Post Rhinoplasty: For How Long Will my Nose Feel Stuffed Up?

I am wondering when I can start to breathe easier? I feel really stuffed up and am wondering how long the stuffy feeling is considered within normal range. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 12

Breathing problem after rhinoplasty, is this normal?

Dear rhinoplasty patient,
You did not specify how long ago you had your rhinoplasty. Internal nasal swelling following rhinoplasty will lead to a temporary nasal air way obstruction. Normally after a month, majority of internal swelling will subside therefore breathing through the nose becomes easier. If your surgery was performed longer than three months ago and you still have nasal obstruction, you might want to talk to your surgeon. Internal scaring or nasal valve collapse are then possibilities. Good luck and good healing. Dr. Kevin Sadati

Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Stuffiness after rhinoplasty

Obstruction after rhinoplasty can be from swelling , but  may also be caused from anatomical structures causing a blockage. This must be determined by your surgeon. Usually after 5 to 7 days patients are able to breath much better and the feeling of stuffiness, while not completely gone, is vastly improved.


Michel Siegel, MD

Michel Siegel, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Stuffy nose after rhinoplasty

Typically after rhinoplasty the inside of the nose will swell and the nose will remain congested or stuffy for six to eight weeks. We encourage the use of saline nasal spray, and a cold air humidifier to rest the nose and reduce the congestion. Stay away from nasal decongestant sprays, as these will open the airway, though cause a rebound effect which can cause dependence.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Nasal Obstruction after Rhinoplasty

The duration of nasal obstruction afer rhinoplasty depends on what was done during the operation. You will start to breathe easier within 10-14 days and it will continue to improve for 6-8 weeks.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

3+ Months

Assuming that your septum is straight and there are no other mechanical residual airway obstructions from the surgery, it may take up to three months or longer before your new airway is completely open.

Larry Jonas, MD
Paoli Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Post Operative Care After Rhinoplasty

It is quite normal to have a stuffy nose or feeling of congestion after rhinoplasty especially if you had internal nasal valve surgery or functional surgery. Even without this, it is not uncommon because of the post operative swelling. This can usually be relieved with normal decongestants. Many of my patients are not in the DFW area and so I have them take Afrin spray before they board their flight to keep their nasal passage open during take-off and landing.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Stuffy nose after rhinoplasty

Usually it takes about a month for the internal nasal swelling to improve.  Saline nasal spray may also help if crusting is contributing to the blockage.  Have your surgeon evaluate your nose internally if your symptoms are not improving after 4-6 weeks.  Donald R. Nunn MD Plastic Surgeon.


Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Stuffy nose after Rhinoplasty

After a Rhinoplasty, the mucosal tissues, of the nose can remain swollen for several months.  This should slowly resolve and it's not recommended that you use over the counter nasal sprays like Afrin as these can decrease the blood supply needed to heal the nose after the Rhinoplasty.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Re: Stuffiness Post-Op

Nasal stuffiness following rhinoplasty can last for many months. Because most of the work for rhinoplasty is done through the nostrils, it is natural for the tissues to swell and for breathing to be impaired. If swelling can last on the external surface of the nose for many months and up to a year, this can also happen on the inside. If the breathing impairment persists for longer than one year, other medical and surgical treatments may be necessary. 

Brett E. Stompro, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Various degrees of nasal congestion may occur during the first month after rhinoplasty surgery.

Postoperative nasal obstruction is present in most during the first week after rhinoplasty, and many get significant relief the day their dressing is removed, one week postoperative. Lingering congestion may be from both internal and external nasal swelling, and is typically transient.Hope this helps.Dr Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 421 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.