Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages – What to Expect After Rhinoplasty | Dr. Nizar Hamadeh

Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages

Rhinoplasty Swelling Stages – What to Expect After Rhinoplasty | Dr. Nizar Hamadeh

In this digital environment that many of us now live in, there is a lot more exposure, and that exposure can help some explore goods or services online that they never considered prior.

The beauty and cosmetic industry has benefited from the age of social media. Many clinics showcase their work online for the whole world to see. As a result, it piques the interest of those that may benefit from certain cosmetic treatments and procedures.

One of those procedures that have grown in popularity over the years is Rhinoplasty. The global rhinoplasty market size(1) is currently valued at 5.1 billion USD as of 2021. That’s around 4.2 billion GBP.

With that in mind, the interest in rhinoplasty has grown, so it might interest you, our reader. Whether you’ve always wanted to get rhinoplasty or it’s something that has potentially caught your eye for the first time, this guide will help explain what rhinoplasty entails.

Not only that but you’ll get all of the information about what you can expect from the procedure and more importantly, the rhinoplasty recovery time. Let’s dive into the world of rhinoplasty and hopefully by the end, this may be a procedure you’d like to explore.

What is rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty is a surgery that ultimately changes the shape of the nose. There are many reasons why this surgery takes place, depending on who is in question that’s getting the procedure.

The upper portion of the nose is bone and then the lower part is made out of cartilage. Rhinoplasty is a procedure that can work on either changing the bone, skin, or cartilage. If required, it can do all three.

Rhinoplasty (pronounced RIE-no-plas-tee) is done for many reasons. These include:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose(2).
  • Visual aesthetics.
  • Repairing deformities from an injury.
  • Correcting a birth defect.

Getting a rhinoplasty is, therefore, a much-needed cosmetic procedure that might not even be used for cosmetic purposes. Many cosmetic procedures often get given a bad name. However, they can be helpful for many people to help with their overall health and well-being. 

What to expect from a rhinoplasty procedure

A rhinoplasty procedure will typically take anywhere between 1.5 to 3 hours. It’s typically an outpatient procedure whereby there are closed rhinoplasty incisions made within the nostrils.

For open rhinoplasty, an additional incision would be made across the tissue that connects the two nostrils. In some cases of rhinoplasty, additional cartilage might be needed and it’s at this point that this is taken from the nasal septum. 

Rhinoplasty can come in nonsurgical form too which consists of a series of clinic-based procedures, all done while the patient is awake. Injectable hyaluronic acid fillers are used to make alterations.

Dr Sophine Shotter explains how non-surgical rhinoplasty has become increasingly popular,

“Non-surgical rhinoplasty has become an increasingly popular treatment over the last few years. It involves using strategically placed dermal filler to even out lumps and bumps or to lift the nose tip. Even though it is counter-intuitive as we are adding volume to the nose, it makes the nose appear smaller.”(3)

This is all discussed with the professional who will be taking care of your rhinoplasty procedure. Depending on the requirements for the rhinoplasty and the desired result, the patient can discuss what would be their best option. Invasive surgery, after all, is not for everyone.

The swelling stages of Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is a procedure that will typically involve around two weeks of being off work(4) to help recover properly. This also includes a period of swelling that changes over the weeks as the recovery takes place.

With rhinoplasty involving surgery or non-invasion surgery on the nose, it’s not something that can visually be avoided. It’s wise to book some time off so that you’ve got a good excuse to kick back and relax at home, catching up on all your favourite television series.

How long does it take for rhinoplasty swelling to go down? What is considered normal at 1-week post-rhinoplasty as opposed to four weeks post-rhinoplasty?

Breaking down the rhinoplasty recovery timeline

To help understand the full process of rhinoplasty procedures, we’ve broken the rhinoplasty healing stages down. That way, if you’re about to go into your rhinoplasty procedure or you’re looking to make an informed decision on whether it’s right for you, this timeline should help.

