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 9

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 146 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 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 38 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 40 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Ask your surgeon, they can make a recommendation...

It’s not unusual for patients to have nasal congestion following rhinoplasty surgery.This congestion occurs for a variety of reasons including dried blood, scabbing and swelling.In the vast majority of patients nasal breathing improves in 3 to 4 weeks following surgery.In rare cases, it may take as long as 3 to 4 months to occur.
In some cases, nasal irrigations with saline and the use of decongestants may improve nasal congestion.When congestion fails to improve, further investigation is usually necessary.In rare cases, structural abnormalities such as internal nasal scarring and internal nasal valve collapse may be present.
If you continue to have difficulty breathing through your nose, consultation with your plastic surgeon is appropriate.Your surgeon should be able to make an appropriate recommendation to help resolve this issue.

Gradually Gets Better Over the Weeks Following Surgery

Swelling can make breathing difficult or impossible, but this usually resolves as swelling subsides. This can take a couple of months.

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.