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How Long Does Swelling Last After Rhinoplasty?


Posted December 14, 2020 in Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty can make a dramatic difference in your facial appearance, but when it comes to recovery, it’s not a quick fix. The persistence of swelling means that waiting for the ultimate result takes time, and warrants patience. Rhinoplasty is a major event for your nose, requiring months for delicate tissues, cartilage and bone to heal.

Below, experienced Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Green discusses the timeline for recovery from rhinoplasty, including the extent and duration of swelling.

Surgical Techniques and Healing

Rhinoplasty is typically performed using the “open technique,” in which a surgeon makes an incision at the base of the nose, between the nostrils. An alternative procedure known as the “closed technique” involves placing the incision inside the nostrils.

The open technique gives the surgeon a comprehensive view of the internal structure of your nose, and helps ensure a more precise outcome. It will also leave a small scar under the nose that will fade with time. During both types of procedures, cartilage is removed and repositioned, and the bone is sometimes fractured and reshaped. Cartilage or bone taken from other areas can be added to build volume.

An open rhinoplasty requires more time to heal. Swelling can persist for a year, and sometimes longer. This is especially true of the tip of the nose. Fortunately, most swelling will subside within two months, and you should be ready to present your new facial profile to the world in about two weeks. Rhinoplasty that involves breaking nasal bones will put additional stress on the nose, resulting in greater swelling and an extended recovery.

Inflammation and Proportion

Healing can also happen unevenly, and this is completely normal. If your nose appears slightly asymmetrical during the first week of healing, it will almost certainly be well-proportioned and balanced at the end of the recovery process. As your nose heals, it can be helpful to refer to computer imaging models that may have been created during your initial consultations. These will be a more accurate predictor of your final result than the swollen nose you see in the mirror during the first weeks after surgery.

If swelling continues to bother you after several months, Dr. Green can administer a steroid injection at the site of maximum swelling. By following your doctor’s guidance, you yourself can also help reduce the swelling: Apply ice as directed, avoid vigorous physical activity, and keep your head elevated. Take baths rather than showers, and brush your teeth gently. Surprisingly, too much smiling or laughing is also not recommended. The good news is that there will be plenty of that later, when the full beauty of your new nose emerges.

To learn more about rhinoplasty, and to schedule your personal consultation with Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Green, please call (916) 929-1833 or request an appointment online today.