Rhinoplasty is one of the most common operations we perform in plastic surgery. It has consistently been ranked as one of the top five procedures for both men and women over the past five years. As a result, we get a number of questions relating to patient recovery. The nose is a very detailed part of your facial anatomy and as a result, any swelling becomes more particularly more visible on the nose, than perhaps anywhere else on your body. I routinely instruct patients that they should expect their swelling to last several weeks to the extent that it is noticeable by almost anyone. After a period of 2 to 3 weeks, people who are not familiar with you, will likely not appreciate the fact that you had surgery. However, friends and family members may still be able to see the lack of detail in the nasal shape.
Usually, by the sixth week, most of the visible swelling will be completely resolved. There does exist swelling within the nose that this is not likely to be noticed by anyone except the patient. After six weeks, there is a gradual, slow resolution of swelling of the nose. This will continue to improve over time revealing a more defined and refined nasal shape . This process is normally not complete until one full year from your surgical date. Almost all rhinoplasty surgeons recommend waiting a full year until evaluating your final results. This is due to the fact that swelling can obscure fine details of the nose, and it is commonly recommended to wait the full 12 months before formally evaluating your rhinoplasty results.
Vincent P. Marin, MD, FACS
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery