After rhinoplasty, you’ll naturally be eager to see your results as soon as possible. But recovery from a nose job takes time and it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to rest and heal.
Knowing what to expect after rhinoplasty can help the recovery process go more smoothly. Being prepared can also help promote the best possible results. The rhinoplasty experts at Glasgold Group in Princeton, NJ, have put together this timeline for the rhinoplasty recovery process to help you prepare.
How Long Does Recovery Take After Rhinoplasty?
How long rhinoplasty recovery takes depends on multiple factors. There’s the initial recovery period, during which you’ll want to stay home to rest and skip most of your regular activities. Then, there’s the secondary recovery period when you can resume certain activities but should still take it relatively easy.
The initial recovery period often takes about one or two weeks. You’ll probably want to stay home as much as possible during this time. You’ll have noticeable bruising and swelling and you might not feel up to seeing anyone.
After the first week or two, you’ll start to see an improvement in your nose’s appearance. You’ll also most likely feel well enough to resume certain activities, such as going to work or school. Your surgeon will still advise you to avoid some activities, such as swimming and strenuous workouts, for another few weeks.
How long it will take to see the final results from your surgery can also vary. While bruising and severe swelling tend to fade after a few weeks, minor swelling can persist for months. Some people don’t see the full, final results from rhinoplasty until 6 to 12 months after surgery.
Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline and What to Expect
The Day of Surgery
Rhinoplasty surgery typically takes around four hours and most patients return home that same day. How long you’ll need to remain in the recovery room after rhinoplasty varies based on whether or not you’ve had IV sedation or general anesthesia. General anesthesia typically requires a longer stay in the recovery room, as you need to wake up from the anesthetic.
You’ll need to have a friend or relative take you home from the office, surgical center, or hospital after your surgery. Ideally, that person won’t just drive you home but will also stay with you overnight.
Dr. Glasgold will put a splint on your nose and tape it to hold it in place. He’ll also place gauze under your nostrils and will give you instructions on how to change the gauze.
First Day After Surgery
The day after your surgery, it’s important to rest as much as possible. Relax in a recliner and catch up on shows and movies or read.
You might find that you need to change the gauze frequently during the first day after surgery and the following day. After that, drainage should subside significantly and you can remove the gauze or change it less often.
You may start to notice swelling and bruising under your eyes the day after surgery. Using an ice pack will help to reduce swelling.
Some people experience minor discomfort after rhinoplasty. Your surgeon can prescribe pain relievers to help manage this. It’s important to avoid certain over-the-counter pain meds, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
During the First Week
Stay home as much as possible during the first week after your rhinoplasty. Dr. Glasgold typically sees patients six to seven days following their surgery, so expect to have a follow-up visit about a week after your rhinoplasty.
During your first follow-up visit, the surgeon will remove the splint and examine your nose to make sure it’s healing well. By this point, you might still have some swelling but bruising should be considerably diminished.
Once the splint is off, you can start to shower again. You can also begin to wear makeup again if you wish.
During the Second Week
You’ll start to feel more and more like your old self again during the second week following rhinoplasty. Many patients find themselves ready to return to work or school around the 10-day mark.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel ready to go back to your routine yet. Some people need more time, particularly if they work in a physically demanding job.
Speaking of physical demands, you’ll still want to take it pretty easy during the second week after your surgery. While you might feel up for taking a short walk around your neighborhood, now’s not the time to go back to the gym or try swimming.
When you do go outside, make sure to use sunscreen. Protecting your nose from sun exposure is critical for the healing process.
After One Month
One month after rhinoplasty, your life might be more or less back to normal. Many patients get the all-clear from their surgeon to resume physical activities, including exercise and sex, at this point.
Don’t start up your workout routine again until you’ve gotten approval from Dr. Glasgold. Resuming exercise too early in the recovery process can negatively affect your results. Some types of exercise can increase the risk of injury to your nose and may need to be avoided for more than a month.
Although you might worry about losing momentum or falling out of your exercise routine, it’s better to wait than to risk damaging your surgical results.
After Six Months
Many people see the full results from rhinoplasty within six months of the surgery. By the six-month mark, your life should be fully back to normal. Swelling and bruising might be entirely gone, and any that remains should be barely noticeable.
If you don’t see the full, final results by six months after surgery, rest assured that it can take up to a year for the swelling to disappear. At that point, if you aren’t happy with the way your nose looks, you can start to discuss the possibility of a revision procedure with your surgeon.
Daily Activity After Rhinoplasty
Immediately after rhinoplasty, your daily activity will be limited. We recommend that patients do as much as they can to prepare for the recovery period before their surgery to help things go smoothly.
For example, it’s a good idea to go grocery shopping a few days before surgery to make sure your fridge and pantry are stocked. You might want to prep a few meals in advance so that all you’ll need to do is heat and eat.
It’s also a good idea to tackle any necessary household tasks, such as paying your bills, before your surgery. You might have the time to complete those tasks while you recover but you also might not feel up to it.
When Can I Return to Work After Rhinoplasty?
Many people with desk jobs find that 10 days is the magic number for returning to work after rhinoplasty. But you might find that you’re ready to go back to the office just seven days after surgery. Alternatively, you might want to wait a full two weeks before your return to work.
There are some signs to look out for that can give you an idea of whether it’s time to return to work or not. One is bruising. If you have noticeable bruising under the eyes, you may want to postpone your return.
Another is how you feel overall. Don’t feel pressured to return to work until you’re ready to give your full attention and energy to your tasks.
It can be a good idea to do as much as you can to complete work projects before you take time off for your surgery. Also, make sure you have someone who can cover your accounts and responsibilities while you’re recuperating.
