Many men and women considering rhinoplasty expect the healing process to take a week or two. While it is true that at 8 to 10 days you will be quite presentable with the changes evident, you need to know that it can actually take a year or more. Here’s a true timeline regarding the healing process following rhinoplasty.
What to Expect During Nose Surgery
Before undergoing nose surgery, you meet and discuss the procedure with a facial plastic surgeon. Dr. Epstein uses digital computer imaging to show you the potential changes and allow you to communicate with him your goals.
On the day of the surgery, you head to the surgeon’s surgical facility where the anesthetist uses twilight sedation to make sure you do not feel or remember anything during the procedure. This means you sleep through the surgery, but you do not require a breathing tube, as you breathe naturally on your own.
The plastic surgeon makes an incision at the bottom of the nose, between the two nostrils, and lifts the skin from the tissue in order to view the bone and cartilage structure. At this point, the blueprint of changes made on the rhinoplasty digital imaging software helps the surgeon sculpt tissue, rasp bone, and correct any other problems. In some cases, cartilage may be harvested from the septum or the ear to help add cartilage when there isn’t enough. Sutures close any incisions and secure any changes to the tissue or cartilage. The nose is covered in a protective splint that will be removed about a week after the surgery.
After One Week
After the rhinoplasty surgery, there will be bruising and swelling. By the end of the week, some bruising and swelling will have decreased, but there is still going to be swelling. At six days following the surgery, the splint placed following the rhinoplasty comes off. At this point, you will see some of your new nose, but swelling will continue to decrease over the next year.
After Two Weeks
A week after the splint is removed, you may still have some mild bruising under the eyes, but usually it has started to vanish at this point. There is some swelling still. The incision at this point has started to heal and is well on its way to fading nicely.
After Two Months
Two months after your rhinoplasty, there will be even less swelling, but there still is healing to go. Likely the incision will no longer be visible.
After Four Months
Four months after a rhinoplasty, swelling has continued to decrease. Swelling is usually 90 percent reduced at this point, and it’s hard to see the swelling going down after this point.
After One Year
At one year, rhinoplasty swelling resolves completely and there are no tell-tale signs that any surgery took place, other than the change to the shape or symmetry of the nose. Every patient is different, so healing times are not guaranteed. If you do have concerns about how long it’s taking for your swelling to decrease, call your plastic surgeon.
Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is a board certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in Miami and New York rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty. He’s performed rhinoplasty for more than two decades and performs four or five rhinoplasty surgeries every week. Talk to Dr. Epstein about your rhinoplasty goals by calling (212) 759-3483 in New York and (305) 666-5884 in Florida.