“When will I see my final results? It has been 3 days/3 weeks/3 months, and my nose isn’t what I had expected. Is this the best it will get?”
While most people undergoing rhinoplasty have learned, either through research or from their surgeon, that final results take 1-2 years, many do not know exactly what that means. Below are some facts about the normal process of rhinoplasty recovery after a #NOSEBYNAYAK.
Rhinoplasty Swelling Timeline, With Photos
- 1 week: At one week, your splint will be removed. Expect your nose to look “too fat” and “too up!” If you are having your profile changed significantly, expect to be able to see much of the improvement at the bridge at this point – especially if a large hump was removed. On front view, you may feel like your nasal tip, the fronts of your cheeks, and your upper lip look fat, wide, stiff, or swollen. Bruising ranges from none (50% of patients), to mild (40%), to moderate (10%) – as in the example below. Exaggeration of minor asymmetries by uneven swelling is common. Fine tuning of shape with injections, taping at night, or specific massage techniques are utilized at this visit about 20% of the time.
- 4-6 weeks: Your next visit will be about a month later, at 4-6 weeks postop. Most patients are becoming very excited about the shape of their nose by this time, and are noticing marked improvements in the shape and position of their tip on a weekly basis. While most patients feel they look great at this stage, some with thicker skin, or who have undergone revision surgery, may have significant residual swelling. In no case is the shape at this point “final” – there is still a lot of swelling resolution and tissue remodeling to come! Exaggeration of minor asymmetries by uneven swelling is beginning to resolve. Fine tuning of shape with injections or specific massage techniques are utilized at this visit about 10% of the time.
- 3-4 months: At this visit, your tip is beginning to show more and more refinement. The real art of rhinoplasty is seen in creating elegance of the tip, and hints of this elegance are now starting to become apparent. While the nose is not as delicate as it will be at 1-2 years, most people would feel comfortable appearing for important photographs, such as senior photos or wedding photos, by this point. In many cases, this is the last visit necessary for rhinoplasty follow up. Injections, taping, and massage are rarely indicated at this stage.
- 6 months, 1 year, 2 years: Visits are offered at these stages on an as-needed basis, and most patients find them unnecessary. Over this time, final results become apparent, and you will be able to truly enjoy your rhinoplasty – by forgetting you ever had it. Your nose will seem like it has always been a part of your face, and looking back on your old nose in photos will seem foreign.
Sometimes, Recovery Takes Longer…
Factors that can prolong complete resolution of swelling include:
- Thicker skin, oily skin, or personal tendency towards easy bruising or swelling.
- Revision surgery – primary rhinoplasty heals most quickly, as described in the timeline above. Revision surgery can take up to twice as long.
- Dramatic reduction of the size of the nose. No skin is removed during rhinoplasty, so the proportionately larger skin envelope will take longer to remodel to the new, smaller nasal framework.
Example Of The Recovery Process
Erin, above demonstrates several concerns that are routinely addressed in rhinoplasty. She was confident and beautiful even before her surgery, and most laypeople would not understand why she would seek rhinoplasty. She, however, like many people, was bothered by a slight dorsal hump, a slightly droopy/soft nasal tip, and wide nostrils. She felt all of those features were accentuated when she smiled, and detracted from her eyes, smile, and overall appearance.
The photos above, and in the document attached, show her personal recovery journey as demonstrated through selfies taken at various stages during her recovery. At one week, you can appreciate a better profile, but marked doughiness/roundness/elevation of the tip. Her smile is stiff, and her cheeks and lip are swollen. She is also among the most bruised patients Dr. Nayak has seen at 1 week.
By 1 month, most of the cheek and lip swelling has resolved, and the nasal tip shape and position are much more natural. Swelling of the tip continues to improve, and is really fading by the 3.5 month photo. Things look even better at 6 months, and will continue to improve or 1-2 years after surgery.