Proper Expectations for Rhinoplasty

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS

Article by
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon

For an optimal experience with the rhinoplasty (nose surgery) procedure, a patient must have proper expectations and be properly prepared for the healing process by his or her board certified plastic surgeon.

It is important to remember that the final result after rhinoplasty may not be visible for up to six months to two years following surgery. Many variables, such as the nature and thickness of your own skin, the nature and thickness of your tissues, and your individual healing process affect the final outcome. Although rhinoplasty ranks among the most commonly performed procedures, surgical revision may be necessary in some cases to achieve a higher refinement of results. To avoid disappointment, the limitations of the rhinoplasty surgery must be kept in mind, including the fact that a retouch procedure may be required in some cases.

During your healing process, you can expect:

    Mild or moderate degree of discomfort. Take the prescribed pain medication for a few days. You may need extra-strength Tylenol for a few more days.
    Mild degree of black and blue discoloration, which usually fades in two to three weeks. The swelling is usually at its worst within 48 hours, before it subsides rapidly in about one week. You can camouflage the minimal skin discoloration with masking makeup after a few days. However, you may want to review the ingredients with your board certified plastic surgeon.
    The extent of bruising varies greatly by patient and usually takes two to four weeks to fade. Bruising can be minimized by adequate rest and by taking vitamin C orally for two to three weeks after surgery.
    Moderate amount of bleeding from the nose for several hours after surgery, followed by drainage of a thin fluid that usually lasts several days.
    Brisk bleeding from the nose is possible if you are prone to blood pressure spikes, which can be triggered by sudden or excessive movements and anxiety. Take prescribed pain medications to relieve any discomfort, and keep your head elevated to prevent bleeding.
    Obstructed breathing, which can last for about three to seven days, causing a feeling of "head cold" and dryness of the mouth. The nose usually feels congested intermittently for a few weeks due to internal pressure.
    Induration, the result of normal process of healing and scar tissue formation. This normal process of healing usually lasts three to six months.
    Asymmetry of the two halves of the nose and the two nostrils is not at all uncommon. After healing is completed, the degree of asymmetry will be less noticeable and will be of no aesthetic significance.
    Scars from any external incisions that will fade in a few weeks. Avoid direct sun and use sunscreen to prevent scarring. Gentle massage of the scars with vitamin E oil is also beneficial.
    With appropriate expectations and proper preparation, you should have smooth healing process and a natural looking result after rhinoplasty surgery.