Different Timeline to Return to a Physically Active Job After Rhinoplasty?

I've read that you can usually return to work a week after rhinoplasty. I'm planning to take 2 weeks off, but I'm still worried. I work in a kitchen and it's very physical (and fast-paced!), lifting, bending, loading ovens, etc. I also decorate cakes and must work with my head bent over a lot. I had sinus surgery in 2003 and after 2 weeks still had to pace myself to avoid a pounding headache. How different will this recovery be? Much worse? I will probably have an open rhinoplasty, with a hump removed and maybe some tip work done.

Doctor Answers 10

Time off work for rhinoplasty

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Usually patients who have an osteotomy (as you are probably going to have) require about 10 days to 2 weeks to return to work.

If the work involves very heavy lifting, more time may be required, up to four to six weeks.  Otherwise, swelling may occur that could become permanent.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 188 reviews

Downtime after Rhinoplasty

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Rhinoplasty recovery varies from patient to patient. Two weeks off work should be adequate for most jobs, including working in a kitchen. I tell my patients after rhinoplasty to refrain from aerobics for 10 days, high impact aerobics for 3 weeks , and contact sports for 6 weeks. Two weeks following rhinoplasty you should be able to participate in any most activities without pain or damaging your result. Since many surgeons use different guidelines for their patients post-op restrictions,  you should check with your surgeon for specifics.

When to return to physically active job after rhinoplasty

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It is acceptable to go back to work one week following a rhinoplasty surgery.  However, you are not by any means well healed.  It is important not to be doing all of that type of heavy fast paced lifting and exercise, and so it might be best to take an additional week off from your workplace.  Sinus surgery is usually much more extensive because of the bone work involved and tends to be more painful and uncomfortable than a rhinoplasty.  There is usually more pressure sensation after the sinus surgery as well.  There is more swelling with an open rhinoplasty than with closed rhinoplasty, but in any event full healing will take a year for all of the swelling to subside after the rhinoplasty surgery.

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Getting back to work after a rhinoplasty

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Your ability to return back to work after rhinoplasty depends on several factors. Normally I tell my patients to avoid physical exertion for approximately one week following rhinoplasty. I normally have my patients in a nasal splint with a small amount of nasal packing for 5 to 7 days following a rhinoplasty. During this time period, patients can return to normal activities with respected daily life activities, but I do not want them trying to physically exert themselves. What I mean by this is that, patients should not try to work out lift heavy objects greater than 5 pounds or try to physically exert themselves with respect to raising their blood pressure and heart rate.  

Following removal of the splint in 5 to 7 days following surgery, patients can return to moderate activity without restrictions I tell patients to hold off on working out for approximately 2 weeks following surgery this precaution is not  because doing so will result in a sub optimal result, but primarily to minimize bruising and swelling.   Returning back to work following rhinoplasty is completely dependent on the patient's pain threshold as well as the type of work that the patient does. Most of my patients do not take  pain pills after 2 to 3 days following surgery. If the patients are off pain medications, they can return to driving and return to work. Returning back to work is dependent on how the patient feels with respect to his or her self-esteem.

If the patient is comfortable with going to work with a few bruises and a nasal splint, this poses no problem.   Some of my patients however are involved in jobs.involve a great degree of face time. These patients cannot afford to be bruised or swollen at work.   Such patients normally take 10 to 12 days off work prior to returning back to work.

Returning to activity after rhinoplasty

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You should limit your heavy activity to at least two-three weeks for bleeding could occur earlier and you could end up back in the operating room. If you are spending a good amount of money, take the time to recover.

Recovery after Rhinoplasty

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Swelling and bruising usually improves enough after 7-10 days to be out in pubic without giving away your secret. I restrict strenuous physical activities for 2-3 weeks. In your particular situation, it would be best to curtail the heavy lifting for an additional couple weeks if possible. Avoid facial trauma for at least 6 weeks.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Don't trip at the finish line!

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After investing time, money, and suffering into rhinoplasty, you want to make sure you don't compromise the final result.

As a rule, I tell my patients to avoid activities that raise blood pressure to the head for two weeks after surgery (straining, lifting, bearing down, hanging the head below the heart, etc.) They should avoid anything where the nose could get bumped for six weeks. I remind them, too, that the nose will get easily red and flushed for many weeks to months afterward if the patient is exerting himself/herself. That's generally a harmless nuisance, though.

Patients need to give themselves time to heal and to listen to what their bodies are telling them.

All the best,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon

Most return to work within two weeks after rhinoplasty

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Recovery after nasal shaping can vary as to tenderness and bruising, however most patients will return to work by two weeks after. Swelling is down and the nose will appear quite good after just one week, thought the nose may be stiff and sensitive for weeks to come. We allow full exercise after four weeks, so it is probably a good bet that after the two weeks you can return to a fairly strenuous job. Problems occur with any contact or bump to the nose, or with sun exposure. Keep in mind that your airway may be congested up to six weeks or so. We don't seem to have complaints of headache.

Best of luck,


Physically active job after rhinoplasty

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I recommend any where from 3 weeks to 3 months depending upon your recovery and healing of the rhinoplasty. Take your time. You do not want to re injury the nose.


Recovery from nose job (rhinoplasty) typically easier and better than sinus surgery.

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Any activity that forces you to strain can cause increased swelling or congestion in the nose for many weeks and even months after surgery. Typically this is worse with sinus surgery in which minor amounts of swelling can impair sinus drainage and aggravate a pre-existing condition of sinusitis. The rhinoplasty you describe should have minimal involvement of the sinuses and the recovery should be less complicated.

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.