Rhinoplasty Recovery: What You Need to Know

David Mabrie, MD

Article by
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon

I take plenty of care in my rhinoplasty procedures to minimize recovery times and post-procedure discomfort as much as possible, but the fact is that rhinoplasty is an invasive procedure, and every patient will have some "downtime" during recovery. Here are some basic facts that can help you make the best choices for a faster and generally more positive recovery from rhinoplasty surgery.

#1 – Recovery WILL Vary Among Patients
Everyone's body handles nose surgery a little differently, so I review my patients' health history carefully before I even suggest a surgical plan. Why? Because I want to make sure I'm not giving their body a challenge that it won't be able to handle well. A few factors that will make a difference:
• How extensive your desired procedure is – For example, a septoplasty which affects the inner structures of the nose will take longer to heal than a procedure where I adjust the nose tip only
• Your age and health – Smokers and diabetics require more time to recover, and problems like poor nutrition and anemia can add additional time. Age isn't necessarily a "big" issue – I've performed procedures for healthy 70-year-olds that I've refused for very unhealthy 30-year-olds – but it can make a difference
• Whether you're on medication - Even herbal supplements can influence blood flow, immunity, and other factors that play into the tissue-rebuilding process. Be open with your doctor about anything you are taking.

#2 – Different Surgeons DO Handle Recovery Differently
I try to take whatever steps I can to make recovery faster and easier on the patient. For me this means:
• Favoring minimally-invasive approaches like using fillers whenever possible.
• Avoiding the need for "packing" after surgery. Some rhinoplasty surgeons will pack the nose tightly with bandages or cotton. This isn't necessarily a "bad" practice, but it makes recovery more uncomfortable and I've found that most of the time I can avoid the need for it.

My advice: Communicate with your surgeon. You won't know your surgeon's stance on issues like candidacy and recovery unless you ask.