A common concern amongst patients contemplating a revision rhinoplasty involves what their recovery timeline will be. After enduring the dissatisfaction and discomfort of an unsatisfactory rhinoplasty, many patients want their revision rhinoplasty surgery in northern NJ to be completed immediately

Although the eagerness to have the surgery completed is understandable, there is an extensive pre-surgery process and patience-requiring post-op revision rhinoplasty recovery period that should be expected. It is most important to choose a revision rhinoplasty surgeon in Bergen County who will partner with you throughout this important and hopefully last operation on your nose.

Most patients are eager to have the reparations completed on their nose and feel that this final step will enable them to finally move on with their lives. With so much at stake, it is easy to understand why patients often become impatient. However, the journey to a better nose is a deliberate process, not a sprint.

Your revision rhinoplasty will often require a new plan that may include different surgical techniques than those that were employed during your previous rhinoplasty surgery.  You may have to expect your revision rhinoplasty recovery timeline to differ from that of your primary rhinoplasty. Interestingly though, recovery from rhinoplasty surgery is somewhat consistent regardless of technique or whether it is primary or a revision.  The differences are mostly in the goals, issues addressed, the management and period of time required to reach final results. Here is a brief overview of what you may experience, however, each patient is unique and your actual results may vary.

Immediately Following Revision Rhinoplasty Surgery

A typical revision rhinoplasty surgery can last anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours, although highly complex surgery may take longer. The majority of revision rhinoplasty surgeries are conducted as an outpatient procedure. Patients are able to return home the day of the procedure, however, you should plan on having a friend or family member drive you to the surgical facility, wait during your procedure and drive you home. It is also a good idea to have someone stay with you for the first night immediately following your surgery to help with activities of daily living and nasal care.

There is no doubt that the intellectual and psychological preparedness conferred by prior experience and a more detailed preoperative process makes the recovery process easier to handle.  In addition, the excitement of fixing unsatisfactory results also makes the recovery easier to endure.

Many patients report that their revision rhinoplasty is not particularly painful and offers a more expedient recovery timeline when compared to their primary rhinoplasty.  A revision rhinoplasty may yield less bruising depending upon the amount of bone work to be done.

You will likely go home with your nose in a formed plastic splint may if the procedure required manipulation of your nasal bones or cartilage grafting. You may also have soft packing placed inside your nose if bleeding is more than expected. More commonly, packing is not necessary and patients use a ‘drip pad’ of gauze held in place by an ear strap for the first evening. It is typical for there to be some bruising and eye swelling and most patients experience a “stuffed up” or congested feeling. The swelling and pressure may be diminished by using an ice pack in the form of a bag of frozen peas. Once any bleeding or dripping has subsided, your surgeon will prescribe a regimen of nasal care with hydrogen peroxide and ointment which will keep your nose from getting crusty.

Revision Rhinoplasty Recovery – Days 2 through 4

Patients generally experience a fairly low degree of pain during the period immediately following a revision rhinoplasty surgery. The pain that is present is rated at most as either a three or a four (on a pain scale of one to ten) and takes the form of pressure rather than sharp pain. You will have been prescribed an oral pain medication, which should be more than adequate to manage your postoperative pain. Some patients experience nausea as a side effect of the general anesthetic, a bit of post nasal drip and the inability to smell/taste that can last for several days.

The most compelling issue in the early post-op period may be the inability to breathe through your nose. Obligate mouth breathing can be a bit uncomfortable and may interfere with normal sleep habits. Your surgeon will likely prescribe a nasal irrigation regimen which helps ameliorate this considerably.

You will most likely be fatigued immediately following your procedure, but after you have rested you can return to light activities. Your main limitation during the first 48 hours is to try to avoid any activities that may cause your nose to bleed. You should avoid activities like blowing your nose, bending over, or straining yourself with heavy lifting. You should not take medications like Advil, Aspirin and Motrin in the early post-op period.

You should purchase a wedge pillow or sleep on at least two large pillows so that your upper body is kept at a 30-degree angle. Sleeping with your head higher than your heart will help keep your swelling and bruising down by preventing your capillaries and blood vessels from dilating. This can also help prevent post-operative bleeding and will help you avoid a throbbing sensation that occurs when you lay horizontally.

