Rhinoplasty Recovery: What to Expect

imsis618-068Some of the most commonly asked questions that we receive about rhinoplasty are related to the recovery. Patients are very curious about what to expect as they heal from surgery — and understandably so! Prior to your rhinoplasty, Dr. Schuster will provide detailed aftercare instructions to follow for a smooth recovery.  These instructions will include:

  • How to care for the surgical site
  • When to return to the office for your follow-up visit
  • Medications to take

Immediately after Surgery

Right after surgery, you will be escorted to the recovery suite. Then, you will be released into the care of an adult companion, who should escort you home and help you get into a comfortable recovery position with food, water and medicine nearby. Your companion should stay with you for the first 24 hours after your surgery in case you need anything.

Your Facial Appearance

Your nose will be swollen and bruised. The area around your eyes may also look bruised, and your face may look puffier than usual. Bloody nasal discharge is fairly common for two to four days after surgery.

You will be wearing a nasal splint over your nose to support its new structures and protect it from accidental contact. The splint should stay in place for one week. Dr. Schuster will remove it during your post-operative follow-up appointment.

Initial swelling will subside within a few weeks. You will notice gradual changes in your nose’s appearance as the swelling dissipates.

Managing Discomfort

If you feel any pain or discomfort, you can take oral pain medication as prescribed by Dr. Schuster. He will advise when and what dosage to take. Applying ice bags (we recommend crushed ice) helps with pain and swelling.

Also, because the inside of your nose is swollen after surgery, you may have some difficulty breathing through it. Don’t worry: this will progressively improve over time.

Activity Level

For the first few days after surgery, you should keep your head elevated, even while sleeping. Gentle activity, like short walks, is encouraged to promote good circulation after surgery, but refrain from any vigorous activity, heavy lifting, bending at the waist and straining for one to two weeks.

Returning to Work/School and Exercise

Dr. Schuster recommends that you take one week off school or work. At this point you will be able to conceal any residual bruising with makeup.

Avoid strenuous activities for two weeks, and slowly ease back into your exercise routine.

Most patients are able to resume full activity in about three weeks. It’s important that you avoid activities (e.g., sports) that could result in accidentally hitting your nose for four to six weeks.

Long-Term Recovery

It may take up to a year for all residual swelling to disappear, and for you to see your final rhinoplasty results. However, you should notice improvement as soon as your nasal splint is removed.

Questions? Call Dr. Schuster

If you have questions about recovering from rhinoplasty, please call Dr. Schuster at 410-902-9800.