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How long does it take to recover from nose surgery?

The normal rhinoplasty recovery time is somewhere between six and eight weeks. There are a number of activities which should be avoided for all or some of this recovery period, including driving, sex and going to the gym or other vigorous exercise.

Tagged: Facial Treatments

Author: Mr. Bryan Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

Date: 26th February 2021

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 1st February 2024

How long does it take to recover from rhinoplasty?

A rhinoplasty procedure reshapes, corrects or reconstructs the nose to make it more aesthetically pleasing or to address concerns around breathing easily following injury. It is one of the five most common cosmetic surgery procedures carried out here in the UK and one of the most popular surgeries that we offer here at the Cadogan Clinic. 

Patients are often apprehensive about rhinoplasty recovery, and it is important to know what to expect and understand the rhinoplasty recovery timeline. 

How long is nose job recovery time? 

Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure which takes place under general anaesthetic, usually taking 1-3 hours. Straight after your procedure you can expect to spend around 2-3 hours recovering in our ambulatory recovery rooms. Once our specialist nurses are happy that your initial recovery is complete, you will be allowed to leave with a friend or family member to recover in the comfort of your own home.  

The normal rhinoplasty recovery time is around 6-8 weeks. You will have two follow -up appointments after your surgery. The first is a week later, with our specialist nurses to assess your incisions and healing and remove your splint. They will also explain your aftercare going forward including how to clean your nose after your rhinoplasty, and change the tape yourself at home. They will also be able to advise on when you can touch your nose and wear makeup.  

The second is with your surgeon, 6 weeks after your procedure to discuss your recovery and initial results. Your nose can take up to 12 months to settle into its final shape and show the final results. So, patience is required. 

Rhinoplasty recovery timelines are typically similar regardless of the specific technique employed by your surgeon, however there is increasing evidence that ultrasonic rhinoplasty recovery times are faster as less bruising and swelling is involved. 

When can I take my nose splint off?

Most Rhinoplasty patients will have a plastic or plaster of Paris splint to support their nose where the bones have been manipulated. This will be removed between 7 and 10 days after surgery. 

Once the splint has been removed, the nose will appear swollen and lack definition, with the tip looking unchanged at this stage of recovery. Rest assured, when the splint comes off, this is not how your nose will finally look. The actual final shape will take 6 to 12 months to settle, and this will be confirmed by the absence of stiffness and the skin returning to its normal feeling. It is normal for your nose to feel quite delicate after Rhinoplasty surgery and you will need to be gentle as it heals. 

The same type of splint is used when a person suffers from a broken nose. If you are concerned about how your nose appears and people’s reactions, this little white lie would explain away the presence of the splint. 

Dos And Don’ts After Rhinoplasty

During your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss your rhinoplasty aftercare instructions. This allows you enough time to prepare and understand what to expect. It is important to follow these instructions and understand why they are important to achieve your desired results and avoid complications. By adhering to these instructions, you can expect to recover in 6-8 weeks. 

 

What You Should Do After Your Rhinoplasty

  • Rest - Straight after your rhinoplasty it is important to rest to allow your body to recover and heal following surgery. Most patients rest fully for around 3-5 days, but it is important to take your rhinoplasty recovery day by day and not rush into anything too soon. The first days are usually the worst during nose job recovery as your healing has just started. 
  • Adjust your sleeping position - Your surgeon will ask you to prop yourself up with pillows and sleep slightly upright for the first few days following your rhinoplasty. This will help to reduce any swelling. After this point, you will need to avoid sleeping on your side for up to 6 weeks to prevent any pressure being placed on your nose. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet - Your body will use a lot of energy while it is recovering and healing. Eating plenty of nutritious food will allow the healing process to be faster and you may find you are able to speed up your rhinoplasty recovery and go back to certain activities sooner (with approval from your surgeon). You should also avoid drinking alcohol for a few weeks. Alcohol increases the inflammation in your body, so will slow your healing time down. Your surgeon and our specialist nurses will advise when you can start drinking alcohol again. 
  • Gentle massages - Your surgeon may ask you to gently massage your nose, starting a few weeks after surgery. This will help to encourage healing and prevent stiffness during your nose job recovery. Your surgeon and our specialist nurses will demonstrate how to massage your nose after your rhinoplasty surgery. 

