Managing Swelling After Rhinoplasty

After your nose job, patients are often excited to unveil their new nose; however, swelling occurs normally during the recovery process before it subsides. After cast removal a week following surgery, swelling may continue or increase over the next few days to a week, with various factors influencing this, including the rhinoplasty technique used, the extent of the surgery, postoperative care, and the patient’s body response. It is essential during the recovery process to avoid things that can increase swelling.

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  • Avoid excessive activity: Increased activity can cause the nose to swell and, on occasion, bleed. Activity restrictions are recommended for the first 2-3 weeks after surgery. Some activities should be avoided for up to a month.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol: Smoking and alcohol consumption extend the healing process and can increase swelling following surgery.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure: The nose is more sensitive to Ultraviolet rays following surgery and will swell in response to sun exposure. It is important to use sunblock and potentially wear a hat if you have to be outside for a prolonged period following surgery.
  • Diet: Avoiding foods with a high salt content can help minimize swelling.
  • Sleep position: Sleeping with your head elevated can help to decrease swelling in the mornings. As the day progresses, most patients will notice a decrease in their swelling.
  • Weather: Heat can increase swelling after a Rhinoplasty

Appropriate Measures to Manage Swelling After Rhinoplasty

  • Follow any instructions given by the surgeon. After a Rhinoplasty, your surgeon offers detailed instructions on various measures to allow the nose to heal well.
  • Apply cloth-covered ice or a cold pack several times daily for a few minutes at a time for the first few days following surgery.
  • Elevate the head, particularly throughout the first two weeks.
  • Eat a balanced diet high in protein and antioxidants to help repair the nasal tissue; low protein intake increases swelling. Avoid excess salt.
  • Allow your body the time, space, and relaxation to heal effectively.
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Down the Line

While patients are often discouraged or concerned about the swelling after surgery and the variation of the nose shape on a daily or weekly basis, it is important to remember that swelling will go down slowly throughout the recovery process. Healing after rhinoplasty can be significant and noticeable for 1-2 years following the surgery. The day-to-day variations and the effect of exercise, diet, and other factors will be less and less of a concern as time goes on. Healing is a marathon and not a sprint. We suggest that our patients take a photo every month in the same room and with the same lighting in order to compare and evaluate their progress on their own. Dr. Westreich and his staff are committed to supporting their patients through their healing journey, and that is why they see their patients often throughout the first year following surgery.

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