Rib cartilage graft recovery time for weightlifter?

Hello, I've been considering a rhinoplasty with rib cartilage graft, but I'm worried about the down time as I lift weights. How long do you think it'll take before I could start working out again? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 6

Rhinoplasty recovery: heavy lifting after a rib cartilage graft

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Rhinoplasty is a surgery to change the shape of your nose for breathing or appearance.

For some rhinoplasty patients, cartilage grafts that are long and strong may be harvested from the rib. I do not find that this adds to the recovery. I keep my chest incision to less than 1 inch and avoid cutting the pect muscles. This chest recovery period may also be because I am conservative regarding the nose itself. I ask all of my rhinoplasty patients to avoid strenuous activity for 6 weeks. After 2 weeks the risk of nosebleed decreases.  At 3-4 weeks light activity may be started. Once they reach 6 weeks, they can resume any activity including heavy lifting. Each patient is unique, so I recommend following your surgeon's instruction and keep your follow-up appointments, so you can stay on track for safe and happy outcome.

San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Rib grafting

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The good news for you is that we no longer need your own rib for complicated rhinoplasties. Instead, we use an organ donated rib graft that acts safely as your rib cartilage. This means no delay in recovery. Please see examples of patients below who have used donated rib graft.

Arian Mowlavi, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Rib graft recovery?

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In more than 35 years of rhinoplasty including revisions I have not had to use rib and therefore avoid the pain, scar and much added cost. You can get all the cartilage needed from the ear and septum..

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Exercise and rhinoplasty

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We minimize any cutting of muscle and use a small incision for rib grafts.  Athletes and weightlifters can resume light lifting with lots of reps and cardio in 3 days.  Heavy lifting can commence in 2 weeks.  You will be back to your pre-surgery form in 3 to 3.5 weeks after surgery.  Best wishes.

David Alessi, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Rib graft rhinoplasty

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In my practice I'd say no lifting weights for 6 weeks. And then starting small and building back up. However I'd add in, that rib graft rhinoplasty is a complex (usually secondary or tertiary) procedure with serious risks and pros and cons to be considered. For most people contemplating one, they're in pretty bad strife one way or another. If time out of the gym is even a significant concern for you (let alone a deal breaker), I'm not confident you're a good candidate for a rib graft rhinoplasty. 


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Thank you for posting your question. I recommend no exercise for the first two weeks as increased heart rate and blood pressure can cause nosebleed. You can resume light training two weeks after the procedure, and gradually work up to your original routine at week three. Best of luck.

Jan Zemplenyi, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 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.