How Long Should the Nose Be Swollen Following a Rhinoplasty?

I had a rhinoplasty procedure done in December of last year when I was 18. I've always had a pretty large bump on my nose that bothered me a lot and got me teased when I was younger so when I received settlement money when I turned 18 I decided to go through with the procedure. I went in on a Monday and he made the surgery for a week later, it all seemed very rushed. Well, it's now mid-October and you can barely tell I had anything done. There is still a large bump and it is sore. I have read that swelling should be completely gone by 9 months. I went back to my plastic surgeon and he keeps assuring me that everything is fine and a little pain is normal. I last went in August and he requested I come back in December! How long should the swelling and pain last?

Doctor Answers 3

Swellling and Pain After Rhinoplasty

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Most swelling is gone in a few days, but changes in the shape can still be seen for 12 - 18 months after Rhinoplasty.

Most tenderness or pain is typically gone in a couple of months.

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Swelling and pain 9 months after rhinoplasty

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Recovery after rhinoplasty will vary based on the person, characteristics of the nasal tissues and what was done during surgery. Immediately after the splint or cast is removed, it is common for the nose to look more defined. After the compression has been removed, the skin and soft tissues can swell and this can take weeks to months to significantly improve. After rhinoplasty, tip shape is typically the last thing to settle before seeing the final result; this can take 12 months or longer. During this time you will notice that the size of your tip decreases as swelling resolves and subtle details and tip definition appear. Additionally, the tip may descend causing the tip to rotate downwards (depending on what was done during surgery). Around the 4-6 week mark, most patients are able to appreciate most of the changes from surgery as a significant amount of swelling has resolved. However, it can take somewhere in and around 12-18 months to see the final results. The areas with thicker skin in the nose such as the tip, alar rims and radix will require longer to settle. 

There can be some tenderness and sensitivity, especially when you touch the nose for many months after rhinoplasty. This tenderness may be where the bone of the bump was altered or the skin can be hypersensitive as the fine nerve endings grow back. 

It's hard but important to stay patient during your recovery and to be diligent attending your follow-up appointments with your surgeon. In many cases, it is best to wait at least 1 year or more prior to revision rhinoplasty.

Nose may be swollen for up to one year after rhinoplasty

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Most of the obvious swelling after a rhinoplasty resolves after a few weeks, however the minor swelling may linger for up to one year. This is especially true concerning the tip of the nose.  This does not imply that you will look swollen for a year, but your photo at one month will look slightly different compared to your photo at one year. Please review your preoperative photos carefully with your surgeon so you can have an idea of what your expectations of the surgery will be.  We use 3D imaging for this purpose to simulate what the final result may look like, so the patient has a clear understanding of the surgical outcome.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 400 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.