What to Expect During your Rhinoplasty Recovering - Hint: It's not as Bad as you Think!

If you're reading this, then you'll know that a rhinoplasty is surgeon-speak for a nose job.

Rhinoplasty is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures in America and rated among the top 6 procedures last year. According to a recent survey by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 148,143 procedures were performed in 2016.

With nose jobs being so popular, anyone who's interested will want to do their research. Look through photos to see what surgeons can achieve, and find out what a rhinoplasty is like before, during and after the event, or take a look at this video where Dr. Andrew Miller discusses recovery from a rhinoplasty procedure:

Reality TV would have you believe that rhinoplasties are agony to recover from. We're here to dispel that myth and give you the lowdown on what to expect during your rhinoplasty recovery. It's not as bad as you may think!

Why Get One?

While it's true that many people who opt for a rhinoplasty are unhappy with the appearance of their nose there are some other reasons people might get a nose job.

Rhinoplasties can sometimes correct breathing problems or damage from a trauma to the nose. Others have a birth defect that a rhinoplasty can correct.

Whatever your reasons for having plastic surgery, it's very important to thoroughly research your chosen procedure. Find out how to prepare, what your surgery involves, what the risks are, and how best to recover afterward.

Remember that there are pros and cons to any surgical procedure. If you have any concerns at all at any stage of the process, always discuss these with your surgeon.

What Happens During a Rhinoplasty?

Every Nose is Different

The rhinoplasty procedure is unique for everyone, as each person's requirements vary, and every nose is different.

Depending on the individual, you can have either open or closed surgery.

Closed surgery is where the surgeon operates internally, through your nostrils. Or you may have open surgery, through an incision at the base of your nose, with your surgeon readjusting the bone and cartilage that way.

Anesthetic Stops the Pain

You'll be under general anesthesia where you're asleep and out for the count.

This means that, during your rhinoplasty, you won't feel pain while your surgeon works on you.

The type of anesthetic you'll receive depends on your particular needs and procedure, and also on your surgeon's preferences. If you have any specific requests, discuss them with your surgeon beforehand.

How Long Does it Take?

A rhinoplasty can take between 1-2 hours if it's a simple op, though complex surgeries could take up to 4.

The type of anesthetic you have will also impact the procedure length. Local anesthetic means less time as you're already awake throughout, whereas general anesthetic means they'll have to monitor you as you come round.

Your surgeon will discuss your options and duration with you during your consultation.

Your Rhinoplasty Recovery

Now, you've had your rhinoplasty, and it really didn't hurt much, which was awesome. So what comes next?

Unfortunately, you're not going to walk out the door after your op and be able to show off your dream nose straight away.

It's going to be a bit of a caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation, but those are some of the best kinds, right? Exactly.


The first thing you're going to notice as you start your recovery is that your nose is pretty blocked and swollen. You'll probably still have in the splints that your surgeon used during the procedure, plus loads of internal packing and dressings.

You know that bunged-up feeling you get when you're sick and your sinuses are all blocked? That's sort of what it feels like. It's not painful, but it is uncomfortable.

You'll also probably feel like your nose is huge. It's not, by the way, but the swelling in your nose and face will make you think it is.

At Allure Plastic Surgery, your packing is removed the day after your procedure. Once they're taken out, the pressure is released and you'll feel like you're floating on air, plus you'll be able to smell stuff again! Splints may stay on until around days 5-7 post-op.

The best way to counter this at first is to lay or sit in your bed, with your nose higher than your chest, for optimal blood flow and minimized swelling and bruising.

During your rhinoplasty recovery, don't do intensive exercise for 2 weeks after surgery. Things like lifting weights, swimming and running are a no-no. But you can do light walking, though probably just around your house and yard is best in the beginning. Why?

Well, on the street or at the park, think animals, kids, and balls. You don't want anything to jump at, strike, or fly at your nose before it's healed. It'll really hurt, and it can easily shift your stents and delicate nose out of place.

Now you can start to see glimpses of that beautiful nose you've been coveting! But once the dressings are off, you'll notice something else.


Just to be clear, the bruising doesn't hurt. But it might look kind of bad for the first week or so, as it goes from dark purple and begins fading to green, and then yellow.

For some people, the bruising that comes during the recovery phase is barely an issue, though for others it's downright obvious. Again, it all depends on the person, so it's a wait-and-see thing.

You might see bruising on your nose and around your eyes, too, from the surgery.

For the first 48 hours, use ice to minimise the bruising and swelling. The discoloration will probably last between 10 days and 2 weeks, but soon it'll be gone and like it never happened.

You'll forget all about it as you see the fruits of your labor coming into focus!

Wound Care

This one's pretty basic: you need to keep your wound clean.

