How Long Does Post Op Swelling Last?

I had an open rhinoplasty two weeks ago and had the cast off today. I have been told that the swelling isn't too bad compared to most people but the tip of my nose and nostrils are really swollen and bulbous which distorts my face a lot and frankly makes me look hideous. I was wondering how long the majority of swelling takes to go down, and if there is any way to speed up the process?

Doctor Answers 12

How Long does the swelling last after rhinoplasty?

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After rhinoplasty some swelling is normal as this is the way the bod naturally heals. Most of the swelling goes over the first 2-weeks however much more will go over the first 6-weeks, there can then be some fluctuation in swelling for a period of months, the final result is 12-months.
  • 1-week: When the cast is removed after one week, the nose will look swollen, particularly the tip of the nose and some swelling along the bridge of the nose.
  • 2-weeks: By the end of two weeks commonly 80% of the swelling has resolved, however there will still be swelling particularly in the tip of the nose and this will mask the fine detail at the nasal tip.
  • 6-weeks: Most of the swelling has gone down, there can be fluctuations in swelling on a day by day basis
  • 6-52 weeks: Gradual resolution of the swelling, that results in more definition being seen in the tip of the nose and nasal bridge.
There is a degree of swelling after rhinoplasty that is dependent on your ethnicity, genetics, environmental factors, and surgical factors including if the surgery included nasal tip surgery, nasal hump reduction and revision rhinoplasty.
There are surgical techniques that Dr. De Silva utilises to reduce swelling including the use of electrocautery, 3D telescopes and micro burrs. In addition there are measures that can be taken to reduce swelling after surgery including applying ice to the bridge of the nose for the 3-days, applying compression to the nasal bridge and tip after surgery.

Rhinoplasty swelling

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  You must be prepared to wait a year for the final result although you will see much more detail earlier than this.

  The nasal tip is the final part of the swelling to be defined.  In most cases, patients are able to get a good judgement of the upcoming results at 6 months or so and sometimes earlier.  Each patient is different in their absorption of swelling but the generalizations here are usually quite accurate.

                Steven M. Lynch, M.D.  Albany, New York

Time Required For Nasal Swelling To Resolve After Rhinoplasty

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Usually, about 2/3 of the swelling will subside by the 6 months post-op mark and the remaining will fade slowly to be almost non-existing at the 12 months post-op mark.

That being said, every patient is different and many variables come into play when dealing with recovery pace and the time required for the swelling to resolve.

Mainly, the type of the nasal skin and what was surgically performed during your surgery are important factors to be considered when dealing with the recovery process.

With that perspective, I believe that you are too early in the race with 2 weeks post-op.

So, I recommend that you be a little more patient and give mother nature the chance to take its course as you follow your surgeon's instructions religiously.

I hope this helps and thank you for your inquiry.

The best of wishes to you .

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 205 reviews

How Long?

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Throughout the next twelve months your nasal tissues will continue to heal and less swelling will become evident over time.  Best to you as you heal!

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

How Long Does Post Op Swelling Last?

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What you describe is very normal. You are only one week post op. The cast does apply compression to the nose and decreases swelling then when it is removed the swelling gets worse initially. You can expect swelling for one year, but you will see a majority of it resolve in about 2-3 months time. Things will settle down so much over the next year. If you give it time your results will be more apparent as swelling resolves.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Swelling after rhinoplasty

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Swelling after surgery depends on how much work was done, and whether the patient tends to bleed. This gives the starting point of the distortion. The blood need to be absorbed and the tissues need to heal. This increased activity in the tissues is similar to a "consrtuction" sites where various tradesmen (Here various cells) perform their duties. This increased activity causes the "swelling" along with the abnormal circulation in the surgical site that results from the cutting and coagulation of the blood vessels and the pressure on the remaining blood vessels from sutures swelling etc..

A long explanation but for the nose if you have an "open" rhinoplasty the swelling is more significant and lasts longer than a closed rhinoplasty. Maximal hardness and scarring under the skin is around 6 weeks and lasts 2 to 4 months, by then 70% of the swelling is gone and over a period of one year from the surgery the rest will go away. 

M. Vincent Makhlouf, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Rhinoplasty Swelling

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The majority of the healing following Rhinoplasty occurs in the first 8 weeks.  Of course, this is a gradual process.  The first week is generally the worst, and then day by day, you will notice improvement in the swelling and discomfort.  However, a small amount of healing (maybe 20%) occurs up to the 1 year mark.

The bottom line is that it does take a long time to heal following rhinoplasty.  Be patient and things will get better!

Andrew Winkler, MD
Lone Tree Facial Plastic Surgeon

Post Op Swelling

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Post operative swelling often times last 3-6 months and is not completely gone until after a year from the date of surgery. The process can be sped up if you take pre-operative anika Forte which reduces swelling.

Swelling of nose after rhinoplasty

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The swelling in the tip of the nose especially when done open can last a year and sometimes longer. I would say the majority of swelling usually goes away at 4 months or so.

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

How long does swelling last

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Your description sounds very normal for an open rhinoplasty. A lot of the swelling will be gone in a month but as others have commented it will take a long time (6-12 months) to see your final result. Be patient. Your nose is a work in progress. Don't study it every day, you will only increase your anxiety..

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 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.