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When Can I Breathe Normally Out Of My Nose After Rhinoplasty?

By: Dr. Christopher Khorsandi


Most of us know what visible side effects to expect after rhinoplasty, including swelling and bruising. While these are certainly some of the most obvious symptoms you’ll experience after nasal surgery, they’re not the only ones. The majority of patients report a feeling of nasal congestion or stuffiness almost immediately after rhinoplasty, which can make it difficult or uncomfortable to breathe freely through the nose. Use this helpful information from top Las Vegas board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Khorsandi and the expert team at VIP Plastic Surgery to learn more about nasal congestion after rhinoplasty, including how long it may last and what you should (and shouldn’t) do in the meantime.

Which kind of nose job do I need?

Nose surgery can be performed using a number of different techniques and approaches, each of which is designed to address a specific set of concerns. Some of the most common types of rhinoplasty surgeries performed across the country each year include:

  • Traditional rhinoplasty: In a great deal of cases, traditional rhinoplasty is performed primarily for cosmetic reasons and can address concerns about the size, shape, width, projection, and other characteristics of the nose.

  • Functional rhinoplasty: Nose surgery can also be performed to improve obstructed breathing or address another functional concern, such as a deviated septum. Septoplasty and turbinectomy are commonly performed to enhance the patient’s nasal function and comfort.

  • Ethnic rhinoplasty: Reserved primarily for patients of certain ethnicities, ethnic rhinoplasty aims to enhance a patient’s nose without compromising their other unique features and overall cultural identity.

  • Revision rhinoplasty: Revision rhinoplasty is often performed to correct surgical error or a “botched” nose job.

Depending on your needs, goals, nasal anatomy, and other factors, Dr. Khorsandi will recommend the most appropriate type of nose surgery for you.

How uncomfortable is rhinoplasty recovery?

The majority of patients tolerate rhinoplasty relatively well, with many men and women taking over-the-counter pain relief medications only. Some level of swelling, discomfort, and bruising are to be expected in the first several days after rhinoplasty, but many patients feel comfortable and confident enough to return to work after about one week. At this point, any residual bruising can typically be concealed with makeup. While the majority of the swelling will subside within the first few weeks after rhinoplasty, very subtle swelling may be present for up to 6 – 12 months.

How to get rid of nasal congestion after rhinoplasty

For many people, one of the most uncomfortable or irritating feelings during rhinoplasty recovery is nasal congestion. As your nose heals, swelling can restrict the nasal passages, making it difficult to breathe through your nose. It is important for patients to remember that, although it may feel like your nose is full, the blockage is caused by swollen tissues rather than actual congestion or mucus. Patients should not attempt to blow their nose for at least 2 –3 weeks after rhinoplasty, or until cleared by Dr. Khorsandi, to prevent damaging the healing nasal structures and compromising their results. Instead, patients may find relief from rhinoplasty congestion by using a gentle saline spray. On average, patients can expect breathing through the nose after rhinoplasty to feel more comfortable after 1 – 3 weeks, though some patients may have a feeling of nasal congestion for several months.

Your Las Vegas rhinoplasty results will be worth the wait!

No one likes the idea of downtime or discomfort after surgery, but with proper aftercare, your rhinoplasty recovery may be quicker and easier than you think. To learn more about the exciting results that can be achieved with advanced rhinoplasty in Las Vegas, NV, call VIP Plastic Surgery to schedule your private consultation or virtual consultation with internationally recognized board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Khorsandi today!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.