Rhinoplasty Recovery and Healing
Dr. Lamperti reviews what the post-operative recovery is typically like after rhinoplasty. He also discusses the long term healing after surgery.
"Hello my name is Dr. Thomas Lamperti and I'm a double board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon in the Seattle area. Often patients ask me how long of a recovery period to anticipate after their nasal surgery. The approaches one has with regard to the rhinoplasty or septo-rhinoplasty surgery really do play a role in that. When using an internal, or endonasal approach, versus an external approach there can be some differences mainly in the amount of postoperative swelling that one would have. The amount of pain is generally minimal with either approach. It is more dependent, I have found, on patients' pain tolerance rather than on the approach used. However, recovery-wise for after surgery generally a week or so is adequate. There is often a cast typically on the outside, so you'll be wearing that. And generally you'll want to take it easy for several days after surgery due to the swelling and aching one would have.
[So will my nose be done healing after one week?]
"Now that's really just focusing on the initial recovery. The nose isn't healed after 7 or 10 days really. And it's really a longer term process, one where the nose evolves over many months and even over a few years typically. I tell patients that generally over the first year to expect various changes mainly with regard to the amount of swelling that one would have. Swelling resolves quite quickly, especially toward the top of the nose. But the nasal tip can have residual swelling for several months. Even at a year there's often a little bit of swelling that I would probably notice and maybe yourself personally. Most people would find that passersby or acquaintances or friends wouldn't really notice any swelling, but you can often tell by feeling. That is a bit longer process for that to continue to fine tune really. The skin has to redrape if we're making it smaller especially. You have the same amount of skin available -- we don't remove skin -- but that really shrink wraps over the new nasal structure. And that's a slow process. The younger you are, the thinner your skin the quicker that occurs. But that can really evolve over a couple years. This fact has really hit home when I see patients who come to visit with me regarding trying to pursue revision rhinoplasty surgery. Often they'll say that "You know Dr. Lamperti my nose looked great after my initial surgery with Dr. X. I was really happy with it for 2 years, 3 years. It was really after that that I noticed my nose started changing. It became pinched here in the middle or maybe even the tip became more pinched. It also became progressively more difficult to breath." So this really hits home the fact that the nose isn't done healing at 3 months, 4 months. It looks good and may maintain the look for several years. But if you don't maintain the structure of the nose often there will be an evolution for worst. In which case the nose either won't function as well and/or look as good as you would like. I do find that with endonasal or internal approaches the swelling is less. Certainly not lifting the skin off of the tip of the nose helps with reducing the amount of swelling. However, I won't sacrifice one's ultimate result in order to have a few extra month less of swelling. Your nose is there for a lifetime and we want your results to last the same amount of time. So that is really my overall philosophy with regard to picking the approach that is preferable for your case."
Learn more about the recovery process after rhinoplasty here.