Swelling After Rhinoplasty

I had the surgery done two weeks ago and I am aware the swelling will last atleast a year. After the cast was taken off, I had tape on for a couple days. And I loved the way it looked. It could've been the tape contouring my nose but I still admired the shape everyday. It was slim, defined, and pretty. Now without the tape, it's really round and too big for my face. Without the swelling, will it really make a significant change? Will it ever look like before when I had the tape on?

Doctor Answers 10

Normal postoperative swelling

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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. This is normal and many patients experience this.

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.

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.

Taping Noses After Surgery

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The short answer to your question is yes, the swelling will go down and ultimately your nose should look very much like it did once the splint and tape were removed.  Noses have poor lymphatic drainage, and therefore swelling hangs around a long time in noses as opposed to other parts of the body. 


I give all my patients 1/2" paper tape and have them tape their noses at home at nights and on weekends.  Each surgeon has his or her own techniques for dealing with post-operative swelling, but in my practice, the 3-strip technique to decrease tip swelling and a few extra pieces on the bridge go a long way to decreasing short term post rhinoplasty swelling.  No matter what you do, it takes about 6 months to see the complete results, but taping the nose at home might be a useful tool to decrease short term swelling.  You trusted your plastic surgeon with your looks, and it looks to me like he or she did a great job, so trust their advice in this area. 

Swelling after Rhinoplasty

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The increased swelling you observed after your cast and tape were removed is temporary. Be patient and your nose will decrease in size and become more refined.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews


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The cast and then the tape that you had held in the swelling. Now that they are off the nose itself will swell to some degree. Be patient your nose will come back to a much more pleasing level.

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

Swelling after rhinoplasty

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These are normal concerns and post op progress. It's going to look like it did when the cast first came off and when it was taped. It's hard but you have to be patient. .it's going to change a lot in the next 6 weeks and then continue in a more slow and subtle fashion. Looks like you are going to have a great result!

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

Did the tape make my nose thin after Rhinoplasty

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 The nose was thin because th cast is hard and stopped the nasal tissues from swelling after the Rhinoplasty.  Once removed, the nasal tissue started to swell.  The tape has no inherent tensile strength (like the cast) and as such is incapable of stopping swelling.  I teach all of my Rhinoplasty patients how to perform daily manual lymphatic dtrainage to the nose starting at 1 month post Rhinoplasty which removes nasal swelling.  You should ask your Rhinoplasty surgeon for specific instructions.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Swelling After Rhinoplasty

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Swelling after rhinoplasty is normal.  The tape helps keep the skin of the nose from expanding from swelling, so after removal of the tape, increased swelling is expected.  You can discuss with your surgeon about replacing the tape for another week or so.  I often suggest to patients to keep the tape as long as they can.


good Luck.

Swelling after Rhinoplasty...

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Swelling after Rhinoplasty should be expected, and is normal.  While the cast and tape is on, the swelling may be more limited, and it can certainly increase temporarily when the cast comes off.  That should gradually decrease.  You will start noticing a change in the shape of your nose right after surgery, but it may take a few weeks for some of the swelling to subside.  After the surgery it could take several months to one year for all of the swelling to go down and to see the final result of the surgery.  Be sure to discuss your concerns with your surgeon.


Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 220 reviews

Swelling After Rhinoplasty

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Thanks for the great photos.  These show very clearly what effect tape has on the appearance of the nose after rhinoplasty.  As a rule, the taped appearance will more closely resemble the final appearance but it is possible to over-correct with the tape, rotating the nose higher or reducing the projection.  You are correct that it will take 6-12 months for all the swelling to completely resolve but you should have a good idea of how the nose will look in 1 month.  If there were extensive changes to the nose, it may take longer.

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon

Swelling is normal!

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I can't tell you how many times I have this same conversation with my patients following surgery. It is very normal and expected that your nose will swell following surgery. Each person varies and heals differently. Be patient, and the major swelling should be gone within a month or so. Over time, you will be able to see a more defined result.

Robert Ciardullo, MD
White Plains Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 174 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.