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Sleeping Position After Rhinoplasty?

Following Rhinoplasty, what position should you sleep in? Also, if you wind up on your back or side during the night, will that affect the development of your nose adversely and alter the results if even slightly?

Doctor Answers 14

Increasing comfort after rhinoplasty

While keeping the head higher than your heart for the first few days post-op will probably minimize swelling, I also recommend it for comfort. When the nose is congested--as it will be after surgery--lying flat can sometimes make patients feel as if they're smothering.

It's doubtful that lying flat would cause any truly lasting harm, though. So if a patient is adamant about lying flat, I'd rather they get their sleep and rest than be up all night in an uncomfortable position.

I do caution them against lying on their side in a way that smooshes their cheek and face, since that could potentially shift repositioned nasal bones. I can't say that I've ever seen a bad result that was merely due to patient sleeping position, but it's prudent to minimize the chance.

All the best,


Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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Suggested sleeping position after rhinoplasty

It is suggested that a patient tries to keep their head above their heart simply to reduce swelling in the nose after a rhinoplasty. It is only a suggestion and is not crucial. Rolling over on a pillow will usually not dislodge it or make the nose crooked if the cast is in place. It is more important to get a good night of sleep than it is to worry about sleeping on three pillows versus two pillows.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Rhinoplasty and Sleeping Position

Hi Cali,

After rhinoplasty it is advised to keep your head (nose) elevated above your heart. That usually translates to 3 to 4 pillows. To facilitate staying on your back, you should place sand bags on either side of you, a spouse will work on one side (just kidding). You can place something on each side of you to help from turning onto your side or stomach.

Good luck, enjoy your new nose, and sweet dreams.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Sleeping position after a Rhinoplasty

I recommend my patients to sleep with their heads elevated during the first week of recovery in order to help minimize swelling. The swelling and bruising around your eyes will reach its peak in about 2 to 3 days; however, most of the swelling and bruising should disappear in about 2 weeks. Subtle swelling typically remains for several months. To feel better and help reduce swelling, be sure to apply cold compresses as need be.

Leonard Hochstein, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Elevate Your Head Following Rhinoplasty

                  It’s important to elevate the head following rhinoplasty to minimize post-operative swelling. We generally recommend sleeping in a recliner chair for two weeks following surgery. This prevents the patient from inadvertently rolling onto their side.

                  It’s important to avoid sleeping on the side because this can cause pressure on the nose and displacement of the nasal bones. After two weeks patients can resume sleeping in their bed. This approach minimizes the potential for complications and is associated with high patient satisfaction rates. 

Sleeping After Rhinoplasty

In general, one should consider sleeping with your head elevated for the first two weeks after any rhinoplasty or facial procedures such as head and neck, to minimize swelling post operatively.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Sleeping position after rhinoplasty


I recommend the "lounge chair position," which means head elevated above the chest and knees slightly flexed. This position can be approximated in bed with two pillows behind the head and one pillow behind the knees.

Joel B. Singer, MD
Old Greenwich Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Sleeping position after Rhinoplasty

The most helpful position you can be in after rhinoplasty is upright. During the days spend most of the day in the sitting position and during the night sleep on your back with several pillows. This will help reduce the swelling significantly. 

Amir M. Karam, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

No long term effects

The goal of head elevation and ice is to reduce swelling and bruising. Keeping your head elevated above your heart allows the swelling fluids to drain from the nose. Over time all of the swelling goes down and there will not be any permanent damage .

Richard L. Dolsky, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Rhinoplasty and Positioning

I recommend to my patients that they for the first few nights they sleep with their head elevated above the level of the heart.  Sleeping with a few pillows will help decrease the swelling that would occur.

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 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.