping your head and nose elevated can help with swelling, pain and discomfort. You should do your best to make sure your head remains elevated while you are sleeping and avoid rolling onto your nose or face at all costs. You will need to be off of work to allow yourself to recover. Avoid baths and opt for showers instead to minimize the wound’s contact with water.
Generally, you should be avoiding any strenuous activity such as exercise, bicycle riding, running, etc., but we do recommend that you get around and walk a little each day to encourage blood flow throughout the body. Listen intently to the signs your body gives you and stop when it tells you to stop. You should sleep and rest whenever you feel tired or exhausted.
You should continue keeping your head elevated whenever possible to avoid excessive or unnecessary pain and swelling after your rhinoplasty, but this becomes less and less necessary as time goes on. Despite that, you should still avoid sleeping in a position that could pressure your nasal structure. All patients will need to take this time off from work to ensure a healthy recovery.
You should still avoid blowing your nose, opting for a gentle wipe with a soft tissue instead, and aim to sneeze through your mouth instead of your nose. The internal bandaging and splint will likely still be in place at this time, so you should still avoid submerging your nose in water during baths while the bandages are in place.
Strenuous exercise and activities should still be avoided, so you’ll have to continue waiting to resume things like jogging, bicycle riding, weight lifting, etc. You should continue to walk every day, slowly increasing your stamina and regulating blood flow.
This is the point where many of the side effects will begin to fade and decrease. It is essential to continue to be aware that you are still in the early stages of your rhinoplasty recovery time, so you should still take precautions like not blowing your nose and keeping your head elevated whenever possible. During this time frame, you should also be gentle when brushing your teeth to avoid reopening the wounds in your nose.
At some point during this week, the bandages and splint will likely be removed from your nasal structure by Dr. Freeman — assuming it is secure enough to keep itself in place. Once the bandaging is removed, it is safe to take a bath, but you should still avoid keeping your nose submerged until the wounds have completely healed and make sure it is thoroughly dried afterward.
You will likely begin to feel better and more energetic at the tail end of this first week. This is a good sign, and you should definitely get up and use that energy to do small, manageable tasks that will help your healing process. But the golden rule is to listen to your body, and you should still avoid strenuous activity and exercise at this time.
Here is what to expect three weeks after a rhinoplasty. At this point, most patients have returned to work with minor signs of surgery. Some bruising and swelling may still be present, but many patients feel comfortable returning to the world with these minor symptoms. It is typically safe during this phase to stop avoiding dramatic facial expressions like laughing without causing damage to your wounds.
While it is tempting to start returning to regular routines once the signs of surgery begin to fade, you should still avoid any strenuous activity and avoid putting any pressure on your nose. Even glasses could still cause problems at this stage of the healing process. Continue to walk each day as your stamina allows.
Prescription and/or over the counter medication will be provided as needed to manage symptoms.
You are well on your way to a complete recovery after six weeks of healing. The final structures of your nose job should be fairly obvious, and it is now safe to start wearing glasses and sunglasses without worrying about damaging the nasal structure.
At this point, you will likely have been cleared to return to most of your routines, including exercise and other rigorous activities. Rhinoplasty is still major surgery, however, so be wary of the signals your body gives you and take care not to overdo it even at this point.
We generally advise that the final results or your rhinoplasty could take up to a year to show in some cases since it takes a long time for the nasal structure to completely “set.” At this point in your recovery, however, it is generally safe to blow your nose (gently) and sleep in regular positions unless otherwise stated by your physician. Make an effort to eliminate or minimize the risks — the better you take care of your results, the longer they will last and the more impactful they will be.
You will likely have no more restrictions on activities and can typically avoid worrying about most precautionary measures like not sleeping on or rubbing your nose too roughly. You can resume your regular life with the brand new facial aesthetic that you have always wanted.
If you are interested in getting more information about how rhinoplasty can help you achieve the look you have always wanted, give Dr. Freeman a call at 281-599-9445 or fill out our online contact form to get started today.
We know how many questions you are likely to have throughout the process, and we are dedicated to providing you with all the information and answers you need to feel comfortable with your rhinoplasty procedure.