What Is Rhinoplasty Recovery Like?

Jun 01, 2023
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You know you want to change the size, shape, or function of your nose, but do you know what recovery from rhinoplasty is like? We’ve got the answer for you here.

Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that changes the shape or structure of your nose. Doctors also use it to repair damaged tissues, improve facial symmetry, and/or correct structures that impair breathing. 

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, rhinoplasty is the most common facial surgery; over 220,000 procedures are performed each year.

At 817 Surgical Arts, facial and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Emily Johnson and our team routinely perform rhinoplasty procedures for our patients in the Fort Worth, Texas, area who find their noses aesthetically displeasing or have structural problems that lead to breathing issues. As an informed patient is a good patient, the team wants you to know what rhinoplasty recovery is like so you’ll be prepared.

What is rhinoplasty recovery like?

Your recovery starts as soon as you’re released from the hospital or surgery center. That means you need to be proactive about getting a friend or family member to drive you home since you’ll be groggy most of the day. You should also have someone stay with you for a day or two. While rhinoplasty may be performed on a small percentage of your body, your entire body will feel sore and exhausted, and you won’t want to do things like cook or clean.

Dr. Johnson gives you complete post-op instructions to ensure your nose heals well. The list contains everything from when to take your pain medication to sleep positions that avoid damaging your nose and which activities you can or can’t do. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully, and if you have questions, call us.

Here are some tips for getting through your recovery:


The soft tissues of the nose swell for longer periods than most other places in the body, so you can expect swelling over the next several months post-op, up to about a year. This is especially true at the tip and the sides. You’ll notice a difference in how your nose appears in about 3-4 weeks, but the final results depend on when the swelling subsides completely.

In addition to the inflammation, during the first week or two, you’ll likely have some bruising and tenderness around your cheeks and under your eyes. However, these disappear fairly quickly, even if the swelling doesn’t.

Ice packs are a great tool to calm the pain and bruising.


For most rhinoplasty patients, Dr. Johnson splints the surgical site on the inside and places bandages outside to protect your new nose and support its shape. She typically leaves these in place for about a week, when she removes them and any stitches she may have placed.


The swelling you experience may make you feel a bit “plugged up,” and it can be hard to smell anything or breathe through your nose. You may also feel that there’s pressure in your ears. These are all normal and short-term effects, and most people feel much better in a day or two.

Breathing through your mouth for a week or so is bound to make your mouth and throat dry. Plan on running a humidifier to moisten the air, drink tea with honey, and suck on throat lozenges.


You may be able to get around just fine in a day or two but remember, your body just endured an invasive procedure, and it needs time to recuperate. Plan on spending about a week off of work doing as little as possible until you get your energy back. Strenuous exercise is out of the question for about two months.

When you lie down, you need to keep your head elevated so blood and fluids don’t drain into the already-filled nasal passages. A couple of pillows or a bedrest should do it.

Above all, follow Dr. Johnson’s post-op instructions, and make sure nothing bumps, pushes, or puts pressure on your nose.

Looking to change the size, shape, or function of your nose? Then 817 Surgical Arts is the place you want to be. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Johnson, call us at 817-241-5375, or book online with us today.