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Rhinoplasty swelling: The stages of recovery

Rhinoplasty (a nose job) is a cosmetic surgery procedure that refines and enhances the nose by either surgically reshaping the nose or using skin grafts or implants to change the shape. 

It can be used to alter the shape for cosmetic reasons, to fix a broken nose, correct a deviated septum, or to improve breathing difficulties.

Here’s a comprehensive guide for rhinoplasty recovery

September 22nd, 2023 |Ask an Expert

How long is rhinoplasty recovery?

Like any cosmetic surgery procedure, rhinoplasty recovery can be different for everyone, but as a general rule of thumb, the initial recovery period is 6-8 weeks. However, it's important to note that it can take up to one year after the initial nose surgery for the final result to become visible and the swelling to completely disappear.                          

How painful is rhinoplasty recovery?

Most patients experience discomfort and an ache-like pain during their nose job recovery. This is due to the facial swelling and bruising on and around the nose.      

Pain medication will be prescribed when patients are discharged after their procedure to take the edge off in the first few days, and the pain usually subsides within 1-2 weeks. 

Nasal congestion is common in the first 7 days, as well as slight breathing difficulties due to the splint (which will be removed 7-14 days after the procedure). This is temporary and just another part of the healing process. 

Here’s what some of our past patients have to say about their experience with rhinoplasty recovery: 

@Amymyarhino - “I had no pain it just looked like it was painful, once the anaesthetic side effects wore off I was fine

@Lauradulwich – “I saw a lot of people say ‘trust the process’ which honestly is super hard when you’re a bit impatient like myself haha! But the quote is right, my nose is changing daily, and it just gets better and better! But not painful

@Myarhinoplastyjourney - “I didn’t actually feel any physical pain at all just slight discomfort from the swelling.”

Rhinoplasty recovery week by week

1 week post rhinoplasty

The first week of nose job recovery is usually the toughest. 

This is when you’ll experience most of the discomfort, which is why rest is key. Put your favourite show on and get comfy in bed. 

Nasal tampons/packing are usually removed before leaving the hospital, but in some cases, a MYA nurse will remove it in the first few days after the rhinoplasty procedure.

Swelling and bruising are the most severe in the first week but will start to subside towards the 7-day mark. This is a standard part of the healing process, is nothing to worry about and can often look worse than it actually is at this stage.     

Your new nose will be quite tender at this point, so it's important you don't touch it as it can misalign the new shape, affecting the final outcome. 

In the first 7-10 days, you'll be advised to sleep propped up by pillows to keep the head elevated and reduce swelling. 

2 weeks after rhinoplasty

You will be required to come in for a post-op appointment 7-14 days after getting your nose job. Here you will meet with your MYA nurse and have your dressings and splints removed to check on your recovery and healing. 

Bruising and swelling on and around the nose will continue to subside, but strenuous activities and exercise should still be avoided. 

It’s also still advised to keep the area as dry as possible and avoid putting makeup on the affected area to prevent infection and keep it clean. 

3 weeks after rhinoplasty

The majority of patients can go back to work 3 weeks after rhinoplasty unless they have a more physically demanding job. In this case, returning to work should be discussed with your MYA surgeon. 

4 - 6 weeks post rhinoplasty

In the last two weeks of the initial recovery stage, your new nose will start to take shape. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the final result takes up to one year to settle after the swelling goes down completely. 

Any difficulty breathing through the nose will also clear up as you get used to the new shape. 

After this period of nose job recovery time, you can go back to higher-impact workout routines. However, it's still advised you take it slow - things such as drinking alcohol, exercising and having sex can impact the amount of swelling that occurs during your recovery. If you have any concerns about working out after rhinoplasty surgery, speak to your MYA nurse.

1 year after rhinoplasty

Your nose should be fully settled and functional, notice a facial balance in your features. It's time to enjoy your new nose and reap all the benefits including a boost in self-confidence. 

Rhinoplasty recovery tips

1) Take it slow 

Don’t expect to return to your normal life straight away after a nose job. 

Start off with gentle exercise and simple tasks to build up your strength and stamina. Speak to other MYA patients who have been through their rhinoplasty journey on the MYA Forum or Facebook Reviews Group.

2) Listen to your doctor 

Listening to your surgeon and our team of nurses before, during, and after your procedure is the number one factor in a healthy rhinoplasty recovery

They’re the experts and know what’s normal, what’s not, and what’s best for you. 

3) Take rest seriously 

Especially in the first few weeks, rest and recuperation is vital! 

Having cosmetic surgery is tiring work and shouldn’t be taken lightly. By chilling out for as long as you can, you’ll give your nose the time it needs to heal.

4) Patience is key 

Nose job recovery - and any other cosmetic surgery procedure for that matter - is all about patience. 

The final result takes up to one year to show fully and there’s no way to speed up the process. So, simply listen to your body, rest well, and don’t feel disheartened if your nose doesn’t look the way you want it to straight away - there might not be any daily changes, but the final result is just around the corner. 



6 weeks post-op



6 weeks post-op

Rhinoplasty surgery with MYA 

MYA are the experts on all things cosmetic surgery. 

If you come for a consultation with us about getting a nose job, we’ll run you through the whole process, including the rhinoplasty recovery timeline

Book a FREE consultation today to chat with one of our experts and learn more about the procedure. 

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