When Did Swelling Go Down After Your Rhinoplasty Surgery?

I had a rhinoplasty 2 weeks ago. when the splint came of it looked lovely and thin but went alot wider in just two days. I also still have a bit of a hump on the bridge. is this just swelling and will it go down? I don't know if bones swell and if the hump will go? Please help! My nose hardly looks any different at the moment and i am really dissapointed. Will it continue to improve?

Doctor Answers 46

Healing after Rhinoplasty goes in stages

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2 weeks after Rhinoplasty is still the infancy of healing. So, try to be optimistic and patient at this stage of the game.

Several things should be remembered while you are awaiting your long term (and enduring) result.

The cast and tape is placed to reduce rhinoplasty swelling over the first week. It does this by holding the tissues down tightly to the underlying cartilage and bone. As such, there is often a little swelling that comes out after it is removed.

Besides the cast issue, most rhinoplasty is reductive in nature, meaning that the height of the nose is reduced. When looking from the front, this can often give the impression of widening or a persistent bump in the early post operative period. Here's why:

  • The perception of nasal width from frontal view has to do with the interplay of shadow, highlight, and shadow as one moves across the nose.
  • The places where bone is broken in many reductive rhinoplasties is the side of the nasal bones below the eyes and the central portion of the nose where a hump is removed.
  • Bones heal by initially forming what is called a callus, which stabilizes the 2 adjacent segments across a break. This callus is thicker than the final bone that will be there after healing is complete.
  • Callus gets replaced by normal bone over the first few months after surgery.
  • Therefore, it will take more time for shadows to reappear along the side of the nose than for other swelling to go down. This diminishes the contrast between the top of the nose and the shadow, creating the perception of widening. This will improve over time.
  • The area where your bump was is also healing in the same manner, so be patient. It will flatten with time.

Finally, depending on your skin thickness, the nasal tip may take longer for the skin to redrape and assume a narrower configuration.

Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Rhinoplasty Recovery: Swelling Subsides Gradually

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Bruising and swelling are a normal part of rhinoplasty recovery. They are dependent on several factors related to both the surgical technique and the patient. Techniques that increase bruising and swelling include whether or not the nasal bones were broken (osteotomies), the extent of soft tissue dissection/elevation from the bony-cartilaginous framework, and whether the surgery was performed open or closed.

Swelling after rhinoplasty resolves at variable rates. For the initial two weeks, the nose is markedly swollen and noticable to anyone. After the second week, the swelling usually subsides such that it is not obvious to the casual observer that anything has been done to the nose; however, the nose will look "puffy" to the patient for several months. Usually by 4 months, the vast majority of the swelling will dissipate, but it may take a full year (or longer in some cases) for all of the swelling to resolve.

When surgeons rasp (file down) a hump on the bridge of the nose, it will typically remain swollen for several weeks afterward. Your surgeon should be able to tell you whether or not the amount of swelling is normal.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Swelling after rhinoplasty

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Swelling after rhinoplasty is usually moderate to severe for the first two weeks.  During this time, you will look like you had something done to your nose.  When the splint initially comes off, it was holding the swelling down and the nose will have conformed to the shape that the splint was molded.  This shape can be deceiving as it is not necessarily the final shape your nose will take, but can give you a very rough idea.  Later in the day or week, the nose will swell back up since the splint is no longer compressing the soft tissues.  Usually by around 2 weeks, the swelling has diminished enough that other people you see in public aren't going to immediately notice your nose or stare.  I call this being "restaurant ready" because the people at the table next to you won't be looking at you.  Don't interpret this as not having any swelling.  You will have a fair amount of swelling, but it shouldn't be obvious to someone who doesn't know you.  The residual swelling takes several months to gradually wane.  You may experience faster resolution in some parts of the nose than others, so asymmetry is difficult to judge initially.  Keep in communication with your surgeon.  Sometimes, exuberant inflammation or swelling requires intervention in the form of taping the soft tissues or steroid injection.