If you do require packing, your surgeon will see you within the 48 hours post-op to remove it.

Revision Rhinoplasty Recovery – Days 5 through 7

Some bruising and swelling may still be visible; however, by day 7 in the revision rhinoplasty recovery timeline, it is generally not obvious that you have had a surgical procedure. Swelling rapidly resolves by this time to the point where your splint may even loosen up.

You should return to meet with your revision rhinoplasty surgeon in northern NJ between 6 or 7 days after surgery. Your splint and stitches will likely be removed. Most patients are ready to return to work approximately one week after their surgery. However, you should still continue with light duty and postpone all strenuous activities for a few more weeks. You should continue to take care to avoid rubbing, jarring or bumping your nose. In addition, you should wear a hat when outdoors and limit your exposure to the sun to avoid getting sunburned for up to eight weeks.

Revision Rhinoplasty Recovery – Days 8 through 14

It can take up to 10 days or more for the bruising to fade completely. However, bruising in patients who smoke may take up to 3 weeks or more to dissipate. It is highly recommended that anyone considering plastic surgery quit smoking as soon as possible to improve his or her chance of having a smoother and speedier recovery as well as a superior result.

By this time, nasal care and irrigation will usually no longer be necessary.

Although patients are generally able to return to work after one week, occasionally a revision rhinoplasty surgeon will recommend up to two weeks off from work following more extensive or multiple procedures.

Revision Rhinoplasty Recovery – Days 15 through 30

Patients should continue to avoid strenuous activity for two to three weeks following surgery. After two weeks most patients are able to fully resume their normal activities. Contact sports and other extreme activities should also be put on hold until the two-month mark unless your nose can be protected by a face mask or similar protective wear.

The majority of the swelling should have subsided by this time, however, your nose will continue to heal and reveal itself for several months to come.

Revision Rhinoplasty Recovery – Months 1 through 3

By the thirty-day mark in the revision rhinoplasty recovery timeline, most patients are fully recovered to the point where it no longer appears as if they’ve had surgery. While the majority of the swelling has subsided, the final surgical results will still not be apparent.

Over the next few months, the swelling will continue to decrease and any scars will continue to diminish in their appearance. The swelling on the bridge of the nose will dissipate faster than on the tip of the nose, which generally takes the longest.  Any numbness in the tip usually resolves in this timeframe.

Revision Rhinoplasty Recovery – Up to 1 Year

For some patients, especially those who have received extensive tip work, the revision rhinoplasty recovery timeline may extend beyond one year. Even though a patient has had a revision rhinoplasty surgery, the normal aging process will continue and they may see subtle changes in their nose as time goes by. In addition to aging, minor changes in swelling and scar tissue are normal for up to a few years after the surgery. To be sure that the nose is aging and performing well it is a good practice for patients to continue to meet with their revision rhinoplasty surgeon in Passaic County once a year.  Cortisone injections may be recommended to help diminish soft tissue swelling.

Following your revision rhinoplasty, any visible incisions may appear to be red or raised. This can subside after only a few weeks but may be visible for several months. In most cases, your incision(s) will become virtually invisible by 6-12 months.

Revision Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline

No two patients will heal at exactly the same rate, as each body is unique and will respond to the surgery in different ways. As such there is no definitive revision rhinoplasty recovery timeline, however, the above stages will provide you with a general idea of what to expect. Here are a few additional guidelines to help you achieve the best results and a rapid recovery:

  • Stick with a healthy diet by eating the right foods and drinking plenty of water.
  • Do not smoke. If you do, quit as quickly as possible.
  • Avoid taking Advil, Aspirin and Motrin for two weeks prior to surgery. Be sure to discuss any vitamins, minerals, supplements and medications with your surgeon before surgery.

One of the most important things you can do to optimize your revision rhinoplasty recovery timeline is to choose the right revision rhinoplasty surgeon in northern NJ to perform your surgery and partner with for the best result. Always look for a surgeon with the advanced skill and knowledge to deliver the revision rhinoplasty that will meet your goals.

revision rhinoplasty NJ

Dr. Winters

About Dr. Winters

Dr. Winters specializes in primary, revision, reconstructive, functional and teenage rhinoplasty surgeries. Dr. Winters is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and maintains active memberships in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery and others.