Why Aren't There Any Good Treatments for Swelling?

With all the amazing, seemingly impossible things plastic surgeons can do it amazes me that they seems to have no good treatment for swelling. I had a rhinoplasty two weeks ago, and since I having a pretty thin face, the swelling is more noticeable on me than it would be on someone with wider features. What is it about swelling that makes it so untreatable? How could it possibly be easier to carve a human face than treat swelling? Is there really nothing to do but wait? Thanks!!

Doctor Answers 6

Post operative swelling

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Swelling is part of the natural healing process and it will resolve on its own with time. Doctors do have a way of treating or preventing swelling, by using steroids at the time of surgery. In fact, your surgeon may have done that as it is often part of a surgeon's routine. Otherwise, it take patience, which is why you are referred to as a "patient". Don't worry, swelling always goes away.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews


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Swelling occurs with almost any surgery due to the response to trauma as well as the disruption of lymphatic channels.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

What to do about swelling after rhinoplasty

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This is a very common concern for patients. The best thing to do about swelling is to have patience! I know it's difficult, but this is the body's natural form of healing. For most patients, this swelling resolves with time. However, certain patients with thick skin or certain revision rhinoplasty patients, the swelling can take a very long time. Up to 2 years! for these patients, I sometimes use small, limited amounts of steroid injections. These should be used carefully, as they can cause problems when used in the wrong patient or overused.

Andres Bustillo, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

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Reduction in swelling after rhinoplasty

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Thanks for the question. Obviously you should check with your surgeon, but there are certainly ways to minimize swelling after surgery. At 4-6 weeks out, I occasionally perform a Kenalog (steroid) injection for patients who are swollen in the tip of the nose and just above the tip. Taping and icing the nose are sometimes useful. On your part, avoiding excess salt, alcohol, and sleeping with your head elevated can also help. It does take several months or even a year after rhinoplasty for all the swelling to dissipate but with some of these measures, your surgeon may be able to get you looking better sooner!

Best of luck in your recovery,

Dr. Mehta

Umang Mehta, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

No Treatments for Swelling after Rhinoplasty

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   Steroids can be given at the time of rhinoplasty surgery.  However, giving steroid injections early and often is not recommended due to risks of atrophy and skin pigmentation changes.   In addition, prolonged oral steroid consumption has a litany of side effects.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Why Aren't There Any Good Treatments for Swelling?

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First you must sleep with an inclination of  45 degrees, is also good to do lymphatic drainage massage. 

Maria Cristina Picon, MD
Argentina Plastic Surgeon

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.