The rhinoplasty recovery process can take up to a year to be fully complete, although the most noticeable side effects subside a few weeks after the surgery. The process begins with the patient leaving the rhinoplasty clinic after their surgery and is complete after all swelling, congestion, and bleeding stops and the nose resumes its natural, healthy look and feel.
During the first week of the rhinoplasty recovery process, the patient will experience a number of side effects, most of which are manageable with pain medication prescribed by the surgeon performing the rhinoplasty. The closer patients follow the post operative instructions given by their surgeon, the less severe their side affects will be. Patients can expect to have a puffy feel to their face, congested nasal cavities which do not allow normal breathing through the nose, bruising around the eyes or black eyes, aching in the nose, and sometimes a headache.
Bleeding and discharge is common, although excessive bleeding can be a sign of trouble, and should be addressed by the surgeon or staff at the rhinoplasty clinic. Patients must sleep on their backs for the first few days, and avoid any contact to the nose. The surgeon will have secured the nose with nasal packing and a cast or splint to ensure that the nose retains its new shape, so the patient must return to the rhinoplasty clinic a few days after their surgery to have the packing removed. The splint or cast, along with any stitches, will generally be removed within a week of the surgery.
Rhinoplasty Recovery Process
After the first week, the swelling will have decreased significantly, and it should be much easier to breathe as congestion subsides. Most patients can return to work a week after their surgery. In follow up visits to the rhinoplasty clinic, the patients are taught nasal exercises that can help keep the nose in alignment. As the weeks continue, the swelling and pain will continue to decrease, and after about six weeks, the nose will start to assume the desired shape. However, residual swelling can remain up to a year later, but this is usually extremely unnoticeable.
The quality of the surgeon performing the rhinoplasty and the patient’s diligence in following post-op instructions make a significant difference in the rhinoplasty recovery process, so patients should always seek out a reputable rhinoplasty clinic–this is a situation where patients definitely get what they pay for.