Dos & Don’ts of Recovery After Rhinoplasty Surgery

Published: April 4, 2021
Category: Dr. Michael Philbin, Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty, or “nose job,” is one of the most common plastic surgeries performed in the United States. In 2019, over 207,00 people decided to reshape their noses with cosmetic surgery, according to that year’s Plastic Surgery Statistics Report. Why is Rhinoplasty so popular? The nose holds a very prominent position on each of our faces. If it is too large, too small, too crooked, or deviates from any normal appearance, the impact can take a serious toll on our self-esteem. A nose job can elevate your level of self-confidence by balancing your features and enhancing your nose’s overall shape and appearance.

Rhinoplasty Stats

“Rhinoplasty surgery is designed to address the specific challenges a person may have with the structure and appearance of their nose,” explains Dr. Michael Philbin, a Board-Certified Plastic Surgery with Edina Plastic Surgery. “Whether you need to smooth a bump on your bridge or lessen the projection of your nasal tip, a nose job can restore better harmony to your facial features and, in turn, enhance the attractiveness of your face.”

As with the success of any surgery, your Rhinoplasty results are heavily dependent upon your surgeon’s skill and experience. That doesn’t mean that YOU, as the patient, don’t play a crucial role in your surgical outcomes. How you handle your recovery can have a significant impact on how your nose heals. Here are some recovery dos and don’ts to adhere to after Rhinoplasty surgery.

Rhinoplasty before and after


DO give yourself ample time to recover after surgery.

“You won’t be looking or feeling your best the first week after your surgery,” says Dr. Philbin. “It’s so important to take it easy and relax and avoid anything strenuous that can hinder your healing. Although most people return to their regular activities within 3 weeks, I always recommend giving yourself a cushion, so you don’t need to feel that your recovery is rushed. Accidents and mistakes happen when a patient feels like they need to push their recovery timeline up to return to daily life.”

DO continue to be a non-smoker.

Your plastic surgeon will have already instructed you not to smoke for the weeks leading up to your surgery to avoid complications, but it’s just as important to not smoke AFTER your surgery. Nicotine compromises blood flow, which can significantly slow your healing. You’ll not be able to smoke for 2-3 weeks after surgery. As a result, many patients take this time to kick the habit for good!

DO follow your surgeon’s post-care instructions to the letter.

“How well you handle your recovery from Rhinoplasty will dramatically impact the success of your results,” explains Dr. Philbin. “This is the time to follow your post-care instructions to a T. They are a roadmap to optimal recovery, and shortcuts aren’t allowed. No exceptions.”

DO keep your head elevated.

Keeping your head elevated by at least a 45-degree angle after Rhinoplasty surgery will help facilitate draining and reduce swelling. Invest in pillows that will keep you comfortable and prevent you from turning on your side while sleeping. This can put pressure on your nose and cause complications in the healing process.

nose bump graphics


DON’T bump your nose.

“Your nose is tender and fragile after Rhinoplasty surgery,” says Dr. Philbin. “It is so imperative that you avoid any situations or actions that may cause you to bump your nose. That obviously includes sports, but also some everyday habits that many of us don’t consider, like what clothing you wear. It’s also a good idea to avoid people who are very animated and may talk excessively with their hands!”

Most common reasons for “nose bumps” after a nose job:

  • Pullover shirts, sweaters, and coats
  • Glasses
  • Sleeping on side
  • Silverware bumping face while eating
  • Phone
  • Laughing
  • Talking with hands
  • Walking in crowded places (like a concert)
  • Sports
  • Playing with a child or pet

DON’T rush back to the gym.

Avoiding heavy exercise is mandatory for at least 3 weeks after Rhinoplasty surgery. For one, gym and sports activities dramatically increase the chances of a nose bump. Strenuous activity can also elevate your blood pressure and strain your nose’s healing, especially if you are bending over or upside down (yoga). This includes activities outside of the gym like heavy housework and outdoor landscaping, and lawn work too! Instead, focus on gentle walks that boost your circulation, which can actually aid in healing.

DON’T go tanning indoors or outdoors.

“Tanning beds are never a good idea, but it is especially important to avoid indoor and outdoor tanning after your Rhinoplasty,” advises Dr. Philbin. “The skin on your nose will be tender and sensitive, making it more vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays. Unprotected UV exposure after surgery not only causes burning and itching after surgery, but it can also permanently discolor or darken the skin around the nose. A hat and SPF 30 are mandatory while outdoors after surgery.”

DON’T sneeze or put anything in your nose.

Although it can be difficult, try and avoid anything that will cause you to sneeze or need to blow your nose after surgery. It may be advisable for those of us with seasonal allergies to even schedule your surgery around the seasons that affect you. Sneezing generates immense pressure in your nasal cavity that strains delicate blood vessels and healing tissues. Practice sneezing out of your mouth before surgery, as this will be the technique you’ll need to utilize when the urge comes.

“Patients laugh when I tell them not to put anything smaller than their elbow in their nose after surgery,” smiles Dr. Philbin. “Yes, I know, your elbow doesn’t fit in your nose, and that is exactly my point. No nose-picking. If crusts form during healing, a light mist of a saline solution held away from the nose can help soften the area and reduce the urge to pick.”

DON’T be impatient.

“Patience and commitment to your recovery are essential when it comes to ensuring successful Rhinoplasty results,” says Dr. Philbin. “Remember, this is a process. Each week you’ll notice less swelling and bruising as your new nose shape reveals itself. Remember that your surgeon is here for you and reach out if you have questions are concerns. We’re partners in this, and we’re just as excited for your results as you are!”

Are you bothered by the appearance of your nose? Are you considering Rhinoplasty surgery to improve the shape or size of your nose? Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss Rhinoplasty surgery with an Edina Plastic Surgery Surgeon by calling (612) 688-3177 or CLICKING HERE.

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