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Having a nose job is a major surgical procedure and even though most of the swelling will subside from about three months afterwards, it can take as long as a year for all the side effects to diminish for you to finally see the results of your rhinoplasty surgery. Understanding rhinoplasty swelling and how it heals can help you to prepare for the changes that will take place. Today we are going to unpack rhinoplasty swelling stages and what you can expect from your recovery timeline. 


Different Types Of Rhinoplasty Swelling

There are two different types of swelling that occur after nose job surgery: swelling that occurs because of the trauma from your nose job, and swelling that develops as a result of fluid retention. Both open and closed nose jobs result in swelling after the procedure. 


Managing Your Expectations Of The Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline

Every patient is different: they have different noses, different procedures and heal at different rates. Even factors like the texture of your skin, having oily skin or being prone to bruising can impact the length of time it takes you to recover fully from surgery This makes it difficult to predict exactly what process your healing timeline will follow, but in general you can expect your healing to follow this timeline, with some variance:


Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages: What You Can Expect



The First Week After Surgery

Your first week after rhinoplasty surgery should be spent in full rest and recovery. The worst of the swelling will be experienced in the first few days after your procedure. You will feel sore and tender, and you won’t be able to breathe through your nose yet. Splints, sutures and nasal dressings are usually removed around seven days after the surgery.

The swelling will likely affect other parts of your face such as your lips, cheeks, the tip of your nose and under your eyes. You will also experience bruising in these areas. 

It’s also quite common to experience asymmetrical swelling, but this is not a clear indication of your final results. You will only be able to get a closer idea of what the end result will look like after about three months. 


How To Manage Swelling In The First Week

Try to keep your head elevated all the time. Bed rest is a great idea, so try to keep your head propped up with a couple of pillows, especially when you are asleep. Sleeping on a recliner can also help. Sleeping flat causes the blood to pool in your head, and this can increase the swelling. 


Swelling In The Second Week After Surgery

If your job isn’t too physically strenuous you will probably be able to go back to work after the second week following your surgery. While you may still notice some bruising, you will be able to cover it up with makeup if you like. 

Because the nose holds onto swelling more than other body parts, it’s likely that you will still notice the swelling but it should have improved compared to week one. It’s still a good idea to keep your head elevated when you sleep.


4 To 6 Weeks After Your Surgery

By the end of the sixth week, there should be a marked improvement in your swelling and, with your surgeon’s agreement, you should be able to resume exercising. It’s very important to use sunscreen and other barriers to protect your skin because the newly formed skin on your nose is very sensitive and still healing. 


Two To Three Months After Rhinoplasty Surgery 

By this stage, your new nose should be more visible, although many patients will still notice swelling. Remember that it will subside gradually, and this is no cause for alarm. It will take a few more months before the swelling has gone down completely. By this stage, rhinoplasty swelling is often visible only to you; the other people around you will probably not notice it. 


Six To 12 Months After A Nose Job Procedure

recovery swelling rhinoplasty sydneyFor most patients, their new nose shape is clearly defined 12 months after rhinoplasty. By this stage the swelling should have subsided as cartilage that was repositioned has settled and your skin has had the chance to reform to the new structure. By this stage, facial harmony should have been achieved and you should be able to breathe normally.

Not everyone follows these rhinoplasty swelling stages so closely. Patients who have had less complex procedures or revisional surgeries may recover faster. Your genetics and rate of healing could mean you recover a bit slower. Understanding how swelling develops and managing it effectively can make your recovery much more comfortable. 


Managing Rhinoplasty Swelling

  • Using cold compresses after your surgery can help to alleviate some of the bruising and swelling.
  • Keeping your head elevated and getting the appropriate rest is also helpful.
  • Limiting your intake of salt and caffeine can also play a role in keeping your post-surgical swelling manageable. 


For more insight on rhinoplasty swelling stages or for help in managing your post-operative condition, it’s best to consult with a professional. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9158 6375






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