It is a common misconception among patients that any cosmetic surgical procedure will immediately leave them looking like new right after surgery. The truth is that there will always be a period of healing after surgery, as the body needs requires a certain amount of time to heal. Patients may be particularly anxious about the healing timeline for a rhinoplasty (nose job) procedure, as the nose is such a prominent feature on the face. They may be afraid of having to spend months with bandages on their nose. Below is a general outline of the various stages of healing for a rhinoplasty, in order to give patients a realistic view of what to expect during the healing process.
One to Two Weeks after Surgery
The nose will look the most bruised and swollen during this period. Remedies such as icing the nose, elevating the head, or taking the herb Arnica montana will help keep bruising down during this phase. Dr. Vincent Marin recommends that patients who wear glasses tape them in place in order to avoid placing undo pressure on the nose from the nose pads. Most of the bruising will have gone away within five to seven days following surgery. Patients can generally return to school or work at that time. At this stage, people will not be able to tell that the nose has even been altered.
Dr. Marin will remove any remaining splints, visible sutures, or packing after seven days. Patients may be asked to tape their nose for the first two weeks following surgery in order to keep down the swelling and prevent the formation of scar tissue. Dr. Marin will also ask patients to avoid aspirin, St. John’s Wort, fish oil, vitamin E, and ginko biloba during these first two weeks, as these can all increase bleeding, which will lengthen the healing time for the nose.
Seven to 20 Weeks after Surgery
By this stage, patients can resume their regular exercise routines, including yoga and contact sports. Glasses will no longer need to be taped in place and can now be worn normally, and the nose will no longer need to be taped at night. There may still be a very small amount of swelling, but the nose will generally appear perfectly normal to the casual observer. The final appearance of the nose will begin to take shape during this phase, but it may still shift somewhat until at least 12 months after the procedure.
Six to 12 Months after Surgery
By this time, the nose should have mostly taken on its new shape. All swelling and bruising should be gone. However, if the patient has undergone a revision procedure to correct a previous rhinoplasty, it may take up to two years for the nose to reach its final shape.
At this point, the patient will be able to enjoy all the benefits of their new features. With a certain amount of patience, care, planning, and collaborating with Dr. Marin, patients who elect to have a rhinoplasty will eventually be able to put their new face forward with confidence and style.
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