how long does rhinoplasty take

How Long Does Rhinoplasty Take?

Understanding how long a rhinoplasty takes can help you plan ahead while considering improvements for your nose. These procedures can help you improve the appearance of your nose or help you breathe more easily—your goals may affect how long the rhinoplasty takes.

This guide will help you understand how long the surgery takes and what to expect from the overall recovery process. You’ll learn how surgical techniques and your commitment to following care instructions can affect the time required for a rhinoplasty. 

Every Rhinoplasty Is Different, But Why?

A Rhinoplasty, or “nose job” procedure, is always customized to meet the needs of each individual patient. Many factors influence the goal of a unique nose shape, for example. Most of them also affect the procedure’s length and complexity. 

Let’s look at some key factors that make each rhinoplasty different. 

The Number of Changes Being Made

The extent of the modifications you wish to make plays a significant role. Simple adjustments like refining the nasal tip might require less time. However, comprehensive reshaping may involve the nasal structure, nasal passages, and septum. It could also require grafting and fillers. More extensive changes often mean a more extended surgery. 

The Method (Open/Closed)

Rhinoplasty procedures come in two main types: open and closed. In open rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes a small incision. It’s under the columella, between the nostrils. This cut allows direct access to the nose. It’s often used for complex cases and can take more time. 

By contrast, surgeons perform closed rhinoplasty through cuts made in the nostrils. It’s quicker and is used for more straightforward adjustments. 

Special Challenges

Some people have unique anatomical differences. They may have a deviated septum, deformities, asymmetry, or past injuries that caused a broken nose. These can make surgery more challenging. These patients might need complex procedures, which directly affects the time required for surgery.

Surgical Goals: Cosmetic vs. Functional

As you learned above, the main goal of rhinoplasty is a critical factor in determining the surgery’s complexity. 

Cosmetic surgery aims to enhance looks. Meanwhile, reconstructive surgery focuses on fixing function (for example, fixing a deviated septum to improve breathing). This correction might be different in scope and time from cosmetic adjustments. 

Experience of the Plastic Surgeon 

Your board-certified plastic surgeon’s skill and method affect the length of the procedure. Experienced surgeons are familiar with many techniques. They can work around your unique nasal shape.

How Long Does the Rhinoplasty Surgical Procedure Itself Take?

It’s natural to wonder how long it will take to reshape your nose. However, it’s hard to give a single answer. We can provide general estimates to manage your expectations.

On average, a rhinoplasty surgical procedure can take 1.5 to 4 hours. 

This range accounts for the diversity in procedure types (open or closed rhinoplasty), the complexity of the changes, and each patient’s anatomy. 

Minor adjustments require little time. An example might be a closed rhinoplasty to refine a nose tip. These simpler cases could be shorter, taking about 1.5 to 2 hours.

A patient choosing open rhinoplasty might need about 3 hours. The surgeon will reset the nasal bones using a specific approach. For functional and cosmetic reasons, fixing a deviated septum with septoplasty takes time. It makes the surgery last 3.5 to 4 hours

Revision rhinoplasty can correct or improve a nose from prior surgeries. These can last over 4 hours. These cases are usually more time-consuming. 

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Rhinoplasty?

One Week: Time to Remove Cast

After rhinoplasty, a cast or splint will protect your nose and maintain its shape for the first week. At the end of the week, your surgeon will remove it during a follow-up. This step marks the first look at the changes, yet swelling will still be present. 

Two Weeks: Time to Return to Most Gentle Activities

After 2 weeks, you should feel much better and resume most regular activities. However, avoid heavy lifting or intense exercises that stress your nose. Also, most visible bruises should be gone by then. This makes it easier to move on with your daily life.

Four to Six Weeks: Light Exercises Can Resume

After about a month to 6 weeks, your surgeon may give you the green light to resume light exercise. Walking and light cycling are usually safe. However, listening to your body and avoiding strenuous activities are crucial. This phase is vital for your health. It improves blood flow, aiding in healing. Remember, the goal is to reintroduce activity gradually. 

Three Months: Noticeable Reduction in Swelling 

At three months, swelling around the tip of your nose will decrease. Your new nose shape will also become defined. Sometimes, minor swelling can last up to a year. 

One Year: Final Results and Full Healing

After about a year, your rhinoplasty results are clear. Most swelling is gone by then, and tissues have adapted to their new shape. This is a crucial moment for patients. They can now appreciate the surgery’s outcome.

How to Keep Your Rhinoplasty Recovery On Schedule

Follow All Instructions From Your Surgeon

This cannot be overstated; following your plastic surgeon’s post-operative instructions is crucial. 

You will be provided with guidelines for caring for your surgical site. They cover over-the-counter medicines or supplements to aid healing and cut infection risk. They also cover when to return for follow-up visits. They support and quicken your recovery time, so stick to them. 

Remain Out of Direct Sun Exposure

After rhinoplasty, your nose will be more sensitive, especially to sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause discomfort, swelling, or skin discoloration. So, protect your skin and results by wearing a hat and applying high-SPF sunscreen.

Avoid Tobacco Products 

Smoking or using other tobacco products hinders your healing process. Tobacco smoke decreases blood flow to your tissues. This delays your recovery period and raises the risk of complications. Avoiding tobacco entirely is best for a smooth recovery and enjoying your new nose sooner.

Keep Your Head Elevated

Especially in the first few weeks after surgery, keeping your head elevated helps. You should do this even when sleeping. It can help reduce swelling. Use a couple of extra pillows to prop yourself up. This small change can affect your comfort. It can also help keep your recovery on track. 

Schedule a Rhinoplasty Consultation to Get the Best Answers

Remember, each rhinoplasty journey is unique to the person. The best way to get specific answers is to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon. They can tell you how long the procedure and recovery will take.

Your Next Step 

If you’re considering rhinoplasty, contact our office. Dr. Jay Calvert is a certified plastic surgeon specializing in all types of plastic surgery. In your consultation, you can share your nose goals, explore procedure options, and learn about recovery. 

Book your consultation today and learn more about our nose surgery services.