Is It Normal To Still Have Swelling Six Weeks After A Rhinoplasty?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I recently underwent a rhinoplasty on September 19th. I found the results to be disappointing so far, it seems that my nose is twisted.  Is this normal, and will the swelling go down to create a much better result? Where may I send you a before and after picture for an evaluation?

A:  One of the most challenging aspects of a rhinoplasty for many patients after surgery is that the final and expected result can take a long time to see . Of any plastic surgery procedure that I have ever done, I find that a rhinoplasty takes the longest to achieve the final result. The skin of the nose can swell considerably, masking any changes that have been done to the underlying osteocartilaginous framework. And since those changes are ultimately what will make the nose look different, not seeing them for a long time can be disappointing and the wait can be frustrating.

It is important to remember that the results of a rhinoplasty are not a ‘TV moment’. Unlike the way it is frequently presented, the final results are not when the splint and take (bandages) come off. In some patients, some of the changes are immediately seen. But in many patients, particularly those with thick nasal skin or who have had relatively minor changes done, the swelling will mask any changes done and it may even look worse for some time.

This is why it is important to try and ignore what you are seeing right now. Swelling always creates distortions, many of whom may go away as the swelling subsides. Six weeks after a rhinoplasty understandably seems like an eternity to you but, in the rhinoplasty world, this is just a small fraction of time. What you are see at six months after rhinoplasty surgery is more relevant as this gets into a time period when revisional surgery can start to be considered if significant deformities/asymmetries persist.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana