Plastic Surgery 101

Noses can be slow to heal

Q. I was wondering why it takes so long for nose swelling to go down? I had nose surgery approximately six months ago and my doctor keeps telling me that it’s going to go down. Should I believe him and can you explain to us why this happens?

Your doctor is telling you the truth. Doing surgery of the nose is almost the easy part, it’s the handholding over the next six months to one year that becomes the difficult part. When I first started doing nose surgery during my residency, I was told by the staff physicians that it took up to six months to a year for the noses to “arrive at its destination.” After practicing for over 25 years, I often remember what they told me and it is true.

Nose surgery involves removing extra cartilage and bone, refashioning cartilage and then waiting for the skin to adhere to the new structure. I am often amazed and surprised how well the skin contracts even after only one week from surgery. You could compare this situation to when a woman gives birth to a child and the next thing she does is look down and sees that she still has a belly. It took nine months to get there and it will take at least nine months, and in some cases a lifetime, to get back to normal. Sometimes it takes a plastic surgeon for her to get to where she wants to be.

I tell my patients that they will be ready to go back to school or work in seven to eight days. If they have a very special event and want to look good, they should plan to be OK by one month. Patients can plan to resume all normal activity by one month. Of course these are my recommendations, and you should check with your own doctor to determine when you should do physical activity and when you can plan to look good enough to go to a party.

Dr. Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery. Email questions to him at

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