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Rhinoplasty Swelling – How long does it last?

More commonly referred to as a nose job, rhinoplasty can lead to dramatic changes in a person's appearance.

Tagged: Facial Treatments

Author: Mr. Bryan Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

Date: 28th June 2021

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

Last reviewed: 1st February 2024

How Long Does Swelling Last After Rhinoplasty?

More commonly referred to as a nose job, Rhinoplasty can lead to dramatic changes in a person's appearance, as well as addressing concerns around breathing and the function of the nose. 

As with many procedures, swelling is a normal part of rhinoplasty recovery and you should expect some swelling after Rhinoplasty surgery. The amount of swelling that you experience will depend on the extent of the surgery that you have had. Although there are obvious results early on, there are Rhinoplasty swelling stages that people will experience after the surgery. While Rhinoplasty swelling is perfectly normal, we’re going to explore this in a little more detail. By the end, we hope that you will have an understanding of the Rhinoplasty swelling timeline as well as steps that you can take to help yourself recover following your surgery. 

What Swelling And Bruising Can You Expect After Rhinoplasty?

Swelling is completely normal following a  nose job. There tends to be bruising under the eyes immediately after the procedure, and this tends to disappear in around 10 days. It is also common for patients to have swelling around their cheeks and maybe even their upper lip. This is bruising and swelling that will fade within a few days of the surgery. Straight after your nose job , you can expect to experience some bleeding. There will be a gauze strapped under the nose to slow this down and it will usually stop by the next morning.  

Rhinoplasty swelling will be obvious on the nose, but should only be moderate. There will be changes to the swelling throughout your recovery. You will usually have a splint placed over the nose to support and maintain the structure of the nose. This is removed after 7-10 days and will allow you the first view of the results of their nose job. It is this first look that may cause patients some concern at first. The nose will appear swollen and there will be very little definition. It is important to remember that this is not the final result. As you move through the rhinoplasty swelling timeline, you will see improvements appearing before you see the end result.  

Rhinoplasty Tip Swelling

It is normal for the tip of your nose to be swollen and be the area of the nose that takes the longest to settle down and show definition. This is because it is a very sensitive part of the nose and is more exposed. You may notice that the swelling in this area gets worse before it gets better, which can be quite frustrating, but your surgeon will reassure you that it is part of the process and your final results will show within 3 months. During your initial consultation your surgeon will discuss tip swelling after Rhinoplasty as part of your journey and what you can expect. 

Why Does Rhinoplasty Swelling Occur?

There are two types of rhinoplasty swelling that occur. These both have different causes and last for differing amounts of time. The first rhinoplasty swelling is the result of the immediate trauma of the procedure. This type of swelling is usually accompanied by bruising which may appear under the eyes, on the cheeks, or above the top lip.  

The second type of nose job swelling that is experienced is as a result of fluid retention. During the procedure, cartilage and bones are disturbed and grafts are used to reshape the nose. When this has been done, the skin is then draped over the newly shaped nose and has to graft itself to the new structure. This causes fluid to be retained underneath the skin and above the cartilage as part of the natural healing process. 

You should expect similar levels of swelling regardles of rhinoplasty techniuqe, although it is possible you will experience slightly less swelling if an ultrasonic rhinoplasty is performed. 

Rhinoplasty Swelling Timeline

It is important to remember that every patient and every Rhinoplasty procedure are unique so certain factors may affect rhinoplasty swelling and how long it lasts. This could be the extent of the procedure or even down to the thickness of a patient’s skin: thicker skin will usually swell more and take longer to recover - this is common in male patients for example. There is a general timeline you can expect from your rhinoplasty swelling and rhinoplasty tip swelling stages:  

You should expect swelling to your nose along with bruising to the cheeks and possibly other areas of the face such as around the upper lip and under the eyes. 

At this point, some of the rhinoplasty swelling will have reduced. Your face is likely to be tender to touch, but bruises will have faded to yellow/green and you will start to see the first signs of the final results. Your splint will be removed at this stage by our specialist nurses and replaced with tape to protect your nose. 

All of your bruising should have all disappeared by this time. The swelling around the nose will have reduced significantly, but is likely to still be apparent. Your nose may still lack some definition and you will still be wearing the tape over your nose. 

By this point, the swelling should have subsided significantly and you will have a clear idea of what the end result is going to look like. Your nose will have a distinct new shape to it and will be more defined. To the eye, it would appear that you have never had surgery as the swelling will have reduced even more. You will be able to remove the tape by this stage. 

After 6 weeks you will notice a marked improvement in how your nose feels. Rhinoplasty swelling will have subsided and healing will be progressed enough so that you can now safely blow your nose. At this stage you will have a follow up appointment with your surgeon who will discuss your recovery and your results. Your nose may still feel slightly stiff, and your surgeon may discuss massage with you to help relieve this. 

You should have no swelling by this stage. If you have had any loss of sensation around your nose, this should have been resolved by this stage. If you haven’t gained this sensation back, it’s important to consult with your surgeon. 

By this point, your nose should have fully recovered and you will be able to enjoy the final results. Your nose should feel normal and all signs of the surgery will have disappeared. 


How to Reduce Swelling After Rhinoplasty?

Men and women aware of the Rhinoplasty recovery timeline often want to know how to help swelling after Rhinoplasty. There are several steps that you can follow to calm the swelling, but you cannot rid yourself of it completely, as it is an important part of your body’s natural healing process. Some techniques you can include in your Rhinoplasty aftercare:  

  • Using a cold compress, especially during the first 3 days following surgery  
  • Keeping your head elevated, even during sleep - you may find it most comfortable to sleep propped up on some pillows 
  • Get plenty of rest to allow your body to heal  
  • Ensure you have a healthy diet and stay hydrated - nutrients aid the healing process  
  • Avoid heat - this will increase the amount of swelling and may irritate your nose. 

Your surgeon will provide a comprehensive recovery plan for you to follow. It is vital you follow these instructions to get your desired results and avoid any complications. If you would like to book a consultation with one of our consultant surgeons to discuss rhinoplasty surgery and how it could benefit you, please contact our patient advisors, who will match you with the best surgeon for your concerns. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Following Rhinoplasty, patients should expect swelling as a natural part of the healing process. While initial results are usually visible within 3 months, it can take up to a year for the nose to fully settle and reveal its final, defined appearance. Patience is key as the nose gradually refines over time. As a plastic surgeon, I ensure patients understand this timeline, guiding them through each stage of recovery with care and reassurance toward achieving the optimal outcome.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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