Patients from around the world come to San Diego for rhinoplasty surgery. One of the most common questions we hear is “how long will my recovery be?” The answer depends in part on the complexity of the surgery, and on the patient themselves.
Typical rhinoplasty recovery is about one week. During this time there is usually some form of packing in the nose- usually for one to two days. Additionally, there will be a firm splint covering the outside the nose to protect it from getting inadvertently bumped. Sometimes there will be sutures across the bottom of the nose or around the nostrils. Lastily, there may be what’s called an internal or septal splint, used in cases where the surgeon corrected a deviated septum.
While rhinoplasty patients usually have pain medication prescribed, most describe minimal discomfort. Patients may require pain medication for one to two days on average. Some drainage may occur from the nose, and the nose may feel congested. Gentle saline washes can help with this. Most surgeons recommend cold compresses for several days to reduce swelling.
In cases where the bones were manipulated, most patients will experience temporary bruising around their eyes. This usually resolved within one week. This corresponds to the time when the nasal splint is removed.
At one week, most patients feel well enough to return to work or school, with minor swelling and sensitivity around the nose. Minor swelling can persist for several months but is usually not noticeable to others. Our rhinoplasty patients are scheduled for a one month follow up at which time pictures are taken. It is around this time (5-6 weeks) that the bones are fully healed and contact sports can be resumed as well.