One of the more common questions during a rhinoplasty consultation relates to swelling- How long does it take for the swelling to go down? For many, it is important as swelling is one of the visual indicators that your nose is healing after surgery.

So, how long does it take?
It depends. Unlike other procedures, rhinoplasty doesn’t offer a final result after only a few months. In some cases, it can take up to a year or longer before the swelling will hit its final status. This doesn’t mean that your surgery didn’t go well. It only means that healing is individual, and sometimes related to the type of rhinoplasty procedure performed. Usually this lingering swelling isn’t necessarily noticeable. It is important to remember that it is completely normal that the nose is still healing even if the swelling has gone down some.

How much swelling should you expect?
At first after the rhinoplasty is completed, the nose may be twice the size of the patient’s original nose. This will only be temporary and will go down pretty fast. Once a week has passed and the cast is removed, you will notice some moderate swelling of the nose. In many cases, this swelling is only noticeable to you. Many rhinoplasty patients will feel comfortable going to work and going out in public once again after the cast comes off. However, it is normal for patients to only like parts of their nose at this time. After about a month, most of that swelling has gone down to significantly and it is at this point that you will begin to see the results of surgery.

What should you take into consideration?
Three months or so after surgery, most patients are more than happy and confident having their picture taken, With this in mind, it may be a good idea to schedule your rhinoplasty three to six months before any big events- such as a wedding, etc.

Remember- after three months any remaining swelling will slowly fade over time. Because everyone is different, there will be different responses to the rhinoplasty. Some patients may notice a lot of swelling that takes a long time to fade while others may notice that they have minimal swelling.

Other factors that influence the amount of swelling include the area where the surgery occurred, the surgical approach used by the doctor, the thickness of the skin, care after the procedure and the patient’s ability to heal. Obviously the more extensive of the procedure performed will produce greater swelling as well as a longer lasting swell. It is important to note that the nose tip tends to stay swollen longer than other parts of the nose. Swelling that is persistent is often managed in an office setting and taping the nose is involved so long as the skin can easily tolerate the tape, modifications of diet and some steroid treatments may also be used. These are called Kenalog injections.