How long does it take to recover from a rhinoplasty?

There are two parts to this answer. How long does it take to resume full normal activities and how long does it take for the nose to reach its final state? There is a huge time difference between the two. There is also individual variation.

Patients are usually surprised that the operation is virtually painless. We use Total IntraVenous Anaesthesia (TIVA) and therefore you wake up quickly from the operation and will not feel sick. You will be ready to go home within an hour or two. Expect some bleeding from the nostrils and you will find a gauze dressing strapped under the nose. This will be changed as necessary by the nurse whilst you are in the hospital and by yourself at home.

The bleeding usually stops by the next morning and be replaced by a clear ooze which tends to coagulate around the nostrils and internal sutures. Just keep this clear on the outside with tap water. The inside is unimportant. The nurse will deal with this when you come back at a week. The internal sutures dissolve on their own, but she will remove any skin sutures at the same time.

There is often bruising around the eyes. It is not painful. It appears quickly after surgery but settles equally quickly. The last remnants under the eyes go by 10 days.

Most patients, where the bones are fractured, will have a plastic or plaster of Paris splint over the nose, which is removed in 7 to 10 days. This is the moment of revelation. However, the nose is not how it will finally end up. It will be swollen and without definition. The tip, in particular, may at this stage appear unchanged. The actual final shape will take 6 to 12 months to settle. You will get some idea when this is, when the skin feels normal and all stiffness has gone. You need to be patient.

You are not ill after surgery, just a little bruised with a splint. You should not exercise for a couple of weeks, but you can do most other things if you don’t mind people seeing you. It is the same splint for a broken nose, and this would be the obvious white lie to explain it.

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