Rhinoplasty – Do Nose Jobs Hurt? A Guide to Rhinoplasty Procedure


The prospect of getting a new nose can be exciting. In fact, a new nose can give you a whole new sense of confidence, bringing your features into greater harmony with one another and subtly yet significantly altering your appearance. But clients usually ask us, do nose jobs hurt? 

For those preparing for a rhinoplasty procedure, however, it’s also very normal to have some trepidations. After all, if you’ve never had a nose job before, you may not have any idea what to expect. That’s one of the reasons why the surgeons at Charlotte Plastic Surgery are careful to sit down with clients for a pre-procedure consultation, setting expectations, answering questions, and briefing them on what a nose job is really like.

One of the most common questions we get about nose jobs has to do with pain. Simply put, how much is it going to hurt? In this post, we’ll tackle that question head-on. Here’s what we typically tell our clients when they ask us, do nose jobs hurt? 

Understanding Rhinoplasty

Before we get to that question of do nose jobs hurt, it’s important to lay some groundwork.

There are different kinds of nose job procedures that can be performed, but the one that’s most common is what’s called an open rhinoplasty. This involves a small incision between the nostrils, which allows the surgeon to remove skin from the substructures and adjust the cartilages underneath, after which point the skin can be laid back in place.

The open rhinoplasty is a fairly routine procedure for us, and in fact it’s done on an outpatient basis; you can have a nose job in the morning and be back home, resting and recovering, by afternoon. There is anesthesia administered during the surgery itself, which means patients “go under” while the surgeon works. To that end, there is no pain experienced during the rhinoplasty itself.

But what about afterward? When patients ask us do nose jobs hurt, they’re asking not just about what happens in the surgical suite, but also how they’re going to feel in the hours, days, and weeks that follow. It is important to have clear expectations about the rhinoplasty recovery process, and about steps you can take to minimize pain and discomfort.

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What to Expect During Recovery

During recovery from a nose job, it’s very normal to experience swelling, bruising, and potentially even some minor bleeding from the nose. But what about pain? Actually, most of our patients tell us that the pain is fairly mild. It’s more accurate to discuss rhinoplasty recovery in terms of discomfort, specifically the discomfort caused by congestion.

That’s what patients should expect when they wake up from the anesthesia: Your nose will feel completely “plugged up,” forcing you to breathe through your mouth. This will last for a few days. You’ll also have trouble smelling, and you will likely feel some pressure in your ears or your temples. Again, you can think of it like a very severe case of nasal congestion.

Along the same lines, it’s worth noting that rhinoplasty patients will have some packing in their nose when they wake up, specifically some soft Vaseline and gauze. This may contribute even more to that “congested” feeling, but the packing easily slides out the next day. Once this packing comes out, typically within 24 hours of the surgery, you’ll immediately start to feel a lot more comfortable and a lot less stuffy.

How to Minimize the Discomfort of a Nose Job

As we’ve seen, nose jobs usually aren’t very painful, though some clients may report some tenderness or some aches due to that congestion and sinus pressure. Your surgeon will be able to talk with you in advance about some pain management options, and to provide you with a prescription you can fill for pain relief. By all means ask your surgeon about this during the initial consultation, and make sure all your questions have been addressed to your satisfaction. With that said, many patients never even use the pain medication prescribed, and approved over-the-counter remedies can sometimes do the job.

A bigger issue might be dealing with the discomfort caused by that nasal congestion. One important suggestion is to sleep with your head elevated for the first few days following surgery. This can help you get back to breathing like normal a little quicker.

Something else we recommend is purchasing a small humidifier that you can run by your bed while you rest and recover. Not only can this soothe your nasal passages, but it can also appease your throat, which may get a little dry from breathing through your mouth during those first couple of days.

Speaking of which, a lot of patients actually tell us that the dry throat and dry lips are among the most severe side effects. Before your surgery, make sure you stock up on some honey and tea, as well as some Chapstick. Staying hydrated during the recovery can also be helpful.

And of course, rest is as important as anything. You’ll likely have some discomfort and possibly some minor pain during those first couple of days, but the more you’re able to take it easy, the more quickly you’ll bounce back and start feeling like yourself again.

Do Nose Jobs Hurt? Your Surgeon Can Tell You More

We can’t stress enough the importance of talking with your surgeon in advance. Your surgeon will be able to set the expectations for what your rhinoplasty recovery is going to be like and recommend some specific solutions for making that recovery as smooth as can be. If you still wonder do nose jobs hurt, your surgeon will be happy to alleviate your concerns in a relaxed, one-on-one visit.

Rhinoplasty should ultimately be exciting. As you approach it, you should be eager to embrace a new look and a boosted sense of confidence. Don’t let concerns about the recovery sink your enthusiasm. Instead, talk to us at any time. To schedule a consultation with Charlotte Plastic Surgery, reach out to us at your next convenience.