What can I expect during my recovery after rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, or a “nose job” as it is more commonly known, is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures today. If you are considering undergoing rhinoplasty it is important to consider all aspects of the procedure, including what you can expect during your immediate recovery period so you can make an informed decision.

In general, after rhinoplasty you can expect to experience some throbbing pain and headaches. Most patients who have undergone rhinoplasty only require a couple of days of a narcotic for pain relief. After that, most report that over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol are more than sufficient to relieve their discomfort. The majority of patients are pleasantly surprised how the level of discomfort is less than expected. Most bruising and swelling will resolve within 7-10 days after surgery, and the majority of patients will take 10-14 days off from work or school.

The most uncomfortable aspect of the recovery is probably not being able to breathe through your nose during the first week after surgery. This is due to swelling from the surgery itself, and sometimes from small silicone splints that Dr. Yoo places inside the nose to aid the healing process.  Nose blowing should be avoided for the first two weeks, and instead nasal saline irrigation and sprays should be used to help keep the inside of the nose moist and clean.  As the swelling resolves, your breathing will be dramatically improved compared to before surgery.

Dr. Yoo sees patients the day after surgery, then one week after surgery.  At the one week post-op visit, the cast and sutures are removed and a light, nude colored tape is applied.  Light cardio exercise may resume 2 weeks after surgery, and full workouts may resume 4 weeks after surgery.

About 3-6 months after your surgery the vast majority of the swelling (60-80%) will have resolved, though your nose may still feel a bit numb.  Healing will continue for a full year after surgery, and up to two years after revision surgery.  Many patients enjoy seeing the subtle changes their noses undergo during the healing process as they reach their final aesthetic result.

About Donald B. Yoo, M.D.

Dr. Yoo is a board-certified surgeon, fellowship trained in facial plastic surgery with extensive experience in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. He specializes in rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty, facial rejuvenation surgery (including blepharoplasty and facelift), and Asian cosmetic surgery (including Asian rhinoplasty and Asian blepharoplasty/Asian eyelid surgery). His office is located at: 120 S Spalding Dr Suite 315, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, 310-275-2467.
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