Nose Looks Big and Wide After Rhinoplasty

I had an open Rhinoplasty 5 weeks ago and I really don't like the way my nose looks. I had my nose made smaller, nostrils narrowed, made it come to a point and the bump removed. It looks some what okay in the mirror, but in photos, it just looks big and wide. Is this swelling? How can I determine what's swollen? One side is a little larger than the other and there's an indentation on the left side.

Doctor Answers 5

Too early to tell

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Since it has only been five weeks since your rhinoplasty, it is still too early to tell the full effect of the nose yet. There is still a significant amount of swelling in the five weeks after an open rhinoplasty, and it will take a considerable amount of time, approximately a year, before the swelling will resolve entirely. Your nose will look narrower and less wide both in the tip and the bridge as the swelling subsides, but the change will be rather subtle at this point on a month-to-month basis.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Rhinoplasty; Swelling or Not (5 Weeks Post-op)...That is the Question

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Hi Jack,

It is too soon to get too excited about how much of your result is still swelling and how much is your new nose. Be patient and allow nature to take it's course. Discuss your concerns with your rhinoplasty surgeon, and schedule frequent follow up appointments for your own piece of mind if you continue to have concerns.

If still are unhappy at 6 to 12 months, then it is time to get more excited, and consider revision surgery.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Most likley due to the swelling

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Five weeks is still early to see the final results of a rhinoplasty, and it is not uncommon for the swelling to persist for up to a year. I tell patients to expect about 80% of the swelling to resolve within the first 6 weeks, and the final 20% will take up to a year to settle.

My advice would be to be patient, but convey your concerns to your surgeon. What you're describing, however, sounds very normal.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

Be patient!

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Recovery from rhinoplasty is an exercise in patience! When performed via the open approach (an incision made in the skin between the nostrils), swelling in the tip may last 6-12 months. You can be sure the nose is swollen if it feels hard when you push down on the tip. Often when one side looks more swollen than the other, it is because you slept with that side down and the swelling shifted.

You should notice a steady improvement in your nasal appearance over time, however, the tip will be the last area to improve. It may take a full year to see the final definition of your tip.

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


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It takes 1-3 years for the swelling to fully go down after a rhinoplasty. The tip takes the longest time to heal and mold to the new framework because it is the thickest skin of the nose. The skin over the profile is thinner than the skin over the tip. The only true way to understand if it is swelling or not is to get a post op consultation with your board certified facial plastic surgeon. 

All the best, 

Deepak Dugar, MD
Scarless Rhinoplasty Expert
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Deepak Raj Dugar, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 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.