Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline

Man looking at himself in a mirror in Denver, CO

How long is the recovery after rhinoplasty? That’s one of the primary questions patients have when they come in for a rhinoplasty consultation at our Denver, CO, practice. For many patients, the question means how long will they be off work? But the rhinoplasty recovery timeline has multiple stages, and it’s important to know what to expect before undergoing the procedure.

Nose Job Recovery Week-by-Week

Rhinoplasty is an outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll return home on the day of surgery. You’ll need someone to drive you home and stay with you the first night. After waking up in the recovery room, your throat might feel sore because of the breathing tube used during surgery. Sips of cold water can help soothe the discomfort. You might also feel nauseous due to being under a general anesthetic.

First Day of Recovery

Sleep might be hard to come by on the first night. You’ll feel some soreness and need to sleep in an upright position, such as in a recliner. Not being able to breathe through your nose will likely cause you to wake up a few times during the night.

First Week After Surgery

As most rhinoplasty patients know, swelling and bruising are common. The bruising can be mild or severe, but not everyone experiences bruising. I place a small nasal splint on the nose that I remove within 7 days of surgery. However, I don’t use internal splints or nasal packing, which many patients say is the most uncomfortable part of recovery.

Depending on the reasons for getting rhinoplasty, you may see some initial results when we first remove the bandages. What you see, though, will be far from the final results, and the size and shape of the nose will continue to change for months. This is no reason to worry.

The recovery, even during the first week, is more uncomfortable than painful and some patients get relief with over-the-counter medications. In fact, you’ll probably be ready to return to work or attend classes within 3 to 5 days of the surgery.

2 to 6 Weeks After Surgery

Swelling gradually subsides for several weeks. You can think of the recovery timeline in terms of “social” recovery and physical recovery. After 2 weeks, many people are comfortable enough with the appearance of their noses to go out to a restaurant or other social gathering. By week 6, the lack of swelling should be providing you with a much better idea of the changes made to the nose.

This is still not the final outcome, however, and it’s important to remain patient as the swelling continues to go down.

2 to 4 Months After Surgery

Your nose continues to take on more of its final size and shape. You may want to take photos at various points because the day-to-day changes are virtually imperceptible. If there are no complications, you’ll likely have your final follow-up appointment during this time.

The full results can take up to a year or more to emerge. The vast majority of rhinoplasty patients, however, are thrilled with their outcomes. You can see why in these before-and-after photos of our actual patients.

Rhinoplasty is a complicated procedure, and choosing a surgeon who specializes in facial plastic surgery is one way to minimize any risk of complications or unsatisfactory results. You can contact Ladner Facial Plastic Surgery using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (303) 253-7686 to schedule an appointment.

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