Written by Karah Frizzell

Ask the Doctor: How long does it take to recover from nose surgery?

Recovery from rhinoplasty (nose surgery) can vary based on the complexity of the procedure, the technique used, and individual factors related to the patient’s health and healing process. However, here’s a general timeline for what one might expect during recovery from rhinoplasty:

Immediate Post-Op (First 24 Hours)

  • Patients are likely to experience some grogginess from anesthesia.
  • Swelling and bruising, especially around the eyes, will begin.
  • A nasal packing or splint may be in place to support the new shape and protect internal structures.

First Week

  • Most of the acute swelling and bruising occur during this time.
  • Nasal congestion, mild pain, and a dull headache are common.
  • The external splint, stitches, or nasal packing, if used, are typically removed within 5-7 days.
  • Most patients are advised to take a week off work and to avoid strenuous activity.

Second Week

  • Most of the bruising and noticeable swelling will have subsided.
  • Many people feel comfortable returning to work and doing more normal daily activities.
  • Still, it’s essential to be gentle with the nose and avoid activities that risk injury.

First Month

  • Most of the external swelling will have gone down, but there might still be some residual swelling.
  • It’s usually advised to avoid strenuous exercises and contact sports during this period.

Next Few Months (up to 6 months)

  • The nose continues to refine in shape as internal swelling decreases.
  • The true outcome of the surgery begins to become apparent, although subtle changes can still occur.

Up to One Year

  • For some patients, especially those who underwent more extensive reshaping or have thicker nasal skin, it can take up to      a year (or even longer) for all the swelling to fully subside and for the final shape of the nose to be realized.

Throughout the recovery process, patients should:

  • Avoid strenuous activities that could raise blood pressure and increase the risk of bleeding or swelling.
  • Protect their nose from potential injuries.
  • Stay away from direct sun exposure, as it can lead to increased swelling and discoloration.
  • Adhere to all post-operative instructions provided by their surgeon.

It’s essential to maintain open communication with the surgeon during the recovery process. Regular post-operative check-ups will be scheduled to monitor the healing process and ensure that the desired results are achieved.