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How Long Does Swelling Last After Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty is not simply a day of surgery, but an evolutionary process whose final result is slowly revealed over a period of months.

Just as your rhinoplasty procedure will bring a dramatic change in your facial appearance, it’s also a major event for the nose itself, requiring time for delicate tissues, cartilage and bone to heal. Below, trusted Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Charles S. Lee, MD, discusses the timeline for recovery from rhinoplasty, including the extent and duration of swelling.

Stages of Recovery

Depending on the complexity of your procedure, swelling can persist for a year, and sometimes longer. This is especially true of the tip of the nose. Fortunately, most swelling will subside within two months, and you should be ready to present your new facial profile to the world in about two weeks.

If you’ve had an open rhinoplasty, there will be more swelling and it will take longer to subside. Rhinoplasty that involves breaking nasal bones will also put more stress on the nose, resulting in greater swelling and an extended recovery.

Your Final Result

The persistence of swelling means that waiting for the ultimate result takes time, and requires patience. If your nose appears slightly asymmetrical during the first week of healing, it will almost certainly be well-proportioned and balanced at the end of the recovery process. As your nose heals, it can be helpful to refer to the computer imaging models created for you during your initial consultations. These will be a more accurate predictor of your final result than the swollen nose you see in the mirror during the first weeks after surgery.

If swelling continues to bother you after several months, Dr. Lee can administer a steroid injection at the site of maximum swelling. You can also help reduce the swelling: Apply ice as directed, avoid vigorous physical activity, and keep your head elevated. Take baths rather than showers, and brush your teeth gently. Surprisingly, too much smiling or laughing is also not recommended. The good news is that there will be plenty of that later, when the full beauty of your new nose emerges.

To learn more about rhinoplasty, schedule a personal consultation with Charles S. Lee, MD, or contact the Beverly Hills office of Enhance® Medical Center today.

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