A great way to do this is to soak a Q-tip in hydrogen peroxide, and gently apply it to any scabbed blood until the scabs dissolve.

Sounds kind of gross, we know. But it's really important to make sure you don't get infections during your rhinoplasty recovery stage, and also so your face and nose feel as comfortable as possible.

This sort of cleaning will only be necessary for up to the first 5 days. After that, the bleeding should stop so you won't need to worry about it anymore.

Of course, wound care is something you'll discuss with your surgeon. You won't be able to shower and wet your face because of the dressings and packing, so make sure you're armed with all the information you need to keep wounds clean and dry.

Dry Mouth

This is something that isn't really stressed much, but dry mouth is a thing during recovery. When your nose is totally out of action while the packing's in and the swelling's going down, the only thing you can breathe through is your mouth.

Since you'll be doing a lot with your mouth - eating, breathing, talking - it will get pretty dry. Soft and moist food will definitely help in the beginning, and during the day you can drink lots to counter it.

The time dry mouth is worst is at night.

Again, this is not something that's painful, it's just uncomfortable. But if you take the proper steps to reduce it early on, you'll thank yourself later.

You'll want to increase the moisture in the air, and a great way to do this is to have a humidifier running through the night while you're asleep.

During your rhinoplasty recovery, having a jug of water beside you in the night is a necessity. You might find yourself waking up at first, as your body adjusts to this new nightly state, so take sips of water to relieve your dry, scratchy mouth and throat.

Though this isn't painful, it may be irritating. But you'll be getting ever-closer to nose perfection, and a dry mouth is going to be so worth it.


This may sound obvious, but your nose is going to be pretty sensitive for a little while.

During the recovery stage, things will feel uncomfortable and you might be tempted to touch, gently massage, or apply pressure to your nose.


While you may suffer discomfort, contact with your nose is only going to delay the healing process and prolong your recovery time.

It's easier said than done, but when you feel the urge to prod or poke your nose, go do something to distract yourself. The quicker your recovery period is over, the quicker you'll see the transformation you've been waiting for.

Ongoing Recovery

For those first 5-7 days, your rhinoplasty recovery phase will be limited by the nasal stents and packing. Once those are out, you'll need to take further steps to aid the healing process.

Be aware that it takes 4-6 weeks for your nasal bones to heal solidly, so you'll still need to treat your nose with caution.

Moisturize With Saline

The lining of your nose, or the nasa mucosa, will need to heal after your surgery and to do that it needs moisture.

Carry a saline nasal spray with you everywhere, and use it at least 3 times a day, but more if you need to. A saline spray helps to replenish the moisture content of the nasal lining.

Saline also helps to helps to curb swelling, and keep the lingering wounds inside your nose clean, which will speed up the healing process.

The internal scabbing during the recovery stage can take up to a month to heal, so be aware of that and treat your nose accordingly.

Don't Blow Your Nose

This is going to take a lot of self-control, but don't blow your nose during your recovery phase.

Many surgeons advise that a gentle nose-blow after 3 weeks is okay, but the emphasis is on the word 'gentle'.

You'll often be advised not to put any pressure on the sides of your nose, which can be frustrating, as that means that there won't be a buildup of pressure inside. And use your saline spray first, to soften up the scabs inside.

Still, it is only for just over a month. Chances are you've been waiting for your rhinoplasty result for quite a while, maybe even years, so a month is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Remember that; it'll help.


If you've had your surgery far away from home, your surgeon will likely advise you that you can fly home after 7-10 days.

By this time, internal and external nasal splints will have been removed, as will the packing. The swelling will mostly have gone down, and any oozing or dripping will have usually stopped within the first couple of days.

Take your saline nasal spray with you on the flight and be sure to use it more than you would on the ground. Most of us get dry noses on a flight, even without a major trauma to them, which is essentially what a rhinoplasty is.

The nasal cavities can dry out on a flight, so keep them moist with lots of saline to combat it and ease discomfort.

It's good to be aware that flying can induce general swelling in many people, and this can include your nose.

If you find swelling is something you're prone to, after your initial flight home it may be a good idea to hold off flying for a few months until things have calmed down internally.

The Transformation


Your time has finally come.

You've been through the surgery, the discomfort, the period of looking like you've had a few rounds in the ring with someone a lot bigger and heavier than you. But the day has finally come.

You look in the mirror and see, for the first time, a perfect new nose without any traces of telltale yellow bruising, or the swelling that you thought would never go away.

Like the caterpillar who hid away in his chrysalis for a month and emerged as a beautiful butterfly, your nose has finally undergone its transformation to a thing of beauty on your beaming face.

Talk about a transformation. With your new look and constant smile, your nose won't be the only thing that's changed.

Loved this article? Click here to find out the most popular plastic surgery procedure in New York.