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Rhinoplasty is performed on men and women all over the world to enhance and alter the appearance of an undesirable nose. Rhinoplasty can make the nose appear smaller or larger and can improve the appearance of nasal humps, bumps, flared nostrils, drooping tips, or correct the ramifications of a facial injury. While the initial recovery period is shorter than you think, it may take up to one year before your final results are apparent. Between your surgery date and the realization of your results, there are several recovery guidelines to keep in mind.

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Your Nasal Bandages

Following your rhinoplasty, your nose will be bandaged and placed in a splint that will help the nose maintain its new form while healing. Nasal packing in the nostrils may also be required. The bandages and packing can be uncomfortable and will require you to breathe through your mouth. To avoid mouth and throat dryness, be sure to stay hydrated and avoid all tobacco and alcohol use, as these can increase discomfort. Nasal packing will be removed two days after surgery.

Bruising and Swelling

Bruising and swelling are common after rhinoplasty, especially when bones are treated. This bruising and swelling will not only be present on the nose itself but will spread to the area below the eyes and cheek. Most of this swelling will subside within one to two weeks, at which point you will likely feel up to showing off your new nasal appearance to your family and friends; however, some internal swelling may persist. Cold compresses help ease bruising and swelling. Cold compresses should be applied on the hour during the initial days and as needed following that. You should also sleep with your head in an elevated position for the first week of your recovery. This will help decrease swelling and bruising.


Many patients experience discomfort and pain following their rhinoplasty. Oral pain medication will be prescribed before your procedure and can be taken to ease the discomfort. As with all pain medication, be sure that you adhere to the proper dosage. After a few days, most patients switch to an over-the-counter medication like TYLENOL® or ibuprofen. Aspirin should be avoided initially, as this is a blood thinner and can lead to further complications.

Returning to Work

Most patients return to work and light activities within seven to 10 days. The majority of the swelling should have subsided by this time, and all bandages and nasal packing will have been removed.

Resuming Sports

Whether or not your rhinoplasty was performed because of sports or facial injury, you want to ease into physical activity slowly and only after your doctor has approved it. Your nose may be sensitive for weeks, if not months, and you do not want to put yourself in any situation that can damage your results.


Dr. Hiatt performs open rhinoplasty. This technique places the incision across the base of the nose between the nostrils (the columella) and inside the nostrils. Dr. Hiatt believes in this technique because it allows for a better view of the internal nasal structure and allows for more accurate improvements. Because the incision is made on the outside of the nose, a scar will likely develop between the nostrils. This scar is quite small and very difficult to see.


For more information about what you can expect during your recovery from rhinoplasty, contact Dr. Hiatt at Turning Pointe Plastic Surgery by calling (480) 844-1410 or by filling out our online contact form.