Nose Surgery Information

Pain Level: Moderate-severe discomfort. 2-10 days of pain medication
Swelling and bruising: 1-6 weeks for closed, 1-6 months for open
Numbness: lasts several weeks (tip of nose)
Bandages: Changed in 5-10 days
Work: Return after 1-3 weeks
Exercise (including swimming): Wait 6 weeks
Sunblock: very important for first few months (long term use recommended)
Final result: Seen 3 months-2 years


For faster recovery:

  • Apply cold, dry compresses often (follow your doctor's protocol, some recommend warm compresses after 24 hours)
  • Avoid nasal medications for 3 months
  • Use humidifier and saline spray for 2 weeks
  • Keep head elevated to reduce swelling
  • Avoid blowing or picking your nose for the first 4 weeks to reduce bleeding and abnormal healing


Immediately after nose surgery a splint is usually applied to the nose to maintain the shape. Nasal packs or soft plastic splints also may be placed in the nostrils to stabilize the septum. If it is necessary to pack the nose, it is usually for 2-6 days. Most doctors recommend ice packs over your eyes for the first 2 days to minimize swelling. Pain medication and sleeping pills can help with pain management. The splint will be removed by your surgeon at your first post operative visit (usually a week after the surgery).


After surgery, your nose and eyes will be swollen and bruised, they may ache, and your face will feel puffy. The extent of this will depend on the extent of the operation and if the nasal bones were broken. The swelling and discoloration increase in the first few days and then will subside after the first week or so. Your upper lip and tip of your nose may feel numb for a few months. You'll also feel like you have a cold for the first few weeks because of the congestion of the nasal passageways. A little bleeding is common during the first few days following surgery. Any sudden increase in bleeding or pain should be reported to your physician.


If you swallowed a lot of blood during the procedure, you may be more likely to feel nauseated and possibly vomit post-operatively. Your stool may also be darker due to blood content.

Take the time to ensure that your nose properly heals. The nose is delicate and you will greatly reduce your chance of complications and secondary surgery by following your doctor's advice carefully.

A good diet helps the healing process. Start your recovery with a mild liquid diet (water, juice, soup or broth). It's important that your stomach is settled before you resume normal eating and drinking. Vomiting can interfere with your recovery and healing time.


Keep your head elevated while you sleep. You should also keep your head up during the day and avoid bending over. This will minimize swelling. You may have a slightly longer recovery period, if your surgery required breaking the nasal bones. You are usually able to return back to work in 10 days-3 weeks with make-up.


Although the final result will be apparent in about 2 weeks, small changes may continue to occur over the next 6-12 months. The final outcome depends upon your age, skin type, and healing ability.


The best rule is to avoid any activity which causes you discomfort. Any strenuous activity or exercise that has the possibility of resulting in a nose injury should be avoided for at least 6 weeks. You'll also want to avoid bending over. Check with your doctor regarding bathing and showering; generally it is allowed as long as the nose splint remains dry.

Revisions: There is a 20% chance you will want or need revision surgery. This is because plastic surgery of the nose is difficult and your nose can also change in ways that cannot be predicted following surgery. You must accept this risk before having cosmetic nose surgery.


If you require revision surgery, wait at least one year from the date of your last nasal operation. If revision surgery is performed sooner, it will be less likely to accomplish your desired result.


If Revision rhinoplasty is more complicated than original rhinoplasty. If you need a second surgery, choose a doctor who specializes in revisions.

Long Term Expectations: There should be no major changes in your nose after rhinoplasty. The surgery is normally permanent. Your nose will change slightly with the normal aging process.