Taking proper care of yourself post-surgery will help you get the optimal outcome and minimise the chances of any risks and complications. One of the most common side effects of rhinoplasty is bruising and swelling. It is common and to be expected. The extent of bruising and swelling post nose surgery or rhinoplasty depends on several factors: the technique used, how well you follow the post-op instructions and your body’s response to surgical trauma.
If you are worried about bruising and swelling that will come along with a new shape and size of the nose, this article aims to answer all your questions. While it is a very normal part of the recovery process, both of these symptoms can be very annoying and uncomfortable.
What to Expect with Swelling and Bruising after Rhinoplasty
During the surgery, trauma is caused to the tissues which leads to post-operative swelling. The majority of the swelling will subside within the first two weeks after surgery. The rest of the swelling might still be noticeable and will take a few weeks or even months to subside completely. However, it won’t be something so obvious that you shy away from different activities.
Bruising post rhinoplasty mostly occurs underneath the eyes and resolves on its own within the first 10 days after surgery. In general, most people would be able to return to their social activities within 2 to 3 weeks, provided that you follow all the post-op instructions.
Stages of Healing after Rhinoplasty
Complete recovery from rhinoplasty will take a few weeks. Having an idea of different healing stages will enable you to track the progress and feel comfortable while you wait for the final results to become visible.
Rhinoplasty surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. You might be asked to stay in a hospital overnight. You will be cleared to go home once you have recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia. Dr Hunt will provide you with a list of detailed instructions to follow post the treatment. These instructions will help you manage pain and prevent infections.
You might be asked to stick to the following care measures for the first few days:
- Wash your nose with saline water at least three times a day
- You can use a Chlorsig eye ointment in every single nostril and on the incisions. It will keep the sutures and scabs soft and prevent irritation
- One week after your post-operative visit, the cast will be removed and your nose will be vacuumed
It is important to know that swelling might make your face appear asymmetrical and your nose will also appear fat. The upper lip will be quite swollen which might distort your smile. Don’t worry as it will settle over time.
You might also experience swelling on your nose tip along with the upper lip which might distort your smile temporarily. It is also normal to experience some level of tenderness on your nose and around the face. These can be managed with over-the-counter medications.
Recovery after Rhinoplasty
- Your swelling will start to reduce significantly after two weeks
- The bruising will subside around the eyes
- The shape of your nose will become more and more visible
- You will not see the complete results in the first weeks
- You can go back to your usual exercise routine after two to four weeks
- Stay clear of contact sports for at least 6 weeks
- Do not wear glasses for at least six weeks as they will leave footprints on your new nose
- By the end of six weeks, your nasal bone structure will stabilise and continue to improve over time
- Any lingering swelling will also continue to improve after 8 weeks
- Your nose tip will become more refined as your swelling continues to decrease over the period of 3 to 6 months
- Most of the swelling will resolve on its own by the end of a few months
- After one year, the scars are fully healed and the final results are visible. Your nasal structure will be fully conformed into a new, modified shape with all the oedema gone for good
How Much Bruising and Swelling is Normal after Nose Surgery?
While most patients experience bruising and swelling, the extent of these side effects is based on a variety of different factors. Some of them are discussed below:
Different Rhinoplasty Techniques and swelling / bruising
Certain Rhinoplasty techniques can worsen the swelling. Dr Hunt will guide you in detail in regards to recovery and managing your expectations when it comes to rhinoplasty. For instance, moving nasal bones will lead to worse swelling. On the other hand, if your rhinoplasty procedures involve altering the shape of the nostrils, the swelling won’t be as obvious. The more extensive the surgery is, the more swelling you are bound to expect.
Your Body’s Response to Surgery
Every individual is different and will heal at a different pace. Certain patients are more susceptible to swelling than others. It can be attributed to the age, thickness of the skin, circulation, nutrition, and other factors that influence the natural healing response of the body.
Post-Surgical Care after Rhinoplasty
You will be given detailed post-surgical instructions to follow after the surgery. Make sure that you are following these tips closely to keep swelling, bruising, and other side effects to a minimum. We have created a list of instructions to help you achieve the best possible experience post rhinoplasty.
