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How Long is Healing Period for Rhinoplasty?

My doctor says that in 3-4 weeks after Rhinoplasty, that the nose is about 85% of the way it's going to look. Is this true? The doctor has 14 years experience and is a board certified ENT in Florida.

Doctor Answers (19)

Healing Period After Rhinoplasty

+2

The nose undergoes significant changes in the first 2 to 12 weeks following rhinoplasty. The swelling gradually dissipates over the first several months and thus the appearance of the nose changes gradually. It is difficult to put a percentage on the amount of swelling that remains at any given tip period.

SWELLING
The nose undergoes significant changes in the first 2 to 12 weeks following rhinoplasty. The swelling gradually dissipates over the first several months and thus the appearance of the nose changes gradually.
• When the cast is removed after one week, the nose will look swollen.
• Usually by the end of the second week, the swelling and bruising have subsided enough that the casual observer will not readily notice that the nose has been operated on.
• To the patient, the nose will look swollen or "puffy" for several months.
• By about 3-4 months, the majority of the swelling will be gone but will look larger in photographs.
• It can take as long as a year for the final shape to become apparent.
• You should give yourself several months if if there are any work or social engagements that would cause concern.

Swelling can persist during this time, particularly in the tip and over the area where a boney hump was removed. Following a hump removal during a rhinoplasty, it is very common for there to be excessive swelling over the central portion of the nasal bridge overlying the area where the boney hump was removed. This area often appears more swollen that the rest of the bridge and can remain swollen for several months. As a result, patients frequently worry that the bump will be permanent.

Taping the bridge of the nose and the supratip area (area above the tip) can significantly reduce postoperative edema (swelling). Gentle pressure from the tape does two things. First, it can help 'press' out some of the swelling that results from trapped fluid in the tissues. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, pressure on the tissues causes the collagen fibers in scar tissue to become more organized, which reduces the volume of the swollen area.The most effective for taping is in the first six months after surgery. You should still get a benefit even if you havent started taping until 2 months after surgery.

It is very common for rhinoplasty patients to report (in the first several weeks after surgery) that their upper lip feels stiff and that it is difficult for them to smile. Fortunately, this resolves by itself in the first several weeks after surgery as the swelling subsides. Be patient, your smile should return to normal.

BRUISING
Bruising and swelling are a normal part of rhinoplasty recovery. They are dependent on several factors related to both the surgical technique and the patient. Techniques that increase bruising and swelling include whether or not the nasal bones were broken (osteotomies), the extent of soft tissue dissection/elevation from the bony-cartilaginous framework, and whether the surgery was performed open or closed. Patient factors include age, skin thickness, nutrition, bleeding tendencies/disorders, and medications that thin the blood.

Obviously, not many of these variables are within the control of the patient; however the extent of the bruising and the severity of swelling can be minimized by following these tips:
• Avoid any medications that thin the blood for a minimum of 2 weeks before surgery and do not resume them until your physician directs you to. These medications include (but are not limited to): aspirin, ibuprofen, anti-inflammatories, heparin, lovenox, coumadin, plavix.
• Avoid multivitamins/herbal remedies/teas etc that contain high levels of Vitamin E, Ginseng, Ginko -- these can cause you to bleed more freely.
• If you have a tendency to bleed or bruise easily, have a history of a bleeding disorder, or have a family member with a bleeding disorder, you should discuss this with your physician before surgery.
• Ice packs to applied to the cheeks for the first 48 hours
• Keep you head elevated higher than your heart. This will help minimize the amount of edema (swelling).
• Avoid smoking
• Herbal supplements such as bromelin, papaya extract, and arnica may be of benefit, but few studies have proven their effectiveness.
• Sun exposure in the first several months following rhinoplasty can cause the skin of the nose to become red or "splotchy". It can also predispose you to getting sunburned more easily. For the first several months after rhinoplasty, patients should wear sunscreen and/or a hat to prevent the above mentioned problems.

CAST / SPLINT / PACKING
Surgeons frequently place an external splint on the exterior of the nose after surgery. The casta can help preserve the operative result and also can aid in reducing swelling. Most surgeons leave the cast in place for one week.


Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Rhinoplasty Healing Time: How Long is It?

+1
Healing time and recovery time are two different things. You should be able to see most of your results as soon as the splint is removed (2 to 4 days in most cases). After that you may have a little swelling and I would agree that you will see about 80to 90% of the final result.

At this point you are recovered but you are not totally healed. The final healing process takes about 1 year. You will see scar changes that almost imperceptible change the shape of your result. These changes are usually detected on photographs but few people actually see them.

In general, I give the following rule of 3s. Your are recovered at 3 days, have 80 to 90% of your result at 3 weeks and almost your complete result at 3 months.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Swelling Will Hide True Results

+1
Swelling will hide your results, and will be at its worst in the first one to two months after your surgery. However, the tip will remain swollen for up to a year (and in some cases, it can even be two years depending on your rate of recovery). It is difficult to say how much of a percentage of your results should appear while you recover, as everyone recovers at their own rate.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

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Rhinoplasty Healing Period

+1

Patients can expect to start healing  by 14-17 Days. you can return to work 7-8 days after surgery. For a complete 100% full recovery will take longer about 30-90 days.

"Dr.D"

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
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Rhinoplasty - healing

+1

You will likely have a cast on for about 1 wk after surgery. Sometimes surgeons keep tape on the nose for 1-2 wk after surgery. If you have your nose broken, you'll likely have some bruising around your eyes and nose for about 2 weeks but usually this can be covered with makeup after the first few days.  Usually by the end of the second week, most of the swelling has gone down.  By the 4th week, you can usually resume mild exercise and cardio.  However, the final result after rhinoplasty usually takes about 3-4 mo so be patient!

Dr. Cat Begovic M.D. 

Catherine Huang-Begovic, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Patients can resume normal social activities two weeks after rhinoplasty

+1

Patients are able to get back to their normal social activities within two weeks following a rhinoplasty; most of the bruising is faded by then. After a month post rhinoplasty, approximately 70% to 80% of the swelling is gone out of the tip of the nose. The remainder of that swelling is going to take at least a year to go away for full healing effects.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
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Getting back in the limelight after Rhinoplasty

+1

Dear Qwerta,

I believe your surgeon is more or less correct. I tell patients that 85% of their healing is complete at about 3 months. While 90 days sounds like a lot, most Rhinoplasty patients return to work in 7-8 days and do fine.

While rhinoplasty patients are typically returning to their daily routines at 7-8 days, they are not allowed to do any heavy exertion for a full 3 weeks, no contact sports for 3 months, and they are told very explicitly that their nose will continue to heal for a full 12 months. After this milestone, the changes made to your nose would officially be 100% healed.

Good luck!

Randolph Capone, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Swelling after rhinoplasty.

+1

Every surgeon will give you slightly different answers based on his or her particular technique, experience, and patient population. In general, I tell my patients that within two weeks they'll be able to pass the "bus stop test," meaning that they'd be able to sit down next to someone at the bus stop and that person wouldn't think, "Yikes! What happened to them?!"

Bruising is usually gone by two weeks, 60% of the "swelling" is gone by six weeks, and 85-90% is gone by three months. Full healing takes a year (give or take).

What's really occurring over this long timeframe is not actually resolution of "swelling" but also contraction of the skin/soft-tissue envelope onto the cartilage and bone framework underneath. It's a bit like shrink-wrapping, if you will. This is where careful planning and execution of rhinoplasty is so important. Minor flaws in technique can show up as unsightly contours, points, and asymmetries even months (and sometimes years) later.

A good surgeon will recommend following you for at least a year post-op.

All the best,

--DCP

David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Rhinoplasty recovery

+1

Most patients need about 3 weeks to go back tomost acitivites after a rhinoplasty.  I would say that the majority of the swelling will go down by about 3-4 weeks. However, there will be reisdual swelling ans stiffness that may last up to a year or more.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Rhinoplasty recovery

+1

This sounds about right.  However, the swelling in the nose can take about 1 year to completely resolve.  Further, I would recommend avoiding any contact sports or extreme physical activity, like water skiing, for 6 months to allow all of the bone and cartilage to heal completely.  Good luck!

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.