Though rhinoplasty is a fairly simple and straightforward surgery, it still is not something you should be taking lightly. Recovery from a rhinoplasty can be a rather lengthy process, but it is definitely worth it when you get the nose you have always dreamed of at the end of recovery. Knowing what to expect from the rhinoplasty healing period can help you to better prepare for the process.
The Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline
The rhinoplasty itself normally only takes about two hours, but the recovery process is much longer. Of course every person heals at a different speed, but you can normally expect your recovery to follow the same basic timeline. In the first 24 hours after surgery, you will be recovering from the anesthesia of the surgery. It is important to take it easy and spend a lot of time resting. Doctors typically recommend that patients spend this time just laying in bed with an elevated head.
During the first two days after surgery, you may find that your nose bleeds a little. Most people spend about a week at home resting, and seven days after surgery, the surgeon normally removes the splint, stitches, and nasal packing. After this, you can typically return to work. You will still need to take it easy and avoid rough physical activity until two weeks after your surgery. After this, the main part of recovery will be over.
What Does It Feel Like to Recover From a Rhinoplasty?
For most people, the roughest part of recovery will be the day after surgery. Many find that they feel a little nauseous and dizzy from the anesthesia, and they cannot drive home alone. During the first 48 hours, many find that they get headaches, and the face and nose will feel puffy and achy. The pain can be managed with medications, so some people say the worst part is just the boredom of staying in bed all day. Most people end up with a lot of packing in their nose to absorb any blood.
Though the worst discomfort will only last about 48 hours, you will still feel tired and achy enough to want to remain in bed for a few days. Many people feel a little freaked out whenever they look in the mirror and see all the bruising, but it typically does not feel as bad as it looks. By the time your splint is ready to be removed, you will probably be feeling restless and ready to get back to your normal activities. The nose area will still feel a little tender and sensitive, but most people just feel relief that they no longer have to wear a cast. You might notice that your nose feels a little numb and does not have much of a sense of smell for several weeks.
How Will Your Nose Look During Rhinoplasty Recovery?
During the first week of recovery, you probably will not actually see much of your nose. Only the tip of it will peek out of the splint, but you may notice that there is plenty of inflammation and swelling. It is perfectly normal to see bruising and swelling around the nose, eyes, and mouth. Once the cast is removed, many people worry about how large and misshapen their nose looks. This is actually just due to swelling, and it will take quite a while for all the swelling to go down.
By about two weeks post surgery, swelling and bruising will fade enough that you can go out in public without getting stared at, but your final rhinoplasty results will not be visible. Most swelling will go down by about two months after surgery, but it can actually take up to a year for all swelling to go away and the nose to settle into its final shape.
How to Heal As Quickly As Possible
In order to help your body recover from the surgery, you will need to try to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, or using any other tobacco products because this decreases circulation and makes it much harder for the nose to heal. Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of water. If you are dieting, try to take a break for at least a week or two. Eat a balanced diet with a lot of protein and carbohydrates that will give your body energy to repair.
It is also important to follow all instructions from your plastic surgeon. After the surgery, you should get a packet of instructions that tell you what you need to do during recovery. Follow all steps for cleaning the area, and be sure to go to any post-operative appointments you have scheduled. If you do not follow your doctor’s instructions, you may end up with infections or other issues that harm the outcome of your surgery.
At the offices of Dr. Andrew Frankel, there is a team of knowledgeable staff who will be with you through every step of recovery. They will give you helpful guides for protecting your nose and dealing with discomfort following the rhinoplasty, and they are always available if you have any questions. Dr. Frankel is a board-certified rhinoplasty specialist and facial plastic surgeon located in Beverly Hills, CA.
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