It is important to be informed about all the medications that can worsen the swelling and bruising post-surgery. Make sure that you aren’t taking them during the recovery.
Smoking will delay the natural healing response of your body. Please avoid smoking, vaping and second hand smoke if you want a smoother recovery.
Tips for Minimising Bruising and Swelling after Rhinoplasty
The following tips can help you minimise bruising and swelling after rhinoplasty surgery. You will be given a list of detailed instructions regarding Rhinoplasty surgery. Make sure to follow all these instructions as closely as possible. At any point, if you have any confusion and concerns, reach out to the surgeon immediately.
You need to be cautious of the medications you are taking during and after the surgery. Do not take any over the counter drugs. Stay clear of blood-thinning medications if you don’t want the swelling to linger for long.
Certain herbal supplements and teas can also increase the risk of bleeding and cause your blood to become thinner. It is important to avoid them during the first 2 to 3 weeks post-surgery.
Use ice on the treated area to minimise swelling after the surgery for the initial few days. Don’t ice burn yourself and wrap the ice in a towel before application.
Keep your head in an elevated position while laying down. Ideally, you should be sleeping in a recliner. If not, stack a few pillows underneath the head.
Do not smoke and drink for at least 2 weeks before and after the surgery.
Staying patient is very important for the recovery phase. Most of the swelling and bruising will resolve on their own in a couple of weeks. However, do not rush the recovery process and let your body heal at its own pace. Make sure to stick to all the pre and post-op instructions.
Returning to Work after Rhinoplasty Surgery
Most people are worried about returning to work or keeping up with their social commitments with all the swelling and bruising after rhinoplasty. Dr Hunt will advise most patients to take a week or two off from work. After the initial two weeks, you can use makeup on your nose to cover up the swelling and bruising while going out in public.
FAQs about Swelling and Bruising after Rhinoplasty
Here is a list of frequently asked questions we get regarding rhinoplasty recovery:
Will I need a rhinoplasty revision surgery?
- The national average of revision rhinoplasty is around 15%. These surgeries are done due to poor aesthetic or functional results. Hence, it is crucial to spend some time finding a skilled and experienced surgeon for the initial surgery. The right surgeon will ensure you are satisfied with the results.
How much swelling is normal after rhinoplasty?
- The extent of swelling depends on the rhinoplasty techniques used to alter the shape and size the nose. Most of the swelling will subside in about two weeks’ time frame if you stick to all the pre and post-surgical instructions.
My nose tip is swelling up, is it normal?
- Yes, it is normal and to be expected. There is nothing to worry about as it will subside with time.
Can I ruin my rhinoplasty results?
- Yes, any damage to your nose during the recovery phase might end up ruining the results. Make sure to take extra care of yourself during the recovery phase and stick to all the pre and post-operative instructions.
Can I use makeup to cover my bruising?
- Yes, you can use makeup to cover your bruising once your incisions have healed. It will generally take around one to two weeks. After that, you can comfortably wear makeup. Avoid putting any excess pressure on the nose while applying makeup.
How should I sleep after rhinoplasty?
- You need to sleep on your back and keep your head in an elevated position. Ideally, you should use a recliner. Alternatively, you can also stack a few pillows underneath your head. Do not sleep on your side or front for at least a month. You can lay flat on your back after two weeks.
When should I get my bruising checked after rhinoplasty?
- It is common for bruising to linger on for a week or two after rhinoplasty. If your bruising doesn’t improve after one week or is getting worse over time, you should connect with your surgeon asap and let him know.
Further Reading about Nose Surgery
- Read Dr Hunt’s Nose Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Rhinoplasty page
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Patient Nose Surgery Before and After Photos
- Blog How to find the Best Nose Surgeon in Sydney
- Blog Ethnic Rhinoplasty – A Nose Job for Different Ethnic Groups
Medical References about Rhinoplasty and Septoplasty
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon performing breast, body, face and nose surgery. He is a member of FRACS & ASPS and has over 20 years of experience providing cosmetic and plastic surgery in Sydney.
Dr Hunt’s personal, one-on-one service and attention to detail has ensured that thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia have received high quality surgical care.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the prestigious University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from some of the world’s very best plastic surgeons.
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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.