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Nose Job (Rhinoplasty)

If you see beauty in something, don't wait for others to agree


What is a rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty surgery changes the size, shape, and structure of your nose. Commonly called a nose job, this popular facial plastic surgery procedure can reduce a prominent bump, narrow a wide tip, straighten a crooked bridge, fix asymmetry, or make your nose more proportional to the rest of your facial features. 

Rhinoplasty is sometimes combined (and often confused) with septoplasty—the surgical correction of a deviated septum, a condition where the wall between your nasal passages is crooked. A septoplasty is performed to improve breathing, while a rhinoplasty is usually performed for aesthetic reasons.

The procedures can be done simultaneously as a septorhinoplasty, with one recovery period. In this case, a portion of your procedure may be covered by insurance.

Average Stay

1 week

Duration of Hospital Stay

1 day

Duration of Operation

3-4 hours

Type of Anesthesia

Local-General Anesthesia

Recovery Time

2 weeks

Who's a good candidate for a nose job?

Chances are high that you know at least one person who’s had a nose job. Rhinoplasty is the third most popular cosmetic surgery, with more than 200,000 patients opting for the nose procedure every year.

Whether it’s right for you depends on a number of factors, including the cosmetic and structural issues you’re looking to change, your budget, and whether you can take up to two weeks off work for recovery.

The best age range for the procedure is between ages 18 and 40. Facial features need to reach maturity before you can have a nose job, so teens should wait until they’re at least 17 years old. 

After age 40, your skin is not as elastic, so healing may take longer. Safety risks also increase with age. If you're an older patient, you may need to provide a more detailed medical history and go through a more rigorous health screening.

How does a rhinoplasty work?

First, you’ll be given anesthesia to keep you comfortable. The procedure can be performed under either local anesthesia with twilight sedation, which makes you groggy and relaxed but still technically awake, or general anesthesia, which puts you in a sleep-like state. Which type of anesthesia you'll have will depend on the complexity of your procedure and the personal preference of you and your surgeon.

There are two primary nose surgery approaches: open and closed. With a closed rhinoplasty approach, two small incisions are made inside each nostril, so there’s no visible scarring.

In an open rhinoplasty procedure, small incisions are made on the columella, the tissue at the base of the nose (between the nostrils), and inside each nostril. This allows full access to the underlying framework of the nose.

The incision is usually well-hidden and only seen if you lift your head back. The skill of the surgeon is the most important factor in achieving a good result. That said, the surgeon is able to see and more accurately modify the nasal structures through the open approach.

Before making incisions, the surgeon often draws guidelines on the nose, indicating the areas that they will modify. 

The specifics of your procedure will depend on your anatomy, aesthetic goals, and surgeon's technique.

  • To reduce the size of a large or bulbous nasal tip, they may remove alar cartilage and use sutures to narrow the tip. 

  • To reduce nostril flare and streamline the nostrils, they may perform what's called an alarplasty by removing a small wedge of tissue at the base of each nostril. 

  • To remove a dorsal hump and narrow the bridge, they may perform an osteotomy to remove a strip of nasal bone and cartilage before bringing the remaining bones and cartilage together.  

  • To rebuild the tip or create a straighter bridge, they may use a cartilage graft taken from the septum (the middle, underside portion of the nose), ear, or even the ribs. Some plastic surgeons use a synthetic material, like a silicone implant, but studies have shown that there may be more complications with synthetic implants. 


Once the nose has been reshaped, the incisions will be closed with dissolvable stitches.

Your nose will be secured with a cast or splint, which you'll wear for the first week of recovery. Our surgeon will remove it at a follow-up appointment.

How long is rhinoplasty recovery?

Rhinoplasty recovery includes one to two weeks of downtime. Most patients are back to work in 10 days.

You can also expect to swell, bruise, and a clogged-nose feeling—but not necessarily pain. Most patients don’t even need prescription pain medication. And once the cast is removed at the one-week mark, that stuffy feeling will dissipate.

“It’s almost like I feel like I’ve got a cold today, as I’ve had more mucus and felt sniffly and was sneezing.”— One of our customers.

These recovery tips can help.

  • Sleeping position matters. Keep your head elevated and sleep on a couple of pillows for one to two weeks post-op, to help the swelling go down.  

  • Don't wear glasses for the first month or two—or ask our surgeon to give you your cast, and you can wear glasses over the top of the cast to disperse their weight.

  • Eat healthy foods. For the first day or two, stick to a light homemade soup; applesauce; mashed potatoes; or other soft, bland foods. Stay away from spicy or salty foods, which can make swelling worse.  

  • Apply cool compresses for the first two to three days.   

  • Resist the urge to blow your nose, which can rupture your incisions. If you have to sneeze, our doctor advises doing it with your mouth open.  

  • Avoid all strenuous activities for the first two weeks and sports where you might get hit in the nose for at least three months.   

How long does swelling last after rhinoplasty?

Swelling after rhinoplasty can be frustrating and affect the appearance of the nose for months. Your splint comes off and you’re excited to show off your new nose to the world, but the results just aren’t what you were expecting.

After a few days, the swelling actually gets worse. Don’t panic—this is normal.

The nasal splint after rhinoplasty is molded to the shape of your nose, so it produces compression of the soft tissues. Once the splint has been off for a day or two, the lack of compression causes the nose to swell. This can make your nose look large or have the remnant of a hump, but it is important to understand that this is the effect of swelling and not permanent.

How much you’ll swell really depends on your body and on your surgeon’s technique. The amount of swelling after a rhinoplasty procedure depends upon the type of rhinoplasty performed [open versus closed], the thickness of the skin, the amount of alteration required to the nasal tip, and the patient’s variability with the healing process itself. Some patients require taping in the tip of the nose to reduce swelling in that area for the first several months after the procedure.


  • Our doctor says you should expect this timeline for swelling after rhinoplasty.

  • Two weeks after nasal surgery: you’ll be “restaurant-ready.” Swelling and bruising will have diminished enough for most people to return to work or run errands without anyone noticing anything is off.  

  • Three months: You’ll have a good idea of the new shape and size of the nose. Most swelling in the upper third will have resolved.  

  • Six months: Approximately 90% of the swelling will be gone, with the remainder in the tip.  

  • One to three years: All swelling will have resolved and you'll see the final shape.  

It can take a year or more for tip swelling to resolve, especially if significant work was done. The tip takes the longest time to heal and mold to the new framework because it is the thickest skin of the nose.

If you feel you still have a bulbous nose tip after rhinoplasty, wait at least a year for it to heal completely before considering a revision.

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