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Tips to Prevent Further Swelling After Rhinoplasty?

I am 8 weeks post-op and have significant swelling in the supra tip and tip of my nose. I know the final result is still months down the road but I am wondering if there is anything I can do at this point to help reduce the swelling in the meantime. For example, do hot baths/showers increase the swelling?

Doctor Answers 8

Rhinoplasty swelling

Thanks for the question -

Rhinoplasty surgery, as you've mentioned, always has some degree of swelling that typically can take 6 months to a year to resolve.

In the immediate post-op period, in our San Francisco area practice, we have our patients maintain head elevation and keep a nasal splint on for the first week.

Depending on the amount of tip work performed you should be cautious about employing massage or lymphatic drainage techniques as this can disrupt the cartilage work before things have completely healed.

Usually time is the best tool.

Hang in there!

I hope this helps.

Tips to Prevent Further Swelling of the Nasal Tip After Rhinoplasty

Hi Kag,

Healthy living is the best thing that you can do to help your nose return to normal after rhinoplasty. Avoid smoking, drinking in excess, and partying too much.

You may want to try Bromeline extract, or even eating fresh pineapple. Sleep with the head of your bed elevated so that your nose is above your heart. Speak with your surgeon regarding your concerns. Your surgeon will be able to decide if a low dose injection of a steroid into the supra-tip area would be of value.

Most of all, be patient. Patience is its own reward.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling After Rhinoplasty

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 schedule an appointment with you surgeon to discuss whether or not this is right for you and to get formal instructions on the right way to take it.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Nose swelling after Rhinoplasty

Yes, hot baths can increase the swelling, but usually on a temporary basis. So can anything that increases the venous distention of the face (bulging veins): this includes straining, lifting, laying down, etc.

In the short term, you may want to consider seeking out therapists with experience in Manual lymphatic drainage to promote decreased facial swelling.

There are some medication options but I would recommend that you avoid these. Homeopathic remedies are largely anecdotal and while they generally do no harm, I am not entirely convinced about their benefits.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Post-Op Swelling: Rhinoplasty

It’s not unusual for patients to experience swelling following rhinoplasty surgery.In the immediate post-operative period, nasal splints, elevation of the head, and ice have all been utilized to minimize swelling.

When rhinoplasty patients are eight weeks post-op, none of these maneuvers have a significant impact on swelling. Although taping, lymphatic massage and steroid injections have been used, none are associated with uniform success.In most cases, resolution of swelling requires time.In most cases up to a year.

The failure of these treatments has to do with the nature of the problem.The combination of disrupted lymphatic channels and the constant force of gravity are significant contributors to swelling.Until lymphatic channels are re-established, resolution of swelling is an uphill battle.It’s therefore important to be patient and maintain good communication with your plastic surgeon.Your surgeon should be able to address your concerns and alleviate your anxiety.

Recovery After Nose Job

At the 8 week mark where you are, a noticeable amount of swelling should have already cleared. Still, though it may feel as if you are far along in the recovery process, swelling can take an entire year to completely subside. It is important to sleep with your head elevated with 2-3 pillows to promote blood flow and to steer clear of foods that have a high concentration of salt. Moderating exercise is a good way to facilitate oxygen circulation and can thus be linked to a reduction in swelling. In any case, try to be as patient as possible with your recovery process as your nose continues to heal. You should also reduce your alcohol intake to not interfere with the healing process.

Sam Rizk, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Swelling after surgery

In general, swelling after rhinoplasty takes months and months to fully resolve, and the tip always takes the longest. 

Some things that you can do to accelerate your recovery:

avoid tobacco and alcohol at least three weeks before and after surgery
don't take vitamin E, any aspirin-based medications, and garlic or fish oil tablets for two weeks before and after surgery
avoid strenuous exercise as you heal, and avoid swimming for at least 6 weeks after surgery
protect from sun exposure
take bromelain and/or arnica supplements before and after surgery, if advised by your surgeon

These things will probably be included in the care instructions given to you by your surgeon. Follow all of the instructions closely to help minimize bruising and swelling.

Cortisone shots to the supratip area of the nose will help

The only things that can be done about swelling in the nasal tip post rhinoplasty are cortisone shots to the supratip area of the nose; the area just above the tip. Lymphatic edema tends to be quite extensive in this area in the postoperative healing phase, especially when more complicated nasal surgery is performed. Cortisone pills can also help, but this is more of a temporary measure.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 72 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.