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Patience is key

The first thing to understand about rhinoplasty healing is that it can take up to one year to see your final results. This is due to residual swelling. Because it is your nose, you will be the harshest critic and you may see imperfections that are not noticeable to other people. For this reason, Dr. Rousso and Dr. Adams encourage you to attend regular follow-up sessions so that they can evaluate your progress on a timely basis and reassure you that you are healing properly. Additionally, it is advisable to join a support group or online community of former rhinoplasty patients who have experienced the recovery process and who can lend support after their surgery. 

The rhinoplasty recovery timeline

Immediately after surgery

After you wake up from surgery, you will be monitored in the recovery suite until the doctor decides it is safe for you to go home. You will need a friend or family member to drive you home, as you will not be allowed to drive yourself. Your surgeon will send you home with a detailed aftercare plan and prescriptions for pain medications. 

The first few days

Swelling, bruising, and discomfort will peak within the first 24-72 hours after surgery. Then they will begin to subside slowly over time. You can apply a cold compress every hour to help minimize these symptoms. Most patients only need prescription pain medications for a few days, after which they can switch to over-the-counter painkillers.

The first week

After the first week, your surgeon will remove the nasal splint. The nose will likely look a bit strange – too wide and too high. However, improvements to the nasal bridge may be apparent right away. Swelling may cause the appearance of asymmetry in the nose; this is normal. Dr. Rousso or Dr. Adams will fine-tune the nose’s appearance at this stage and may suggest fillers, taping, and massage.

The first month after surgery

At this point, the nose will be much closer to its ideal shape and patients will be feeling more excited about their changes. There will be noticeable improvement in the nasal tip with every passing week. Residual swelling will continue but will be most noticeable for those who have undergone a revision procedure rather than a primary rhinoplasty. Minor asymmetries may still be exaggerated. 

The third and fourth months after surgery

At this point, the nasal tip is beginning to appear more refined and shapely. Your surgeon’s artistry is becoming more evident at this stage. Most patients will feel comfortable posing for photographs after several months. 

The first year after rhinoplasty

Dr. Rousso and Dr. Adams will continue to see patients as needed. By now, the patient is used to their new nose and has likely forgotten they ever had surgery. The nose looks natural and elegant and patients are experiencing all the enhanced confidence that comes with the procedure.

Why choose Rousso Adams Facial Plastic Surgery for rhinoplasty?

Both Dr. Rousso and Dr. Adams specialize in facial surgery, meaning they have honed their skills in this specific delicate area of the body through exhaustive fellowship training that includes extensive written and oral examinations. Using precision, artistry, and meticulous attention to detail, they focus on elegant, natural-looking results that are highly customized to the individual. 

State-of-the-art facilities

Our state-of-the-art facilities adhere to the highest standards of safety and cleanliness and are equipped with the latest in cutting-edge technology. Patients enjoy concierge care on par with the luxury service found in any 5-star hotel. Our dedicated staff can assist in booking flights, reserving accommodations, setting up lab appointments, and making suggestions for dining and shopping. Contact us today to learn more about rhinoplasty in beautiful Birmingham, AL.


What factors can prolong swelling after rhinoplasty?

Patients with thicker, oilier skin and those who bruise easily may need more time for swelling to die down. Revision patients may need nearly twice as long to heal. Lastly, patients who have undergone a dramatic change in nasal shape may need a slightly longer recovery since the skin must shrink to accommodate the smaller nasal scaffolding.

Will my nasal tip be hard after surgery?

It is common for patients to encounter a firm nasal tip after nose surgery. This is due to swelling and is more common when the doctor uses cartilage grafts. Grafting is often essential, as it ensures the nasal shape will remain constant as the nose heals. Tip stiffness typically resolves within around 9-12 months.

When will I be able to wear glasses after rhinoplasty?

Use of glasses and sunglasses can be resumed at about the 6-month mark when the bones have solidified. You will receive specific instructions from your surgeon regarding this issue.

When can I drink alcohol again?

Alcohol is a no-no after surgery because it can thin the blood, encourage bruising and swelling, and interfere with proper recovery. To be safe, abstain from alcohol for the first three weeks after surgery.

Can I sleep on my side after rhinoplasty?

For the first 6 weeks of recovery, you must sleep with your head elevated at night. This encourages proper blood flow and can help to minimize swelling. You can prop yourself up using pillows or a foam wedge. After this phase, you can resume sleeping on your side if it is more comfortable.

When can I resume my workouts?

Patients usually return to cardiovascular exercise at around 3-4 weeks post-op. After 6 weeks, they can typically resume weight-lifting. However, all patients should consult with their surgical team before embarking on their exercise regimen.

Can I wear makeup after rhinoplasty?

Makeup use can be revisited after the first week. The splint is usually removed after 5-7 days and this is when patients can start using cosmetics again. Avoid putting undue pressure on the nose, however.

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