 

What Not to Do After Rhinoplasty

  • Blow your nose - Your nose will feel very blocked and stuffy following your Rhinoplasty, but it is important to not blow your nose, so you don’t disturb your surgeon’s adjustments. Your surgeon will let you know when you will be able to blow your nose after your procedure. 
  • Sneeze - Again to prevent your nose being disturbed following surgery, you should sneeze through your mouth rather than your nose. This can be difficult to get used to and your surgeon may ask you to practise ahead of your surgery. 
  • Strenuous exercise - You must avoid exercise and heavy lifting for up to 8 weeks to allow your nose to heal. Your surgeon will explain when you will be able to workout again. 
  • Driving - You shouldn’t drive for up to 2 weeks following rhinoplasty. Please speak with your insurance company as some policies ask you not to drive for longer following a surgical procedure.  
  • Flying - Your surgeon will advise how long you need to avoid flying for following your Rhinoplasty. Flying can increase your risk of blood clots which can be very dangerous, so it is important to follow these instructions. Most patients are asked not to fly for at least 4 weeks after their procedure. 
  • Wear Glasses – You are advised not to wear glasses in the first few days and weeks following your rhinoplasty, or put any form of pressure whatsoever on the recovering nasal bridge 

Which activities should I restrict during my nose job recovery?

In order to ensure a swift nose job recovery time, there are certain activities that patients should avoid.

Patients are reasonably mobile within 48 hours of the surgery, but we would advise total rest for the first few days of rhinoplasty recovery. Driving should be avoided until two weeks post-surgery. We recommend avoiding UV light, for example using sunbeds, for two to four weeks following rhinoplasty as this can impact upon scarring.

Restricted sexual activity can be resumed after four weeks but vigorous exercise, including going to the gym, should be completely avoided until six weeks.

If a patient follows these instructions, we would anticipate a full recovery between six and eight weeks.

Does rhinoplasty hurt?

Most male rhinoplasty patients and women find that rhinoplasty does not hurt. There may be some level of discomfort immediately following the procedure, but pain levels will be modest and are usually easily treated with over-the-counter painkillers. 

You are more likely to experience other side effects during rhinoplasty recovery, rather than pain. Common side effects include a blocked or stuffy nose, and you will need to breathe through their mouth for a week or so. Other side effects include a stiff and numb nose and soreness, swelling and bruising around the eyes, if the nasal bones have been fractured as part of your surgery. 

You may experience some bleeding from the nostrils overnight, or for a longer period if the septum or turbinate's have required treatment. It is also normal to have some bruising or swelling around your eyes, this usually subsides within 10 days following your surgery. 

Nose reshaping surgery can sometimes result in permanent breathing difficulty, damage to the cartilage wall between the nostrils, an altered sense of smell or heavy nosebleeds. However, these side effects are not common. Your surgeon will explain how likely these risks and complications are, how they would be treated if they occur and how you can reduce your personal risk. 

Please be aware that rhinoplasty is a complex surgical procedure and roughly 1 in 10 patients will require either further surgery or rhinoplasty revision surgery


What Support Does Cadogan Clinic Provide?

We have invited a selection of the country's very best Rhinoplasty surgeons to practise with us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever your nose concerns you will be seeing one of the top surgeons in the UK. 

As we are London’s leading specialist cosmetic surgery centre of excellence, the Cadogan Clinic also offers superior, comprehensive rhinoplasty aftercare advice to help aid your recovery time. 

Our nursing team provides a dedicated 24/7 on-call service during recovery – whatever your question, they will be able to help and support you. 

To find out more about rhinoplasty at the Cadogan Clinic, please get in touch to organise a bespoke consultation with one of our specialists. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Rhinoplasty recovery requires patience to allow for the best results. Following post-operative instructions as closely as possible is key to prevent complications and achieve the desired results. Rest, proper wound care, and avoiding strenuous activities are crucial during the initial healing phase. With 24/7 guidance and support from our specialist nursing team, patients can navigate the recovery process with confidence.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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