Rhinoplasty is a procedure that takes a good amount of time to heal and allow all swelling to go down. The open rhinoplasty approach is performed by lifting the skin off the cartilage and bone and reshaping those structures. The skin then needs to contract over this new bony and cartilaginous framework. During the healing process after rhinoplasty, a layer of scar tissue forms between the skin and the mentioned framework. This scar tissue layer takes time to settle down and become organized and smooth. The skin takes time to contract down.
I tell patients with normal thickness skin that the swelling from rhinoplasty typically goes down about 25% after 3 weeks, 50% after 6 weeks, but will take a full year to completely go down. The tip skin is the thickest and typically takes the longest to contract and settle.
For thicker skinned patients, it may take 1.5-2 years for the swelling to completely settle down.
It is typically recommended to wait the full healing time before pursuing revision rhinoplasty to allow the nose to “declare itself”. You do not want to have two healing processes ongoing under the skin. That being said, if there is still a glaring dorsal hump after the primary rhinoplasty 6-9 months postop, the chances of that going down are low so you could theoretically have a revision rhinoplasty earlier for this.
Dr. Funk is a rhinoplasty expert in Houston, TX.