A female patient being marked by surgeon before her facial plastic surgery

Rhinoplasty Recovery: Tips, Timeline, and What to Expect

What to Expect During Recovery After Rhinoplasty Surgery with Dr. Jacono in New York, NY.

Rhinoplasty patient discusses her rhinoplasty recovery experience 1 week after her procedure performed by New York rhinoplasty surgeon Dr Andrew Jacono

What Is a Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, or nose job, is a surgical procedure that improves the nose’s shape, length, and width. The nose is the face’s most defining feature, so even slight alterations can significantly change appearance.

Every year, over half a million people consult a facial plastic surgeon for a rhinoplasty. Although the procedure is common, it requires immense skill, training, and expertise to perform.

When considering rhinoplasty, prospective patients should have questions. These typically include the surgeon’s ability, the cost of rhinoplasty surgery, the recovery timeline, and the quality of the results. To answer these questions, prospective patients should do as much research as possible. They should also examine their surgeon’s testimonies, qualifications, and before and after photographs.

Once the prospective patient chooses a surgeon, they should set up a consultation. During the appointment, the surgeon should discuss all available options for treatment. The consultation is a perfect time for the prospective patient to ask questions regarding surgery and recovery.

What to Expect After Rhinoplasty Surgery: Recovery Timeline

As is the case with any surgical procedure, rhinoplasty recovery timelines vary. Everyone’s body heals differently, and patients must consider:

  • Their current health
  • Their age
  • Whether or not they smoke
  • Whether or not they consume alcohol
  • How much time do they spend in the sun
  • Complexity of surgery
  • Use of local or general anesthesia

Although recovery time differs between patients, there is a common thread that can provide recovery guidelines.

Week 1 After Rhinoplasty

Before and After Rhinoplasty Recovery Photos
Before & After Rhinoplasty Photo: This lovely patient is shown 1 week after her rhinoplasty procedure.

During the first week of recovery, patients may feel congested. This is due to swelling within the nose. Dr. Jacono suggests using a humidifier in the room to prevent the mouth from getting dry.

After surgery, Dr. Jacono covers the nose in a cast. This cast will remain on for the first week of recovery. In many cases, some bruising and swelling occur, but Dr. Jacono does not break the nasal bones, so these symptoms are minimal. Dr. Jacono also places a small piece of gauze under the nose to catch escaping blood and fluid. This is only required for the first day or two.

Patients should avoid physical activity and rest as much as possible. They should also keep their head elevated when sleeping and avoid blowing their nose.

Finally, Dr. Jacono encourages patients to stay out of the sun and take time off of work for at least a week.

Week 2 After Rhinoplasty

At the end of the first week, Dr. Jacono removes the nasal cast and performs an examination to gauge recovery. Bruising and swelling will have improved significantly, and patients may feel comfortable in public again. Most patients can return to normal daily activities but should still avoid exercise.

If a patient had an open rhinoplasty, internal sutures should begin to dissolve. Any bruising or redness from incisions can be easily hidden with makeup.

Week 3 After Rhinoplasty

During the third week of recovery, patients should return to all normal activities and exercise. Patients should still avoid bumping their noses. Subtle changes should begin to show, as swelling will have diminished.

Patients are also able to blow their noses but should use sunscreen to minimize sun damage. Sunburn may delay the healing process.

Week 4 After Rhinoplasty

By week four, most of the swelling should have gone down except for a small, lingering amount at the tip. Patients may have a slight loss of feeling in the nose and should use sunscreen in direct sunlight. Patients may continue to see subtle changes in the nose’s shape for up to a year.

Top 10 Rhinoplasty Recovery Tips

Dr. Jacono has a list of the top 10 recovery tips for his rhinoplasty patients.

  • Avoid physical activity during the first two weeks of recovery and avoid bumping the nose.
  • Keep the head elevated when sleeping or lying down.
  • Get as much rest as possible. Good sleep will promote faster healing.
  • Maintain a low-salt diet to prevent fluid retention.
  • Monitor your medication schedule if you experience pain.
  • Eat soft foods for the first two weeks.
  • Begin to blow your nose after week two.
  • Avoid wearing glasses for the first four weeks. If glasses are necessary for sight, attach them to your forehead using tape. You can also position a foam cushion between your nose and the glasses frame.
  • Wear hats and sunscreen after surgery. Avoid sun damage.
  • Final results may take up to a year to emerge. Patience is encouraged.

Frequently Asked Rhinoplasty Recovery Questions

Does Rhinoplasty Hurt?

Rhinoplasty does not hurt. Normally, Dr. Jacono sedates patients with twilight anesthesia. This ensures that patients are unconscious during the procedure.

In some cases, Dr. Jacono performs rhinoplasty with local anesthesia injections. These injections numb the surgical area so that patients feel no pain.

There may be some bruising and minor pain after surgery, but Dr. Jacono prescribes certain medications to minimize discomfort.

How Long Does the Swelling Last After Rhinoplasty?

Swelling and bruising usually occur after rhinoplasty. However, after about four weeks, the majority of bruising and swelling should subside. Over the course of a few months, swelling should continue to gradually resolve.

After about a year post-surgery, the nose should assume its final shape and form.

What Precautions Should Patients Take After Rhinoplasty Surgery?

For the first four weeks after surgery, patients should avoid exercise. They should apply sunscreen daily to avoid sun damage to sensitive nasal skin. They should also avoid bumping their nose and engaging in potentially harmful activities.

How Soon Can You Exercise After a Nose Job?

Dr. Jacono recommends that patients wait at least three weeks before returning to exercise and normal daily activities. This is because any trauma the nose sustains during recovery can alter its shape.

To learn more about rhinoplasty recovery, please contact Dr. Jacono’s offices in either Manhattan or Long Island.

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