What Are The Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages?

The nose is at the centre of your face, so you’d understandably want to see the final results as soon as possible after your nose job. However, rhinoplasty swelling will obscure the results of the surgery for some time. 

Your nose will take time to adjust to its new shape and position, so be patient. Even though the swelling usually subsides after about a year, you will notice changes in the contours of your nose long before then. 

What Causes Swelling After Nose Job? 

Swelling is normal and expected after a nose job. Consider the incisions made during a rhinoplasty as deliberate injury. A part of your body is wounded and has experienced trauma. So, an inflammatory response is triggered. 

A large number of cells (white blood cells, enzymes, growth factors) are sent to the affected area for repair, and that’s one reason behind the swelling. Other than that, fluid retention is also responsible for swelling after a nose job, which also aids recovery. Therefore, there’s no need to panic. 

It’s also important to know that there is no definitive rhinoplasty swelling timeline. How quickly the swelling goes down can depend on several factors, such as: 

  • Thickness of the skin 
  • Complexity of the procedure (readjusting bones, soft tissues, or both)
  • Type of rhinoplasty (primary or revision) 
  • Surgical technique (open or closed) 

Thick skin causes swelling to last longer, especially around the tip. This is because the skin on the tip of the nose is even thicker. Because of this, swelling around the tip is the last to go. Also, since closed rhinoplasty is less invasive, you recover more quickly. 

Other than that, swelling can persist longer if extensive work has been done on your nose, such as a septorhinoplasty. Lastly, if it is your second or revision nose job, you will have swelling for longer than you did the first time.

What Are The Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages? 

Rhinoplasty swelling timeline is usually like the following: 

Post-Op: Day 1-3

Healing begins soon after the injury is made by way of incisions. However, it will peak on day 2 or 3. In addition to the swelling, there will also be some bloody drainage. Together, these can make breathing difficult, and you might have congestion. Mouth breathing can give you a dry throat, so stay hydrated and consider using a throat spray (after consulting with your doctor). 

Keep in mind that the swelling is also likely to spread to the areas adjacent to the nose. Therefore, your eyes, cheeks, and upper lip (maybe even gums) are going to be numb and swollen. You’ll also have purplish bruising extending from your nose to your eyes.

The swelling will make your nose appear thick and fat, but just remember that this is not the final result of your surgery. Also, one side of the nose can have more swelling than the other one, so it can look asymmetrical. Lastly, some people hear whistling sounds coming from their noses. Here, too, you can rest assured that it’s only because of the swelling and crusting. 

Post-Op: 1 Week 

By the end of the first week, you’ll be able to notice changes in the shape, size or position of your nose. Your cheeks, lips, and eyes will be far less swollen. The bruises will have also faded to a yellow-green colour. 

It is around this time that your surgeon will also remove the splint put into place to hold the nasal tissue. The cast will be removed. But once that’s done, the swelling can increase again. Still, many people feel comfortable enough to get back to work after 1 week. 

Post-Op: 2 Weeks 

The swelling around the eyes will go away after 2 weeks, as will the bruises. You will still have some swelling in the nose, but it will be much less than it used to be. 

After 2 weeks, it’s also okay for you to start blowing your nose (although very carefully). If you do this soon after the nose job, you can end up causing damage to the tissues, which will only cause more swelling. 

Post-Op: 1-1.5 Months 

The swelling will continue to get better, and the contours of your new nose will become more and more visible. Here, keep in mind that since the skin on the tip of the nose is thicker than on the bridge, it will look more swollen. But you can rest assured that it will eventually go away. 

Post-Op: 3-6 Months 

Most of the swelling, say around 90% of it, will be gone 3 months after the nose job. If the sensations of your nose had been altered due to the surgery, that too should get better around this time. In the upcoming 6-12 months, however, there will still be residual swelling.

Post-Op: 12-18 Months 

Usually, people see the final results of their surgery after 1 year because that’s when the swelling completely goes away. However, keep in mind that your skin quality and the complexity of the surgery can prolong the recovery period, meaning swelling will take a little longer to go away. 

Right before the 12th or 18th month mark, the contours of your nose will continue to refine, albeit quite subtly. Only after that, you should judge the final results of your procedure. 

How To Minimise Rhinoplasty Swelling? 

Make sure to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon so that you recover as quickly as possible. For the swelling, your surgeon may recommend you the following: 


Gently massage the nose using your fingers (go over the technique with your surgeon). You may need to do it 2-3 times a day. Your surgeon may advise you to use cream when performing the massage. 

Apply A Cold Compress 

Dip gauze pads in ice water and wring them out to make iced gauze pads. For the first two days, apply them to your eyes and cheeks. You should not apply it directly to the nose since it can displace the cartilage and bone. Also, avoid using ice packs. 


Take your prescribed medicines after the surgery. Medicines will be given to you so that you can better deal with the post-op side effects. Keep in mind that any kind of infection can increase swelling, so do not forget to take your antibiotics. 

Keep Head Elevated

Don’t bend down, and prop some pillows underneath your head before sleeping to keep the head elevated. You need to do this for 2 days. During that, you can consider sleeping in a recliner. 

Do Not Put Pressure 

Don’t put any kind of pressure on your nose by sniffing or blowing. Sunglasses can also put pressure on the nose, so you may have to avoid those for a few weeks to months. Also, when wearing a facemask, consider wearing it upside down so that the wire on top doesn’t press on the delicate frame of the nose. 

Have A Healthy Lifestyle

Smoking can delay recovery and even increase the risk of infection, so you need to refrain from it. Additionally, do not drink alcohol for a while. And make sure to eat healthy foods (salty meals can increase swelling) and sleep well. 

Do Not Exercise 

You can start light walks 3 days after a nose job. Blood circulation can even help reduce swelling, but you need to stay away from any kind of vigorous physical activity for at least 3 weeks. 

The increase in blood pressure can cause bleeding and worsen the swelling. Avoid lifting, stretching, or straining. Even after 3 weeks have passed, you should gradually settle back into your old routine. 

Protect Your Nose From Cold 

Many people complain about worsening health in cold weather. This can also apply to your nose job. This is because cold weather can increase swelling. You need to protect your nose from any chilly gusts of wind. 

When To Get In Touch With Your Doctor? 

If at any time you feel that you’re not recovering normally, make sure to get in touch with your doctor. Keep in mind that swelling is not just a sign of healing; it can also be a sign of infection. If the rhinoplasty swelling is worsening and you have any of the following symptoms, immediately contact your surgeon: 

  • Redness 
  • Pain 
  • Oozing pus 
  • Fever 
  • Warmth 
  • Tenderness 
  • Chills and sweating 

Getting treated at the right time may prevent any lasting damage to your nose. 


Rhinoplasty swelling is usually nothing to worry about. Due to the incisions made during the surgery, your skin has experienced trauma, and swelling is just a part of healing. It may get worse before it gets better, but you should know that most of the swelling will have gone away just 3 months after the surgery. 

In fact, many people start enjoying the results of their surgery just after 2 weeks. This is because you will be able to see noticeable changes in the contours of your nose by then. During the entire recovery process, just make sure to follow the aftercare instructions of your surgeon. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with them. 

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