Plastic Surgery Blog

Tips to Reduce Swelling After Rhinoplasty

Have you chosen to take the valuable self-improvement step of rhinoplasty? You have reason to be proud. While others only talk, you’ve taken action.

Despite thorough preparation, however, patients can be surprised by swelling. Depending on the extent of your procedure, the worst of it usually lasts only a few days. Still, rhinoplasty’s full healing process can take several months, and during this time, swelling can return. 

Relax; swelling is a healthy sign your body is trying to heal itself. The challenge is, while we want to heal, we don’t necessarily see effects on our faces. Your best option is to do everything to support healing and act to minimize the appearance of swelling as it occurs.

The following tips to reduce swelling after rhinoplasty will help you accomplish both goals.

Follow All Post-Surgical Instructions 

Patients often leave their rhinoplasty procedure with packing or splint devices in their nose to prevent blood loss and support initial recovery. Typically, within a few days, you’ll return to have them removed, along with any stitches. You’ll receive a set of detailed instructions on medications and the care and cleaning of the surgical site. 

Be sure to follow all of them, and don’t hesitate to contact HKB if you have any questions.

Avoid Specific Medications and Supplements

As you may know, our bodies naturally send blood to wherever healing needs to take place. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and some nutritional supplements thin the blood and inhibit its ability to clot and stop any bleeding. And, in the first week after surgery, stopping any initial bleeding is a priority.

Otherwise, an open incision may cause your body to send more blood to your nose, which increases swelling. To manage pain, your doctor may suggest you temporarily use Tylenol or other non-blood-thinning medicines.

Stop Smoking

Your doctor will require you to quit smoking for a period before AND after rhinoplasty. There are a couple of reasons for this. 

First,  smoking delays your body’s healing process by introducing a variety of toxins into your system. Second, nicotine constricts the blood vessels, which prevents them from doing the job of healing your nose.

Use Ice

There’s nothing wrong with relying on an old-fashioned remedy if it works. Ice has the natural property of decreasing swelling. That’s because your body’s reaction to cold is to drain excess blood from the exposed area. 

Especially in the days immediately following rhinoplasty, ice is an effective way to decrease excess swelling. You can use ice packs on your cheeks multiple times a day during this period. To prevent frostbite, be sure to wrap the ice packs in a clean cloth before applying to your skin, and never leave them on for longer than 20 minutes at a time.


Gravity has a significant impact on our blood flow. After your rhinoplasty procedure, your doctor will suggest you sleep in a recliner or with your head elevated by pillows for a few days.

Doing so will prevent you from rolling over onto your nose and will minimize swelling. Don’t worry. Your body will still send enough blood to your nose to do the work of healing. If swelling returns over the next few months, repeat this technique.

Keep a Positive Attitude

Always remember, recovery from rhinoplasty is a process, not an event. Your best weapon against swelling is your ability to put it in perspective. No two patients recover the same. You may have good days when you have no swelling, and you think you have finished healing, and not-so-good days when it returns.

Again, this is normal. Rhinoplasty is one of the most common procedures plastic surgeons perform. The physicians at HKB know how essential your recovery is and how to see it through. And, whatever supports your recovery is likely to reduce swelling as well. Most patients concerned about setbacks find themselves ecstatic with their results within a few weeks or months.

The physicians and staff at HKB stand ready to support you through to full recovery. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact them at their Charlotte, NC office today.