Swelling After Rhinoplasty; Does it Really Take Up to a Year For Full Recovery?

Hi all, I've seen lots of comments saying that nasal swelling takes up to a year to subside after rhinoplasty surgery. That is really discouraging me from the whole idea. Is the nose generally noticeably swollen for up to a year? I'm hoping to take about a week (or possibly two) off from work and then go back without anybody knowing that I had rhinoplasty performed? Is that realistic?

Doctor Answers 9

Swelling After Rhinoplasty; Does it Really Take Up to a Year For Full Recovery?


Most "immediate swelling" is resolved in the first 2 weeks. Unless you are having a revision rhinoplasty or a complex ethnic rhinoplasty involving the tip. In other words, at 7 to 10 days you should see results and be able to go back to work. There is residual swelling that can take 6 to 12 months to resolve but not noticable to the general public.



New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 272 reviews

Recovery after Rhinoplasty

You are very realistic. 10-14 days after surgery friends, family members, and colleagues will not know that the patient had recent surgery. Subtle refinements continue for at least a year. There are exceptions such as patients with thick skin or those who need difficult revisions with multiple grafts but a prolonged recovery is predictable and discussed with the patient before surgery. Don't worry, people are not as observant as you think. 

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Swelling After Rhinoplasty; Does it Really Take Up to a Year For Full Recovery?

 Yes, Rhinoplasty may...the key word is may, take a year to fully heal.  It may also heal in 6 months.  The difference is how your nasal tissues handle the trauma of the Rhinoplasty, how involved the Rhinoplasty was, how well you follow the post Rhinoplasty restrictions preventing additional swelling and how thick and oily the skin is.  In person consultations with experienced Rhinoplasty Surgeons should give you a better idea where you'll fall in this healing timeline. 

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Swelling after rhinoplasty

Although swelling does take months if not a year to fully resolve, in most situations the healing nose looks better than the original nose in a matter of just 1-2 weeks

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Rhinoplasty and post-op swelling

The majority of swelling will come down int he first 6-8 weeks, and by the 4th month or so in most patients the nose will look better, but the nose will still be firm and mildly swollen for up to a year and sometimes longer.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Duration of swelling after rhinoplasty

As with most procedures, swelling after rhinoplasty varies considerably between patients.  I tell all of my rhinoplasty patients that there may be some subtle areas of swelling visible for 12 months.  The majority of the swelling will resolve in the first 6 to 12 weeks.  It is important to realize we are not talking about extentive, feature-distorting swelling here, rather a noticable but acceptable post-operative edema.  My patients manage this period quite well, with almost all returning to work by 2 weeks.

Mark Beaty, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Rhinoplasty swelling and recovery

After rhinoplasty or septorhinoplasty you have swelling that lasts for up to a year for final result. However the majority of the swelling is gone in the first three months approximately 70% and the last 30% takes sometimes up to an entire year. With this said, you will look great after your rhinoplasty immediately and will see the majority if your result. It is just some final swelling that dissipates slowly. Your nose will not be bigger or more swollen then prior to your surgery. I do three or more rhinoplasty surgeries per week and most of my patients return to their work or school activities with their co-workers or friends 7 to 10 days post surgery none the wiser. The perfect nose is one that looks harmonius to your facial features and has an aesthetic result of looking like you were born with that nose. Most people will think you lost weight, went to a spa, they will know you look better however they can't pinpoint why! Best regards!

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Swelling and Time Off Post Rhinoplasty

Each physician have different guidelines regarding post operative care. Typically, light activity can resume 5 to 7 to 10 days post surgery.  Residual swelling that can take 6 to 12 months to resolve but not noticable to the general public. Consult with your surgeon regarding your case as he or she will know the scope of surgery and the specifics about you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Swelling after rhinoplasty

The swelling following a rhinoplasty will be 70% resolved after the first three months. The remainder of the swelling will go down over time, and the final result will not be evident for 18-24 months following surgery.  You will be noticeably swollen for around the first month. However, your nose will still show a great improvement from where it was prior to surgery. The residual swelling that slowly decreases is usually only noticeable by the patient.  Whether or not the rhinoplasty is open or closed will influence the degree of swelling. This is especially the case with an open rhinoplasty where tip work is performed.  Depending on what your job involves, it is best to take it easy for around two weeks if possible.  Thank you, and best of luck.

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 47 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.