Sirius K. Yoo, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Swelling timetable post rhinoplasty

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Hi there. Two weeks is still very early on in the recovery process so hang in in there - it should get much better. The splint helps reduce the swelling and I tend to warn my patients that the swelling often gets worse initially after splint removal before getting better. There is also some 'skin memory' so minor residual bumps are also common in the first couple of weeks. But by two weeks, most of the facial bruising and swelling should have subsided such that you can be at a conversational distance without the recent signs of surgery being obvious. The swelling of the nose itself resolves slowly over the period of several months so that it may be up to a year before the final result is apparent. Good luck!

Give it time

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Hello.  Please be patient.  The nose takes a full year to heal and often looks wide on front view.  A few millimeters of swelling will make your nose look much wider than it really is.  At 2 weeks, you are literally only 5% healed.  Improvement is gradual but well worth the wait. 

Good luck.

Aaron M Kosins, MD
Newport Beach Plastic & Rhinoplasty Surgeon

Aaron Kosins, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon

Recovery and swelling following rhinoplasty

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Immediately after the splint or cast is removed, it is common for the nose to look more defined. After the compression has been removed, the skin and soft tissues can swell and this can take weeks to months to significantly improve. After rhinoplasty, tip shape is typically the last thing to settle before seeing the final result; this can take 12 months or longer. During this time you will notice that the size of your tip decreases as swelling resolves and subtle details and tip definition appear. Additionally, you may notice that your tip derotates and deprojects.

At 2 weeks following rhinoplasty, you are still very early in your recovery. Recovery after rhinoplasty will vary based on the person, characteristics of the nasal tissues and what was done during surgery. 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 will require longer to settle. After a dorsal hump has been removed, there can also be slight fullness at the keystone area (transition between nasal bones above and upper lateral cartilages below) due to swelling and inflammation. This usually settles but can be helped by digital massage of the area to help breakdown scar tissue and encourage edema to resolve-you should ask your surgeon if this is something that you should do.

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. It's hard but important to stay patient during your recovery and to be diligent attending your follow-up appointments with your surgeon.

Swelling after Rhinoplasty

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The saying "patience is a virtue" could not be more true then in this instance. Two weeks is extremely premature to determine any post operative rhinoplasty result. It is very common to have swelling after the splint comes off however, the aesthetic appearance of the nose immediately following splint removal is more indicative of your final result. The swelling will dissipate with time and continue to improve daily. I hope this gives you some peace of mind and rest assured time heals most wounds!

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

Swelling after rhinoplasty

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Thanks for your question.  Swelling from a rhinoplasty takes 12-18 months to completely dissipate; however, once the splint is removed, the swelling can worsen as the nose now has room to swell.  By 21 days you will starting seeing the nose that you want, but keep in mind, the tip and even the bridge may still be swollen making it look to large or even look like you still have a hump. This is very common.  

Be patient, let the swelling subside, and let your body heal.  Hope that helps. 

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Swelling, Healing and Recovery After Rhinoplasty Nose Surgery

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Swelling after rhinoplasty surgery can be quite severe. The initial splint which is usually left in place for one week can control this to some extent, but it is often the case that after the splint is removed there can be some additional swelling in the area. Also, the swelling will continue to go up and down for several months after surgery. The swelling will increase when the temperature is hot, when you get upset or angry, or if you are physically active.

Two weeks following surgery is still very early, and at least 50% of the swelling is still there. By approximately one month after surgery about 75% of the swelling will have resolved. The remaining 25% of the swelling will not be very noticeable, and will slowly resolve from that point up until about 9 months following surgery.

Cory Goldberg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Patience is key with swelling after rhinoplasty

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Patience is a virtue. Swelling over the bones is usually gone in 6 weeks.  Swelling over the tip and the area just above the tip (supratip and midvault) can take 12-18 months to clear.  Depending on the thickness of your skin and the amount of surgery done to your nose, swelling can actually get worse once the splint comes off.   Please consult with your surgeon if you have any other questions.

Stuart H. Bentkover, MD
Boston Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.