The Stages of Swelling after Rhinoplasty
Swelling is an inevitable part of the rhinoplasty recovery process, but it often causes confusion and worry for patients due to its variable nature and tendency to disappear slowly. Though all rhinoplasty procedures result in significant swelling, cases that require the nose to be broken during surgery are especially prone to puffing up. Since swelling often persists for up to a year in normal rhinoplasty patients, let’s take a look at the typical stages of post-op swelling so you know what’s normal–and what isn’t.
Week 1 – Rhinoplasty Swelling
Though one might expect swelling to be most severe at this stage, the splint on the nose prevents excessive swelling to the nose. The patient may see swelling and/or bruising around the nose, but the nose itself is kept still by the splint. Patients are often fearful of packing. Dr. Rubinstein uses gentle techniques in breaking the nasal bones as well as special self dissolving sutures internal sutures to minimize bruising and bleeding. His patients rarely require nasal packing and have very little bruising around the eyes.
Weeks 2-3 – Nose Surgery Swelling
Once the splint is removed, the patient will experience additional swelling in the nasal area, which may obscure the results of the rhinoplasty. Patients should not be worried if the nose doesn’t look perfect yet–there’s still a lot of healing to do after this stage.
Though the nose will look pretty much like the final result at this point, it’s still too early to make hasty criticisms about the final product. There is usually still some swelling present that will slowly fade.
3 Months-1 Year
Though changes in remaining swelling are very subtle, an unhappy patient should wait at least a year before undergoing revision rhinoplasty. Usually, swelling disappears starting at the top of the nose, working its way down. Swelling can persist in the tip for 9-12 months.
There are several things you can do to keep swelling down after your surgery. Minimizing swelling will make your recovery more comfortable, and allow you to get a better sense of your true results. Here are some tips for preventing swelling:
- Use cold compresses around (not on) the nose for the first day or two following surgery
- Ask your surgeon about natural remedies, such as Arnica and Yunnan (a Chinese herb)
- Keep your head elevated
- Avoid alcohol for several days before your procedure
- Limit your salt intake
Need More Information?
Though the rhinoplasty recovery process varies from person to person, your surgeon will provide you with extensive information and advice on your recovery period so you can be well-prepared before you head to the operating room.