Nose Swelled Up After Splint Removal - Normal?

Hello, I am today three weeks after Rhinoplasty, and I feel that when my splint was removed I had the nose of my dreams, well, the day after. The first day I was more swollen than ever. The next day my nose was PERFECT. Tiny, extremely symmetrical, all around a beautiful nose. Two weeks later, I fee like my nose looks puffy, swollen, bigger, and lacks the definition it had before. Is it normal for the nose to swell up after the splint removal? Do the nostrils reopen and get wider? Will it return

Doctor Answers 6

Nose swelling after splint removal

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You are experiencing the normal process of healing after a rhinoplasty.  It is entirely normal to have swelling occur after the splint is removed.  There is nothing you can do to make it go away faster.  In fact, the tip of the nose will take about a year for all of the swelling to go away.  Be 6-8 weeks after your surgery you should be able to get a good idea of what it will look like.  When you first saw it after the splint was removed is also a good indication of what it will look like.  Patience can be difficult but is part of recovery.  I'm sure you will be happy.  I would certainly encourage you to express your concerns to your plastic surgeon. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Nose does swell after cast is removed

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 Yes, the cast (splint) controls swelling and stabilizes the nasal bones after fracture and other surgical manipulation of the nose during a Rhinoplasty.  Once the cast is removed, typically at 1 week, there's nothing to stop the nose from swelling.  I tell all of my Rhinoplasty patients that the following 3 weeks after cast removal is the most difficult and frustrating time after a Rhinoplasty.  I advise them to limit physical activity to prevent more swelling and to apply ice to their nose often.  At 1 month post Rhinoplasty I see them back and instruct them in proper nasal massage that empowers them to remove the daily nasal swelling that occurs for the following 6-9 months after every Rhinoplasty.

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

Swelling after cast removal

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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.

At 3 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. 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. It's hard but important to stay patient during your recovery and to be diligent attending your follow-up appointments with your surgeon.

Nose Swelling After Splint Removal

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Some degree of swelling after the splint is removed is normal, that's why I tape noses for three weeks after I remove the splint. Most likely you will look great when the post op swelling gradually subsides.

Swelling after Rhinoplasty Splint Removal

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It is extremely common to see increased swelling after your splint/cast is removed after nose surgery. While it is on your nose, the cast acts like compression shorts or spandex and helps reduce the smount of swelling. When it is taken off, the body can now expand without any resistance. There is a lot of healing which takes place under the skin after rhinoplasty and this causes swelling over the nose, especially over the tip where the skin is thicker. This will continue to improve with time, but can take 6 months to a year to vanish. Avoiding a lot of exertion or exercise and eating a low salt diet will help the swelling go away more quickly. It is also helpful to sleep with your head on one or two extra pillows.

Gregory J. Vipond, MD, FRCSC
Inland Empire Facial Plastic Surgeon

Swelling is normal after rhinoplasty

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Thanks for your question Elle,

It is normal for swelling of the nose to occur after removal of the splint.  Most of this goes away within a few months, but some may persist for up to a year.  Fortunately, if you were happy with the nose you saw immediately after your splint was removed, that should be what you see when the swelling resolves.

If you have any other concerns please follow up with your surgeon.

All the best,

Jason C. Lichtenberger, MD

Jason Lichtenberger, MD
Bellingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 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.