How to Reduce Swelling and Puffiness After Nose Surgery?

Is there any way to reduce the swelling and puffiness of my nose? I had several reconstructive surgeries to repair my face after a serious car accident, including surgery to fix my broken nose, but the swelling and puffiness just won't go away. It's been three months since the surgery.

Doctor Answers 3

Reduce swelling and puffiness after nose surgery


I'm sorry to hear of your injuries.

Swelling with nasal surgery occurs both on the outside and inside of the nose. For elective nasal surgery, most patients are generally "restaurant ready" and socially acceptable within 2 weeks. Most nasal swelling with rhinoplasty resolves within a month. The final swelling takes a much longer time to resolve, up to a year or longer after surgery. Fortunately, this final swelling is usually only evident to the surgeon and patient.

Traumatic injuries generally have a longer recovery time. The more extensive the surgery, the more you will swell and the longer the swelling will last. The tip of the nose holds onto swelling longer than the other parts of the nose. Patients with thicker skin will also have more swelling for a longer period of time.

Time is the best option, as it may take a year or longer for nasal swelling to resolve. Gentle massage may help. Keeping your head elevated, maintaining the nasal splint/cast, ice, arnica montana, and following your plastic surgeon's guideline may help reduce rhinoplasty swelling. A short dose of oral steroid may be appropriate in select patients. Persistant swelling may also be reduced by steroid treatment injection directly into the nose.

Don't hesitate to speak to your plastic surgeon about any persistant swelling.

Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Patience is a virtue here.

Unfortunately, with that much trauma and the necessary reconstruction, most patients will have significant swelling for many, many months...perhaps as long as a year or longer.

I hate to say it, but there is no proven or reliable way to reduce this sort of post-operative and post-traumatic swelling. In fact, many times patients can actually make things worse by trying to speed up the process or by excessively manipulating the face.

But there is a silver lining to all of this which is that time itself will tend to take care of these problems all on its own. Have patience and follow up with your surgeon(s) for proper advice and reassurance.

All the best,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Reducing Swelling and Puffiness After Nose Surgery

  • I know it is hard to be patient, but time is the best medicine.
  • Sometimes light massage can be helpful, but please consult with your surgeon first.

Anand D. Patel, MD
Brookfield Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.