Things to Avoid After a Rhinoplasty Surgery

More Blogs
Rhinoplasty Surgery

Article at a Glance

  1. Recovering after rhinoplasty surgery requires time and following specific post-operative instructions.
  2. To ensure the best results, patients should avoid sneezing, touching their nose, or any other activity that could stress the healing nose for at least six weeks.
  3. Avoid strenuous activities that raise blood flow, such as aerobics, jogging, and weightlifting, for at least four to six weeks after surgery to minimize swelling.
  4. Practicing a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise routine will help the healing process and reduce swelling.

Going through your rhinoplasty surgery is just the first step to achieving the nose you’ve always wanted. Proper care and avoiding certain activities are just as crucial as the operation itself. Without careful attention to your still-healing nose after surgery, you risk undoing the surgery’s success or damaging your nose.

From eating softer foods to refraining from blowing your nose, get the full run-down of what you should and shouldn’t do after the operation.

What to Expect Right After a Rhinoplasty

Most rhinoplasties are outpatient procedures, meaning you won’t have to stay overnight in the hospital. However, you need someone to drive you home after since you will receive medication that can impair your judgment and ability to operate a vehicle.

When you first wake up from surgery, your nose will have gauze protection and an external splint. You’ll also have a drip pad under your nostrils to catch any drainage.

You might experience some pain and discomfort after surgery, and it’s also normal to have some swelling and bruising around your eyes. Your surgeon will provide you with medication to help manage any pain, prevent infection, and speed up the healing process.

What to Avoid During Recovery 

Your surgeon will also take the time to review things you need to avoid during your recovery period, typically around four to six weeks. Let’s go over a few of the most important ones:

Strenuous Activities

Activities that increase your heart rate and blood flow can cause more swelling and bleeding. These include aerobics, jogging, and weightlifting. You should also avoid bending over or lifting anything heavy during this time.

The surgeon may encourage you to take light walks indoors to prevent blood clots from forming, but other than that, you should take it easy for at least four to six weeks.

Sun Exposure

You’ll have to stay indoors or keep your head covered when you go outside. The sun can cause the skin around your nose to darken and increase the risk of developing a hypertrophic scar, a raised line of scar tissue that many consider unsightly. While these can be treated, it’s best to avoid them in the first place.

Blowing Your Nose

It’s tempting to blow your nose when it gets stuffy, but resist the urge! Blowing your nose can put unnecessary pressure on the healing bones and cartilage in your nose and cause them to shift in undesired ways.

Eating Hard Or Chewy Foods

Many people have trouble eating after surgery because their nose is swollen and tender. While on rhinoplasty aftercare, stick to soft foods like soup, mashed potatoes, and yogurt for the first few days. Once the swelling decreases, you can slowly start incorporating other foods into your diet.


Smoking interferes with the healing process by constricting blood vessels and reducing the oxygen available to your cells. It also increases the risk of developing an infection, so smokers should wait for their noses to heal before picking the habit back up.

Drinking Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is also unwise after a rhinoplasty. Not only can it lead to dehydration, but it can also thin your blood and interfere with the healing process. Wait until you’ve fully recovered before indulging in alcohol.

Extreme Facial Expressions

You might not be able to help it if you laugh or cry, but try to avoid making any extreme facial expressions for at least six weeks after rhinoplasty surgery. These can put undue strain on your healing nose and cause the newly-shaped cartilage to shift out of place.

Putting Ice or Cold Compresses on Your Nose

It’s a common misconception that ice can help reduce swelling after surgery. However, it’s best to avoid putting anything cold on your nose as it can cause the blood vessels to constrict and delay the healing process.


Water can cause infection and delay healing, so avoid any activity that gets your incisions wet. Swimming, in particular, can be dangerous as it requires you to wear goggles and breathe from your nose. These can put unnecessary pressure on your healing nose and shift cartilage around.


Even with the waterproof dressing, we recommend avoiding showers to minimize the risk of wetting your incisions. Instead, take sponge baths and only clean parts of your face with a damp cloth while avoiding the nose area.

Nose Touching

It’s normal to feel curious about your new nose, but try to avoid touching or prodding at it as much as possible. Not only can this irritate the incisions, but it can also move the still-malleable cartilage and undo the surgeon’s work. Also, avoid any activities that could cause you to bump or hit your nose.

Wearing Glasses

Do you have bad eyesight? It’s tempting to put your glasses back on as soon as possible, but it’s best to avoid wearing them during recovery. The frames can put unnecessary pressure on your healing nose and the weight can move the recently-sculpted nose away from the desired shape.

Use contact lenses or bridgeless glasses instead. You can also look into glass support, an adjustable strap that goes on your head and takes the weight off your nose. If you’re on a tight budget, you can tape your glasses to your forehead so they don’t rest on your nose bridge.

Using Makeup

You might be eager to cover up any bruising and swelling with makeup, but it’s better to avoid it for a while. Putting makeup can irritate the incisions and increase the risk of infection. Give your skin a chance to breathe and let the healing process take its course.

Skipping Follow-Up Appointments 

Surgeons have the final say when patients are ready to return to normal activities. They have the keen eyes of trained professionals and will be able to tell if your nose job after care is going well. So, you need to follow their instructions and attend all scheduled follow-up appointments.

Eat Unhealthy Foods

Healing from surgery takes time and energy, and your body needs proper nutrition to rebuild tissue and fight infection. This is why one of the best things to do after rhinoplasty is to implement a healthy diet.

Eating balanced and nutritious meals will help you recover more quickly and reduce your risk of complications. Also, drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and flush out the anesthesia.

Lying Down Flat on Your Back

When your head and heart are at the same level, the blood flow to your face increases. So, always elevate your head with one to two pillows if you sleep on your back.  This position increases the risk of rhinoplasty swelling, bleeding, and pain.

You can also sleep on a recliner or in a sitting position to avoid lying down flat. Do this until your surgeon tells you it’s okay to sleep flat on your back.

Get in Touch With a Trusted Plastic Surgeon Today

Rhinoplasty is a very personal decision, and you should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to learn more about your options and what you can expect after surgery. By following post-operative instructions to the letter, you can minimize complications and enjoy a successful outcome.

Dr. James’s team is always more than happy to answer any questions you may have. We offer in-depth consultations so you can learn everything you need to make an informed decision. Contact us to discuss your rhinoplasty surgery today.

About The Author

Dr. James Wang - Facial Plastic Surgeon

By Dr. James Wang MD PhD

Dr. James C. Wang, MD and Ph.D., is the Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He graduated with Honors from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Sciences Program at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.