Rhinoplasty Swelling

Is Rhinoplasty Swelling Normal?

Rhinoplasty swelling can be a scary aftereffect of the procedure, especially if you are not well informed of the typical recovery symptoms. It is important to understand what the nose is subjected to throughout the surgery and what symptoms are likely to occur during short term and longer term recovery. Read on to learn the basics of this procedure as well as the typical recovery symptoms that a patient should expect (including rhinoplasty swelling). We will also talk about a few complications that may arise that can indicate the need for further treatment.

Rhinoplasty Procedure

A rhinoplasty, also known as a “nose job”, is a common procedure that alters the fleshy and sometimes bony tissues of a person’s nose in order to achieve a desired appearance. The procedure can be done two ways: open or closed. The closed version requires only a small incision be made in the inside of the nose and is ideal for smaller changes within the nose. The open rhinoplasty procedure offers a great deal of versatility because the surgeon has better visibility of the nose. This version involves making a few incisions in the inside of the nose as well as a small incision across the columella, or the thin portion of skin that divides the nostrils.


Regardless of the type of rhinoplasty surgery one has, one should expect to suffer from a few symptoms, such as bruising, sensitivity, and pain. Rhinoplasty swelling is to be expected after either procedure, however the amount of swelling largely depends on which procedure was performed. Because the closed procedure is less invasive than the open procedure, swelling and bruising is usually quite mild. The open procedure requires more initial damage to the tissues which is accompanied by more blood being sent to the area to help with the healing process. One is likely to find that the eyes and nose may swell and bruise quite badly for the first couple of days after the procedure.

After the surgery, one is very likely to experience an achy feeling in their face, especially around the nose and eyes. The skin of the nose and eyes may be discolored and the nose may even appear to be uneven. A bit of blood may seep from the area, however it should not be heavy or last longer than four weeks. There is no definite time frame for how long these symptoms last, particularly the swelling, as it could ease within a week or last for a few months. It all depends on how traumatizing the procedure is to the tissues and whether the bone has been tampered with.

Many symptoms can be alleviated with the use of NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as naproxen or ibuprofen, which will treat pain, swelling, and redness. Ice packs are also a terrific way to not only reduce swelling but to also temporarily numb the area so that one feels less pain.

When to Call a Doctor

In addition to knowing what is common or acceptable during recovery from a rhinoplasty surgery, it is equally important to understand when the nose is not healing properly. If the area continues to bleed for more than a month or if it bleeds heavily then the doctor should be contacted right away. Irregularities of the skin, sinusitis, infection, or a reaction to the anesthesia are other possible symptoms to watch out for. In most cases they are not severe and can be dealt with appropriately as long as they are treated early on. One should bear in mind that the final results of a rhinoplasty usually do not occur until around 12 months after the surgery. Sometimes the nose may heal incorrectly, become unstable, or the septum may become damaged. These are all possibilities that could occur as a result of the procedure and should be discussed thoroughly with the surgeon during the consultation.