How Much Time Should I Take Off Work for Rhinoplasty?
Choosing the right riming for your rhinoplasty surgery can be a challenge. Many of patients are surprised to discover that while 2 weeks off work is ideal, they can actually get away with 1 week if they are comfortable being seen with a little bruising or swelling. And how will you feel? Not usually as bad as people expect. The most common complaint is that the most annoying side effect of surgery is a stuffy feeling in the nose which lasts a week or so and that discomfort is mild and easily controlled with the pain medication.
You may be wondering how much time you’ll need away from work in order to recover. While the answer depends on several factors, including your job and comfort level around being seen with a cast on your nose and/or some bruising/swelling, a general recovery timeline can help make the decision easier.
The First 7 Days After Nose Job Rhinoplasty Surgery
In the first week following surgery, expect to:
- wear a cast on your nose for seven days;
- feel congested for three to seven days;
- keep a piece of gauze taped under your nose (to catch any excess fluid/blood) for three days;
- feel some slight discomfort when your swelling reaches its height at around Day 3;
- feel tired/groggy if you choose to take pain medication;
- see some bruising/swelling around your nose and eyes; and
- have your cast removed on Day 7
TIP: Patients who don’t mind being seen with some bruising/swelling on their face usually take one week off work – so long as their job involves light, seated activities and doesn’t require them to do any heavy lifting or physical labour.
Day 8 to 14 After Nose Job Rhinoplasty Surgery
In the second week following surgery, expect to:
- see the dissolvable sutures in your nose start to come out on their own (if you had open rhinoplasty) at around Day 10;
- see your bruising/swelling improve or completely disappear;
- feel comfortable being seen in public, though your nose may still slightly swollen;
- return to most normal activities (other than strenuous physical labour/exercise); and
- easily hide your incision, which may be red and bumpy, with makeup.
TIP: Patients who want to keep their surgery a secret usually take two weeks off work.
Day 15 to 21 After Nose Job Rhinoplasty Surgery
- In the third week following surgery, expect to:
- see subtle changes in your nose as any lingering swelling subsides;
- return to all normal activities, including most forms of exercise;
- notice the tip of your nose start to drop if your surgeon purposely over-rotated it; and
- easily hide your incision, which may still be a bit red, with makeup.
Day 22 & Beyond After Nose Job Rhinoplasty Surgery
In the fourth week following surgery and beyond, expect to:
- no longer see your incision after two or three months;
- be completely healed, save for a small amount of lingering swelling in the tip of your nose; and
- continue to notice subtle changes in your nose for up to a year.
Comfort Level & Job Requirements After Nose Job Rhinoplasty Surgery
Again, how much time you take off work largely depends on how comfortable you feel being seen with certain signs of surgery, as well as the type of work that you do. If you work from home at a desk, you might feel well enough to do light paperwork two days after surgery. While scheduling a business call too soon may mean speaking sounding congested, you can do as much or as little seated deskwork as you like. If you have a job that involves being active (e.g., a personal trainer or nurse), you should hold off on returning to work for two weeks, regardless of feeling ready sooner than that. Finally, if you work outdoors, remember to protect your incision with sunscreen to promote proper healing.
Can’t Take Two Weeks Off?
If you’re only able to take one week off work and your job involves physical activity, see if you can switch to deskwork temporarily for the second week of recovery. If you’re required to return to work after a week but feel self-conscious about your appearance, decide whether you feel comfortable telling colleagues/clients about your rhinoplasty. If not, you may wish to prepare an alternative story in advance, should anyone notice some bruising/swelling on your face.
If your profession centres around your physical appearance (e.g., a model or actor), you may want to plan your nose job during pilot season – i.e., three months before you must be camera ready. Though your nose will continue to heal, particularly in the tip, for up to a year post surgery, you may want to take this into account if your work requires your nose to be perfect.