How Long After Rhinoplasty Will I See Results? Recovery Do’s & Don’ts (With Before & After Photos)

An older woman's side profile (model).

If you have ever searched “how long after rhinoplasty will I see results,” you’ve likely come across our Chicago plastic surgeons’ response, which is that there is more than one answer. While many people look forward to their exciting nose-job-reveal moment, the truth is the results you see at that time are only part of the story. There’s still some healing to be done, and that involves some visible changes to the nose.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the timeline you can expect, what you can do (and avoid) to speed your recovery, and the techniques that make recovering from rhinoplasty today faster and easier than ever.

When Will I See Results After a Rhinoplasty?

You’ll get the first look at your reshaped nose when your splint comes off at your follow-up appointment on about day 7. You’ll see a difference immediately, and it’s often an emotional moment. However, it’s important to note that your nose will still be fairly swollen at this time. While you will be able to return to your usual activities and begin your life with your new nose, there are still some changes to come as your swelling goes down.

How Long Does Swelling Last After a Rhinoplasty?

Most swelling subsides within the initial few weeks, and you’ll likely see a dramatic drop off within the first month. However, residual swelling can last 6 months to a year. While you may not even notice this minor swelling, your results will continue to take shape. It’s best to wait for 9 to 12 months before deciding whether you’re happy with your results or if you would like a revision rhinoplasty. You can learn more about the most common reasons for revision rhinoplasty in this blog post.

See more of Dr. Mustoe’s rhinoplasty results in our before-and-after photo gallery.

What Is Preservation Rhinoplasty & How Does It Affect Recovery?

Both Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno perform a type of preservation rhinoplasty. This procedure preserves as much original tissue as possible by strategically removing bone and cartilage from below rather than from above. This helps maintain an exceptionally natural look.

Preservation rhinoplasty also offers an easier and speedier recovery as it disturbs the soft tissues of the nose less than a traditional rhinoplasty. This leads to less swelling and interference with the airways post-op.  

Rhinoplasty Recovery Do’s & Don’ts

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind throughout your recovery:

  • Don’t work out intensely for the first few weeks. Light walks are OK from day 1, but you’ll need to avoid lifting heavy weights and vigorous exercise for about 4 to 6 weeks or until your surgeon gives you clearance.
  • Don’t blow your nose right away. You can carefully begin to blow your nose after about 2 weeks. Trying before that may cause bleeding and hinder your healing.
  • Don’t use nicotine or alcohol. Both substances interfere with your body’s ability to heal. It’s best to avoid them for a few weeks before surgery and a few weeks after.
  • Do sleep with your head elevated. This keeps swelling to a minimum. You may choose to sleep in a recliner or prop yourself up on several pillows.
  • Do keep your incisions clean. Use a Q-tip and a sterile saline solution as directed by your surgeon to prevent infection.
  • Do call if you have a fever or any other concerns. Our surgeons and staff are always available to set your mind at ease during your recovery.

See more of Dr. Sinno’s rhinoplasty results in our before-and-after photo gallery.

Will I Have Black Eyes After a Rhinoplasty?

It is normal to have some bruising around the nose and eyes. While not everyone bruises, many people do notice some degree of temporary swelling or puffiness. Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno use quick-recovery techniques that limit this by minimizing trauma to the nose during surgery.

How Can I Speed Up My Rhinoplasty Recovery?

Each person heals at their own rate, and the best thing you can do is give your body the time and rest it needs to recuperate. For the speediest recovery, make sure you:

  • Follow your recovery instructions. Your recovery protocol is designed to help you look and feel your best as efficiently and effectively as possible.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated. Give your body the nutrients it needs to heal with plenty of lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.
  • Use cold compresses for the first couple of days. Gently apply ice on and off throughout the day to minimize swelling.
  • Avoid sun exposure. Your skin will be especially sensitive after surgery, and too much sun exposure may worsen your swelling.
  • Don’t wear glasses right away. Wait 4 to 6 weeks post-op or until your surgeon gives you clearance to resume wearing glasses or sunglasses.

If you would like to learn more about rhinoplasty recovery and what to expect, please request a consultation online or call our Chicago plastic surgery office at (312) 788-2560. Our surgeons are happy to answer your questions and confidently help you along your nose surgery journey.

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