Rhinoplasty: What to Expect Malone Facial Plastic Surgery

Facial Plastic Surgeon

You’ve looked at before-and-after photos and scoured the web for information about Rhinoplasty. Perhaps that has left you wondering what life would be like if you moved forward with the procedure. This article covers how to prepare for rhinoplasty and advice on recovering from surgery so you can get a realistic picture of what to expect.

Medical Evaluations and Lab Tests

During your consultation, your surgeon will ask about your medical history to determine if you are a candidate for rhinoplasty. Sometimes, lab testing is required. Your surgeon may order bloodwork to check hemoglobin levels and blood-clotting abilities. Women also need to take a urine test on surgery day to check their HCG levels, an indicator of pregnancy. If pregnant, surgery cannot proceed.


Address Outside Health Issues

The better your health, the better your recovery. If you have chronic health conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, or respiratory problems, discuss these with your surgeon. Don’t hesitate to speak openly with your doctor. Even seemingly unrelated medical issues can heighten the risk of surgical complications. They will let you know during your consultation if it is safe to proceed with Rhinoplasty.

Medications and Supplements

Certain medications can increase the risks of anesthesia, bleeding, or bruising. Your surgeon will review all your medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements. They will let you know if you need to pause or adjust your medications before rhinoplasty. They may also prescribe antibiotics or pain relievers to take as you heal. Please fill all your prescriptions at the pharmacy a few days before your surgery.


In addition to adjusting medications, you will also need to quit if you smoke. Smoking greatly increases the chance of complications from Rhinoplasty. Risks include tissue death, slow wound healing, and fatality from anesthesia. For the safest surgery and recovery possible, avoid nicotine for at least six weeks before and after your procedure.

Meal Planning

Staying hydrated and eating healthy foods can go a long way in supporting a successful recovery. Carrying heavy bags of groceries, bending, and exertion are off-limits for the first few weeks, which can make cooking a challenge. Instead of relying on takeout 24/7, go grocery shopping in advance. Stock up on simple foods that don’t require much preparation to enjoy, and steer clear of spicy or salty foods, which can worsen inflammation.

Block off Your Calendar

Swelling and bruising under the eyes can last one to two weeks. You’ll also likely have to wear a nasal splint for seven days. Most patients look presentable enough to go back to the office and attend social events in 10 to 14 days. In the meantime, take the opportunity to rest, heal, and focus on your recovery from the comfort of your home.

Consider Your Environment

You deserve a little TLC after your Rhinoplasty procedure. As your surgery date approaches, prepare a healing place to come home to. Add soft bedding and pillows to your bed, place chargers and devices where you can easily reach them, and create a plan to stay entertained, whether through movies, getting lost in a good book, or whatever else you need to be fully relaxed.

Ask for Help

You may feel groggy, tired, or nauseous after anesthesia. While you won’t be bedridden after rhinoplasty, someone needs be present to drive you home and look after you for the first 24 hours. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends or family for assistance. Everyone needs a helping hand after surgery. Whether it’s grabbing you an extra blanket, handing you a box of tissues, arranging a ride for the kids, or preparing meals, you don’t have to go it alone.

Be Prepared

Rhinoplasty may be a cosmetic procedure, but that doesn’t mean it is free of risks. Infection, numbness, difficulty breathing, poor scarring, and asymmetry are just a few of the possible risks associated with the procedure. At your consultation, you will receive a list of possible side effects and complications that can occur. Set aside time to review the list carefully, and let your facial plastic surgeon know if you have any questions. You will be asked to sign a document showing you have read and understood the risks before coming in for your surgery.

What should you know ahead of time about life post-surgery?

While rhinoplasty isn’t major surgery, you will need to take some time off from work, school, and other activities. Despite the initial swelling and bruising, most patients look socially presentable within two to three weeks. Nasal congestion and discomfort typically last one to three weeks on average, although it may last longer in some patients.

Incisions and Scars

Most patients have their nasal splint and any stitches removed seven days later. Open Rhinoplasty leaves a small scar across the columella, the strip of skin that divides the nostrils. The scar typically heals very well and should become less visible over time. For the best-looking scar, don’t pick at the incision as it heals. You should also limit sun exposure or apply broad-spectrum SPF every day for the first year so the scar can fade to a fine line. Finally, do not blow your nose for at least three weeks, as it can aggravate the incisions.


After Rhinoplasty, patients should avoid strenuous activities for up to six weeks. This includes exercise, playing sports, carrying heavy groceries, and lifting young children. Your surgeon will tell you when it is safe to participate in vigorous activities and exercise again. That said, most patients feel well enough to resume socializing, work, and light activities within two to three weeks.

Mental health impacts

While most patients are simply excited to see their results, some individuals experience post-operative depression. They may feel bored, frustrated, or uncomfortable as they recover at home. Some patients even start to second guess whether having rhinoplasty was the right choice, especially since the final results are not immediately visible. These feelings are normal and usually temporary. Speak to your doctor if you feel new or worsening depression. They can help you sort through how you are feeling.

Your New Normal

After six weeks, you should feel comfortable getting back to your daily routine with fewer restrictions. Keep in mind it can take up to a year for the nose to fully heal after rhinoplasty. For the best results, take precautions when playing sports, tussling with overly excitable pets, and other activities that have the potential to cause a traumatic nose injury, especially during the first 12 months.

Learn More About Rhinoplasty

If you have been considering Rhinoplasty, take the next step and book a consultation with a board-certified facial plastic surgery expert such as Dr. Melanie Malone. She can tell you more about what to expect before, during, and after rhinoplasty and answer all your questions.

Get a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Malone in her storied practice in La Jolla, CA

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