How Can You Tell Post-op What Your Nose Looks Like if Its Swollen?

After the cast comes off, how would u know if your happy with the shape? Would it be too swollen to tell what it looks like yet? Does it change shape a year after surgery?

Doctor Answers 8

Early results after rhinoplasty surgery

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Recovery after rhinoplasty will vary based on the person, characteristics of the nasal tissues and what was done during surgery.

Typically both splints and sutures are removed around 7-10 days after surgery. At this visit, the nose will still be swollen but many changes in shape are still obvious. Even with the swelling, you should be able to see the overall shape and structure. In addition to the nose, there may still be some eyelid swelling and bruising.

In my experience, around the 2 week mark, it is very difficult for someone else to tell that you had surgery, although the nose is still swollen and it will be obvious to you. 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 may require longer to settle. Also there appears to be a linear decrease in swelling for the first several months followed by a period where the swelling fluctuates (sometimes little or no swelling and other times more swelling) before the nose settles. Again, after 4-6 weeks, although you will continue to notice changes in your nose, they are subtle and imperceptible to most other people.

Although there is swelling, you should be able to see the overall shape right away

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Although there is swelling when the cast comes off, particularly in the tip, you should be able to look past the swelling and be able to see the overall shape right away.  In a large nose with thicker skin, the tip can still look too large after surgery.  In the upper half of the nose, the swelling is much less pronounced and the overall profile should be close enough to the final result to have a good idea of the shape. Swelling in the tip continues to decrease for at least 1 year, but the overall shape does not change much.

Rhinoplasty and Shape after Splint Comes Off

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  In general, the final shape of the nose may not be obtained until a year or more after surgery.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Nasal Appearance after Cast Removal

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I have done rhinoplasty surgery for over 35 years but in most cases I would not be able to determine the final shape of your nose if I first saw you when the cast was removed.  Unfortunately, patience is necessary.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Rhinoplasty swelling may take months to resolve

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Depending on the surgical approach and the type of skin the patient has, it may take up to a year or so to see the final results of rhinoplasty surgery. After the cast comes off, the patient can generally have an idea of how it will look, but healing must occur and swelling subside before the final result is visible.

Theda C. Kontis, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Post-op rhinoplasty swelling

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 Visible swelling and bruising lasts approximately 2 weeks after the surgery.  The bridge of the nose  heals much faster than the tip. Depending upon the amount of tip work necessary and the skin type,  it usually takes a few months start to see how the tip is coming together once the swelling subsides.Please feel free to read  the patient's guide to a rhinoplasty on our website

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Rhinoplasty Recovery and swelling

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Most patients are happy when there splint is removed and can see an approximation of what there nose will look like at that time. It is common for the nose to swell slightly after the splint is removed and this typically reduces drastically in the first few weeks with the majority completely dissipated in three months. There is a slight percentage of residual swelling that may take an entire year to fully resolve however this is typically minimal in most patients. Best regards, Michael V. Elam, M.D.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 reviews

Rhinoplasty and shape

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Usually the majority of the swelling comes down within a few weeks, but it can take up to a year for all the swelling to disappear.

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