How Soon Can I Go Back to School After Rhinoplasty?
If you’re still in school, you’ll probably also need 10 days off to recover. However, you might need more or less time off from school, depending on how your recovery progresses.
Since 10 days can be a lot of class time to miss, you might consider scheduling rhinoplasty for a time when you’ll have a few days off. Winter or spring break can be ideal, as can summer vacation.
When Can I Work Out After Rhinoplasty?
One of the last activities you can resume after rhinoplasty is strenuous exercise. While your surgeon will likely clear you to engage in light activities after a few days, such as walking or gentle stretches, you’ll want to wait at least four weeks before you return to the gym.
Some types of exercise, such as swimming or team sports, require special care and consideration. If you play a sport that involves balls flying through the air, you might want to wait six weeks before resuming your practice schedule.
It’s also a good idea to wait about six weeks before you hop in the pool and swim a few laps.
How Much Pain Can I Expect During the First Week?
You might experience some discomfort during the first week after rhinoplasty. Most patients find that the pain or discomfort isn’t enough to cause them much distress.
For many people, an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol, helps to minimize discomfort during the first week. If Tylenol isn’t sufficient, Dr. Glasgold can prescribe pain medications. It’s important to avoid NSAID pain medicines such as ibuprofen or aspirin after surgery.
Your activities after rhinoplasty will also affect your comfort levels. Resting and following your surgeon’s instructions will help make your recovery as comfortable as possible.
How to Prevent Scar Tissue
The incisions made during a closed rhinoplasty are located entirely inside the nostrils, meaning any scars are well concealed.
Open rhinoplasty does require an incision across the columella, or the skin between the nostrils. However, the size and location of the incision means that any scarring will be minimal and nearly invisible.
If you’re concerned about scarring, following your surgeon’s instructions, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking will all help keep it to a minimum.
How to Reduce Swelling After Rhinoplasty
Swelling is part of the healing process after rhinoplasty. Keeping the head elevated, avoiding smoking, and minimizing sun exposure are all things you can do to minimize swelling.
You might also find that using cold compresses or ice packs helps to bring swelling down. Ask your surgeon for more details on how often to use an ice pack and for how long.
Tips for a Quick Rhinoplasty Recovery
Make Health a Priority
A smooth recovery begins before you even step into the operating room with proper nutrition and exercise. Your personal health will be a factor in determining your eligibility for rhinoplasty, and for good reason. When patients live healthy lifestyles and take care of themselves, they’ll see a lower risk of complications and a faster recovery time. To guarantee that you’re in your best health, you should have a healthy BMI, not smoke, and follow your doctor’s orders for blood work and other tests that will decide your overall health.
Prepare for Surgery
Your ability to relax and heal with as little stress or outside pressure as possible will contribute to a quicker recovery. Before your surgery, take care of things such as paying bills, having enough groceries to get you through the first few days after surgery and catching up on work or school projects.Minimizing stressors in your life allows you to focus on what’s important: healing and recovering.
What Medications to Avoid
Make sure you informyour surgeon about every medication, including over the counter and supplements that you are currently taking, your surgeons will review with you which ones you can continue and which ones should be stopped for a specified period of time. You will receive a list of medications to stop taking prior to surgery.
You might be surprised how many of your friends and relatives are willing to help out when you ask them. By relying on this support network, you can start reducing your stress levels, keep a more positive outlook, and prep yourself for quick healing all at the same time. Ask for help with tasks you can’t manage during your recovery, like grocery shopping or watching the kids, or just ask for company at home. Supportive people can keep your mood up, encourage you to keep resting when needed, and take some of the pressure off of you while you heal. However; keep your visiting groups small and your visiting times short to make sure you get plenty of rest in between.
Skip a Few Workouts
While it’s important to maintain a regular exercise routine in the days and weeks leading up to your surgery, the recovery period is about resting instead. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable—and encouraged—to skip your workouts for a week or longer, depending on your surgeon’s orders. Anything rigorous or strenuous will definitely be prohibited during this time, since increased blood flow and movement can harm your nose. Don’t risk injury and nasal damage during the healing process, or you might end up booking a revision rhinoplasty to reverse what you’ve done. Follow your doctor’s orders carefully if you’re itching to get back to your marathon training; once you’re healed, it will be worth it. Long walks and low-impact exercises are usually acceptable forms of physical activity you can participate inuntil you’re cleared to resume your other activities.
Keep Looking Up
Keeping your head elevated can reduce swelling and redness by encouraging blood to flow away from your nose, letting everything heal faster. Arrange two or three pillows in your designated recovery area at home so you can find an elevation that is both comfortable and effective. As the nose heals, you’ll notice that it becomes gradually more comfortable to lie down flat again. Your surgeon can advise you about when it is safe to transition to a normal sleeping position again.
Bruising is part of the healing process after rhinoplasty. It usually lasts for 7 to 10 days.
If you need to wear glasses, you might need to wait until about a month after rhinoplasty before wearing them again. Glasses put weight and pressure on the nose, which can affect healing.
Blowing your nose too soon after rhinoplasty can affect your results. Wait at least a few weeks before blowing your nose to avoid damaging the healing tissue.
How long it will take you to feel “normal” again after surgery depends on multiple factors. You might feel back to your old self again after a couple of weeks. Some patients need longer, though. Typically, people are back to 100% by a year after surgery.
Wait until the splint and sutures are removed before you wear makeup again. Usually, that’s about a week after surgery.
Adopting healthy habits after rhinoplasty really helps the recovery process. You can usually resume moderate drinking about a month or so after your surgery.
Learn More About the Rhinoplasty Recovery Process
You can learn more about the rhinoplasty recovery timeline and process by scheduling a consultation with