1 Week After Rhinoplasty 

During that first week post-rhinoplasty surgery, the patient must be resting. This is crucial to the recovery stage because as many will know, rest can help the body to heal and recover from damage.

For those first few days, it’s likely where you’ll feel the most tender. With rhinoplasty swelling, there will be a significant amount at this stage and it’ll feel tender. It’s also not going to be possible to breathe through the noise.

After seven days, the nasal dressings, splints, and sutures are usually removed by this point. However, bruising and puffiness can appear during this time. 

Some often ask, can I lightly touch my nose after rhinoplasty? The answer to that is no. It’s best not to poke or prod it because this can misalign and impact the healing process.

2 Weeks After Rhinoplasty

By the end of the second week, many patients will find they can go back to work as long as the job itself doesn’t cause too much strain on the body. 

Bruising can typically be covered up with makeup if needed. For anyone who may be in a more labour-intensive or demanding job, it may be wise to be on light duties for a couple more weeks. Any strenuous activities should be avoided ideally for six weeks to avoid any accidents or knocks on the nose.

4-6 Weeks After Rhinoplasty

Is my nose still swollen 3 weeks after rhinoplasty? At this point, the swelling should have decreased significantly. The new nose will also at this point, start to take shape and get toward that result that you’ve been patiently waiting for.

However, it’s important to remember that some procedures where revision rhinoplasty has taken place, will result in more swelling that will take a little more time to go down.

2-3 Months After Rhinoplasty

The swelling by now should continue to decrease and the results of the nose job should continue to showcase themselves on your face! Around the three-month mark, it may be that you’re ready to show off the new nose to the world again. However, it may be that the nose itself doesn’t quite look like the result and this varies from one person to the next.

Swelling isn’t something that will go down for a few months. For many, it can take up to a year for the swelling to go down fully.

6-12 Months After Rhinoplasty

As the year approaches post-rhinoplasty, the final results will begin to show themselves. Any changes will be fairly subtle but when you look at photo comparisons from start to finish, you’ll notice all the little tweaks and changes that have happened over the recovery period.

The patient should notice that their breathing is fully restored and functioning too. As it’s been mentioned, many factors can influence healing time with some taking longer than others.

How much swelling is normal after rhinoplasty?

The swelling is the worst when it’s immediately after during that first week of recovery. Following this surgery, you can expect 90% of the swelling(5) to subside in the first three months. The full result of the last 10% usually comes towards the tail end of a year.

For those that might be concerned about any swelling, it’s best to go back to their surgeon or doctor and discuss any concerns 

Will I need a rhinoplasty revision surgery?

Finally, for some, rhinoplasty revision surgery might be needed (6). This is often a personal choice that has been made where previous results acquired have not provided the desired effect.

If you find yourself dissatisfied with the results you’ve received, then this might be something worth considering. Of course, the same recovery time applies, and in this case, that recovery time might be slightly longer when it comes to overall swelling.

Consider rhinoplasty as a cosmetic procedure 

For those who are looking to make a change to their appearance, especially when it comes to the look of the nose, rhinoplasty might be a worthwhile option. Use this guidance and advice to make an informed decision on whether rhinoplasty is the right procedure for you. You may also like our Rhinoplasty Procedure page which has lots of information about the different options available.


  1. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/rhinoplasty-market 
  2. https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_klbuqc0k 
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelalei/2021/06/22/what-you-need-to-know-about-non-surgical-nose-jobs/ 
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/rhinoplasty/about/pac-20384532 
  5. https://drjonathansykes.com/rhinoplasty-swelling-healing-stages-timeline/#:~:text=While%20every%20patient%20and%20every,and%20bridge%20definition%20is%20maximized
  6. https://dainesplasticsurgery.com/knowing-when-you-need-a-revision-rhinoplasty/#:~:text=If%20you%20have%20had%20a,some%20cases%20its%20function%20too