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“How bad is rhinoplasty recovery?” This is one of the most common questions patients ask when they visit our New York and Tarrytown offices for a nose surgery consultation. Like every aspect of cosmetic surgery, having realistic expectations about recovery is incredibly important. Understanding what you may encounter after your procedure, as well as what you can do to facilitate a smooth recovery and a beautiful outcome, ensures your experience is rewarding from our first meeting to your final results.

At the New York Group for Plastic Surgery, we understand that you’re excited to see your new nose and want to get back to your regular life as soon as you can. Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Salzberg are happy to answer any questions you have about rhinoplasty recovery during your initial consultation. The helpful information below outlines what to expect from your nose job recovery day by day and several tips to make this time as comfortable as possible.

How Long Does Rhinoplasty Recovery Take?

Every patient’s nose is unique and so is every patient’s rhinoplasty recovery. The amount of time needed to heal from your procedure and see your final results can be influenced by many different factors, including:

  • Your overall health
  • Your age
  • The thickness of your skin
  • Your body’s tendency toward swelling or bruising
  • Which surgical technique (open vs. closed) is used
  • Whether this is your first rhinoplasty or a revision rhinoplasty
  • How closely you follow your surgeon’s postoperative instructions
  • If you have additional procedures at the same time as your rhinoplasty

The timeline below is a general overview of the rhinoplasty healing stages. Dr. Jacobs or Dr. Salzberg will provide you with a personalized recovery timeline before your surgery.

What to Expect Immediately After Surgery

Rhinoplasty is performed at our on-site surgical facility under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. Once you are awake and cleared to leave, you will be driven home by a trusted companion who should stay with you for the first 24 to 48 hours in the event that you need assistance. You will likely have a splint placed inside of your nose, outside of your nose or in both locations to protect and support your new nasal structures as they heal. Pain medication will be prescribed to help you manage any postoperative discomfort. Swelling, bruising, bleeding, congestion and achiness commonly occur after rhinoplasty surgery. You will not be able to breathe through your nose, wear eyeglasses or put on makeup for the initial phase of the recovery process.

What to Expect in the First Week

The first few days of your recovery will be the most uncomfortable and require the most rest. Relax as much as you can, ideally with your head propped up. Although this is typically the most difficult of the rhinoplasty healing stages, patients are often pleasantly surprised to find that they are not in a great deal of pain. Use cold compresses to minimize discomfort and swelling. Do not bend over or blow your nose. You will be advised to sleep on your back with your head elevated and to steer clear of any activities that could put your nose in harm’s way. Because you will have to breathe through your mouth, you may find that your sleep is disrupted and your mouth and throat are very dry. Follow your surgeon’s instructions for cleaning and caring for your incisions. Your splints will be removed about five to seven days after surgery.

What to Expect During the Next Few Weeks

Swelling, bruising and mild discomfort will persist for the first one to two weeks after your procedure. These effects should subside after about four to six weeks. Most of our New York patients are able to return to light activities, including work, after about one full week of resting at home. Strenuous activity and exercise should be avoided for at least two weeks, but most likely four to six weeks, after undergoing rhinoplasty. You will need to continue sleeping on your back and may not wear eyeglasses or sunglasses. It’s important to keep in mind that your nose, particularly the tip, still has a lot of healing to do. What you see at this point is not your final result.

This intermediate period of your recovery will be somewhat affected by the surgical technique that is used for your procedure. In a closed rhinoplasty, Dr. Jacobs or Dr. Salzberg places the incisions inside the nostrils. This less-invasive technique typically requires a shorter recovery period and leaves no visible scarring. However, it may not be suitable for patients who require extensive nose reshaping. In an open rhinoplasty, the surgeon places an incision at the base of the strip of tissue that separates the nostrils (the columella). This is a more invasive technique that requires a longer recovery period and leaves a small scar on the underside of the nose. However, because it gives the surgeon increased access, it is often the better option for patients seeking more dramatic improvements.

When to Expect Full Recovery

Rhinoplasty recovery is a gradual process. Swelling can be substantial and take a considerable amount of time to resolve. Your nose will continue undergoing changes — some so subtle that only you or your surgeon will notice them — for months as it settles into its new shape. Try to be patient as you wait to see what your enhanced nose will look like. It could take up to a year before your final results are fully evident. Dr. Jacobs or Dr. Salzberg will assess your recovery on an ongoing basis during follow-up appointments. These appointments are essential to monitor your healing progress and ensure you are taking all appropriate steps toward a healthy recovery and a beautiful result.

Four Rhinoplasty Recovery Tips

Our NYC and Westchester patients lead busy lives and are often eager to know if there’s anything they can do to expedite their rhinoplasty recovery. While your body will ultimately heal at its own pace, there are steps you can take to make sure your recovery is as quick and comfortable as possible.

  1. Do not smoke. Patients who smoke have a slower healing time. Tobacco use also increases the risk of scarring and infection.
  2. Eat a nutritious, balanced diet. Fuel your body for recovery by consuming plenty of essential nutrients that promote healing and boost your immune system. You’ll also want to make sure you keep yourself well hydrated.
  3. Stay out of the sun. Avoid sun exposure entirely when you can. If you must spend time outdoors, wear sunscreen. Your skin will be sensitive and prone to sunburn as it heals. Too much sun can also result in more conspicuous scarring.
  4. Don’t hesitate to contact NYGPS. Your surgeon will ensure you are thoroughly informed of all rhinoplasty risks and potential complications before your procedure. You are encouraged to reach out to us at any time if you have questions or concerns during your recovery.

Rhinoplasty is one of the most transformative surgical procedures we perform here at the New York Group for Plastic Surgery. Contact NYGPS today at 888-834-2075 to schedule your consultation with one of our New York rhinoplasty experts. Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Salzberg are excited to help you achieve the profile you’ve always wanted.

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