How long does swelling after a rhinoplasty persist?

rhinoplasty swellingAs plastic surgeons we always tell patients that are contemplating a rhinoplasty procedure that there will be a degree of post-surgery swelling that must be taken into account when viewing their results.

Now, a study published in a recent edition of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, has provided quantifying evidence of how long swelling lasts after a rhinoplasty op.

The different types of rhinoplasty swelling

It’s important to realise that there are essentially two different types of oedema that you can expect after a surgical procedure to reshape the nose. After any surgical procedure there is an immediate, post-operative swelling that is the result of trauma to the tissues. It is typically accompanied by bruising and will be evident in the first 24 hours and onwards.

The second type of swelling is the one that lasts for months after a rhinoplasty procedure and is the result of fluid retention under the skin. During a rhinoplasty procedure, I reshape cartilage and reset bones before redraping the skin over the new nasal shape. Fluid is retained between the skin and the underlying structure of the nose and it takes quite a time for this fluid to dissipate.

Patients will always have a unique healing response and different parts of the nose heal at varying speeds. The upper part of the nose is typically the first place to see the full refinement, whereas the tip of the nose – due to gravity – will be slightly swollen for longer.

How long will rhinoplasty swelling last?

In the study, researchers examined 40 patients that had undergone an open rhinoplasty, studying 146 three-dimensional photographs to quantify the degree of swelling and how long it lasts during the first-year post surgery. Using imaging software, they found that two-thirds of swelling will resolve within the first four weeks’ post-procedure. Ninety-five per cent of oedema will subside after six months and 97.5% after the one-year point.

This supports the advice that I have instinctively given my Leamington rhinoplasty patients based on many years’ assessment at post-surgical follow-up appointments.

Did Brexit worries cause cosmetic surgery cuts?

UK cosmetic surgery figuresMany things have been blamed on Brexit, from shrinking chocolate bars to the rise in the price of beloved food products such as Marmite and Walker’s Crisps, but the latest industry to be hit by the public referendum to leave the EU, is the cosmetic surgery business.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the UK’s leading cosmetic plastic surgery association, of which I’m a Member, has released its annual figures, and, after a ten-year growth pattern, we’ve seen a significant drop in those undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures.

Every year, BAAPS collects data from its members, which consist of most of consultant plastic surgeons undertaking cosmetic surgery in private practice, and they found that after a record-breaking 2015, there was an almost 40% drop in cosmetic surgery ops.

Commonly known as the ‘lipstick effect’, there is a well-considered theory that when economic crisis looms consumers will choose more inexpensive pick-me-ups such as lipstick, over costly luxury goods. It seems that in the period of uncertainty we saw in 2016 and continue to face, patients are more likely to opt for Botox over a facelift.

If we look closer at the figures, the procedures that saw the biggest drop were facial rejuvenation ops such as the facelift or neck lift, that sagged by 53% overall, and the brow lift that saw a staggering 71% droop from the previous year.

The plastic surgery procedures that stayed strong, seemed to be the ones that had a less effective and obvious non-surgical alternative. This includes rhinoplasty, which went down by just 14%, and the abdominoplasty or tummy tuck that only dropped by 6% overall.

Against this, my own figures for surgical procedures for that same period have remained steady, somewhat bucking the national trend. I attribute this to having a long established personally ‘hands-on’ surgical practice which is primarily concerned with providing a calm and supportive patient experience and a good outcome rather than being overtly commercial or mercenary in approach.

Don’t put price over safety

While procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers are deemed ‘non-surgical’ or ‘non-invasive’, patients can still experience a whole host of serious complications and be left with a less than pleasing result. Choose a reputable, experienced practitioner and don’t be swayed by offers or discounts at the price of safety.