How long before I see results from my rhinoplasty?
This is perhaps the most common question presented to Dr. Hochstein. Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. The nose (particularly the tip of the nose) is an area of the body that tends to hold onto swelling for prolonged periods. Unlike other areas where after two to six months all of the results are seen, nasal healing is measured in years. When Dr. Hochstein performs rhinoplasty, there are some specific things he looks for during the post-surgery visits.
Rhinoplasty Recovery Timeline
- 1 week: At one week, when the splint is typically removed, Dr. Hochstein is able to see the basic shape but with no definition. The only thing that can be seen at this point is the shape of the bridge. During this visit, Dr. Hochstein will ensure that the bridge has a gentle curve for a female nose and is relatively straight for a male nose.
- 3 weeks: The next time Dr. Hochstein sees his patients is three weeks after surgery. At this point, a significant amount of the swelling has usually resolved, and he is able to see more definition in the bridge and the tip as well as tip position. Fine shaping is not visible at this time, but the nose will look good enough that there is no sign of recent surgery. Most people think they look perfect at this phase, but the reality is that it is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, many of the pictures on our website were taken at this three-week period.
- 3 months: The next time Dr. Hochstein sees his patients is three months after surgery. At this point, the nose looks very close to the three-week period, but a little more definition is present. After this time, most patients do not want to take time out of their day to come back for further follow up, but the next visit would be at six months.
- 6 months: At this time, the bridge and sides of the nose have lost all of their swelling, and the tip now has good definition.
- 2 years: The last visit is two years after surgery, at which point the tip has full definition.
Factors That Influence Recovery Time
The above timeline is common for most primary rhinoplasty procedures, but various factors can increase or decrease the amount of time between each stage, such as:
- Having thicker skin of the nose can certainly prolong swelling.
- The open rhinoplasty technique will also delay the resolution of swelling.
- Secondary operations will certainly almost double the length of time for healing.
- Steroid injections can influence healing, but this is only used in certain circumstances where there is a lag, as there are risks involved.
Example of the Recovery Process
The patient pictured below is a young lady who had several complaints with her nose. She did not like the hump, the curvature to the right, and the thickness of her tip. She was happy with the overall angle/length of the nose, and Dr. Hochstein agreed. Dr. Hochstein also pointed out that her lip had a poorly defined angle with the start of her nose, and she agreed to let him improve it as well as the size of her nostrils.
The first picture was taken preoperatively on the day of surgery. The second picture was taken two months after surgery. At that point, many of the changes can be seen. The hump is completely gone, and the nose has a clean shape. The tip is slightly thinner and more defined, and the curvature of the septum is also improved to the point that it is barely visible. The nostrils appear smaller, but the lip/nose angle has no discernible improvement. The patient was very happy with the results and had no complaints. The third picture was taken two years after surgery, and you can now see all of the changes that occurred. At this point, there is excellent definition of the bridge and tip, the lip/nose angle is excellent, and the curvature is completely resolved. Dr. Hochstein uses this example to illustrate just how much change occurs even after the patient thinks everything is done.
Although most people will be satisfied with the results of rhinoplasty after two months, the fact is that much improvement is still on the horizon. Overall, there is no procedure that produces immediate results. For a rhinoplasty, it can take many months or even a couple of years to see the final results. Be patient. It is worth the wait.