Rhinoplasty Recovery Time


We talked about why do people seek a rhinoplasty? Aesthetics versus function. We talked a little bit in the last session about how it’s done? Open versus closed and where the incisions might be but what actually is taking place during a rhinoplasty and how long does it take to recover from that? Well, really what we’re doing is we’re reshaping the framework of the nose and that’s the bone and cartilage.

Sometimes that means we’re trimming some cartilage away to take the volume and make a bigger nose smaller. Sometimes we’re using sutures to actually reshape the cartilage to get a more refined tip of the nose or to elevate the tip and shorten the length of the nose. Maybe the nostrils flare out too wide and we’re bringing those in a little bit.

Maybe the bone is crooked or there’s a big hump right here we need to shave that down, file it down, maybe we actually need to break the bones – what we call osteotomies in order to reposition things to get the aesthetic result that we’re looking for. Did that just the other day and somebody had a crooked nose. Tap-tap-tap with the chisel, what we call an osteotome – break the bones, shift them stabilize them with a splint. All of those are part of what’s done during a rhinoplasty but basically we’re taking the frame of the nose, remodeling it with grafting, suturing, techniques – resection techniques, and then allowing the skin to re-drape over that. It’s really not anything that we do to the skin.

However, the skin can be a big part of that whole healing process. Thicker skin it’s hardly refine the shape because you don’t see if you can make big changes with the bone and cartilage and if you’re putting a big thick layer of tissue on top of it sometimes it’s a little bit harder to achieve. Now with very, very, thin skin it’s easy to see every change. Sometimes it’s actually a little bit hard to camouflage the irregularities in the framework of the nose, if someone’s skin is too thin but here again is where you need to talk with a surgeon. Come in and talk with us about who is a good candidate? How it’s done? What you would be able to expect from a rhinoplasty and how we’re gonna make up for some of these differences in anatomy from one person to another.

Recovery Time - What You Should Know About Rhinoplasty
Recovery Time – What You Should Know About Rhinoplasty

Final question, how long is it going to take? Most people realize that healing doesn’t take place in a day or even a week or even six weeks. With rhinoplasty you have to anticipate that the nose is going to be swollen sometimes for as long as a few months even six months. It doesn’t mean that your nose is fat and swollen for six months and then all of a sudden one day it’s gone but, what happens is there’s improvement things get better and better and better and better over the course of for sure weeks, if not months while the envelope of skin tightens and relaxes and conforms around the new shape of bones and the cartilage.

Thicker skin might take longer, thinner skin may take a little bit less time for that to happen. If we’ve done some work inside the nose for breathing, like a septoplasty which we’ve talked about, again the lining of the nostrils is going to be swollen, so it could take some time for that swelling to go down before those airway passages open up and you get the full benefit of the septoplasty or determinant surgery or whatever we’ve done inside to help your little breathe more easily.

The reality is almost always when the splint comes off a week after surgery, people have a very, very, good idea of what their nose is going to look like fortunately, most people have a pretty big smile at that time but it only gets better. Same thing with the functional work that we do.

Most of the time, a few days after surgery when some packing comes out of the nose and they’re allowed to breathe for the first time almost immediately everybody can tell a big benefit but again it’s going to get better and better and better with time. If you have questions about that, want to know if you’re a good candidate, please come in and talk with us.


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