5 weeks after rhino with rib graft, concerned about swelling?

I had surgery back in February for a deviated septum.  It was quite deviated, but in regards to allowing me to breath better, the surgery went well.  For unknown reasons, as a result of that surgery, the cartilage in my nose died, leaving me with a very obvious saddle nose.  5 weeks ago I had rhinoplasty to repair the defect.  The surgery went well but was very difficult according to my surgeon.  At this point I am happy with the results except for the thickness of my tip.  I know it can take up to a year for all the swelling to go down, but I would assume that by 5 weeks most of the swelling would be gone.  Is that a fair assumption?  I have no intentions of having surgery again (I wish I didn't have to do the last one), so I am pretty bummed that at this far out my nose (mostly the tip) still looks so big.Thanks!julie

Doctor Answers 9

Swelling after 5 weeks

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Hi Juliemon,

Unfortunately, there is no photo for assessment, nevertheless, you should be patient. The first 2 months of a nose surgery is the "ugliest period" with the swelling. Try to see in another 5 weeks and you will notice a big improvement. 
Before deciding on any revision, it is always best to wait for at least 6months after surgery to assess the result.

Thailand Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Tip swelling at 5 months post rhinoplasty

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TIp swelling will persist for quite some time especially if you had a previous rhinoplasty. Be patient.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Rhinoplasty 5 weeks post op

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Waiting for the swelling, specially post secondary rhinoplasty, is the hardest thing to do. It can take several months even to see a significant change.  Patience is all that you need right now.

Ernesto Hayn, MD
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon


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Juliemom26, it is way to early to worry about results. Give it at least a year. Do follow up with your surgeon as directed because judicious use of steroid shots can help at times. Good luck!

M. Sean Freeman, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Swelling after rib graft

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Dear Juliemom26,
There is always some swelling present five weeks after a rhinoplasty.  This is especially true after a rib graft.  It could take a year or longer for the tissues to settle.  You can expect gradual improvement.  Best of luck.

When will you see the results after a rhinoplasy

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Unfortunately, what you are going through is the hardest part of rhinoplasty surgery - the wait.  Usually, all of the swelling concentrates in the tip because that is where gravity is pulling it down. But hopefully, each day, week, month you get a better idea!

Swelling after rhinoplasty

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In general, the final result of rhinoplasty is not evident for 18-24 months after surgery. 70% of the swelling is resolved after the first 3 months and the remainder goes down over time. You will still have swelling after 5 weeks that can affect the appearance of your result. Swelling can be influenced by the following: whether the procedure was a revision, whether the procedure was open or closed, whether tip work was performed, and the thickness of the patient's skin. In regard to swelling, the tip is usually the last to come around. I would recommend waiting and see how you continue to heal. Your surgeon should be able to answer any questions in the meantime, as they know the details of your procedure. I hope this helps, and I wish you the best of luck.

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Be patient!

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Please keep in mind that it is commonly the case that there is even more swelling after a predictably more difficult revision procedure than the primary rhinoplasty.  It will likely take 3-6 months for swelling to subside, then the skin will contract over the structure which will take likely even longer than a year.  However, sometimes injecting steroid medication can hasten the process so speak to your surgeon about this option

John Frodel, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon

Expectations during rhinoplasty recovery

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As you mentioned, the swelling in your nose can take a year to resolve.  Especially in the tip of your nose, where the skin is thickest, it will take time for you to see your final outcome.  Without knowing the details of what work was done to your tip, it's difficult to say how much more refinement you can expect, but you can certainly expect more as the year progresses.  

Donald B. Yoo, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 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.