How to reduce swelling after rhinoplasty? Home remedies and tips to minimize

Every rhinoplasty patient wants to know how to reduce swelling after rhinoplasty. Swelling after rhinoplasty can be the main reason for discomfort and pain during the recovery period. But luckily, it is not invincible. There are various ways of achieving this, and the most important one is resting and sleeping. Other than that, cold compress, gentle massage, a healthy diet, and proper hydration will help your post-operative swelling.

In this article, we will provide you with the knowledge you need to defeat this unwanted complication.  After reading this article, you will learn in what way you should change your diet, what supplements you can take to reduce the swelling, when you will be allowed to get back to your regular exercises, and more.

How to reduce swelling after rhinoplasty cast removal

Swelling or edema after rhinoplasty is every rhinoplasty patient’s concern. It is the result of excess fluid retention around the nasal area. It can cause body discomfort or even pain depending upon the severity. While surgeons use different surgical techniques to minimize swelling, there are some things that you can do as a rhinoplasty patient as well. Make it your duty to have knowledge about all of them so that you won’t suffer from swelling any further. 

Here is a guide on how to reduce swelling after rhinoplasty:

  • Gradual return to activity
  • Gentle massage
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Drinking water
  • Cold therapy
  • Keep your head elevated and rest
  • Topical treatments

Let’s start with the first one, then explore all of them in detail!

Gradual return to activity

For a rhinoplasty patient, the first couple of weeks after your surgery should be spent resting and taking it easy. When you reach the two-month milestone, you are pretty much cleared to start doing light exercises like walking or yoga.

If your exercise routine involves strenuous activity that may cause discomfort to your nose, consider making adjustments while continuing to exercise or quit it for a while and wait until your doctor gives you the green light to continue. Strenuous exercises can cause tissue damage.

Gentle massage

Halfway through your first month after rhinoplasty, you can use some gentle massage on your nasal area to relieve the swelling. Two minutes of massage twice a day is the appropriate way of doing it.

Start with the bridge. Apply pressure to the bridge delicately. Slowly make circles with your index fingers as you’re moving down the bridge. Avoid applying too much pressure to your nose to avoid damaging the newly manipulated nasal structure.

Lifestyle changes for reducing swelling

When taken seriously, you can see that rhinoplasty recovery can be demanding sometimes. That is to say that there will be certain lifestyle factors that you will need to change or even get rid of for good. One of these aspects is your eating habits. Here is the anti-inflammatory diet list for reducing facial swelling after rhinoplasty.

Here is the anti-inflammatory diet list for reducing facial swelling after rhinoplasty.

  • No salty food
  • Protein-rich vegetables
  • High-fiber fruits
  • Plenty of water

You need to change your diet – say no to sodium

A healthy diet is an important component of the facial swelling treatment after rhinoplasty. Some foods can do wonders, and some foods are your worst enemies. Let’s see which are the ones you should put on the menu and the ones to put in the trash can. Here’s what to eat after rhinoplasty!

Protein-rich foods to reduce swelling

Research suggests that consuming foods with balanced protein and carbohydrates may assist in reducing swelling. During the first week, you should prefer foods that are easy to chew and easy to digest. For this reason, start with foods like eggs, beans, or milk. You will be cleared to consume solid foods only when you are in your second week. Now you can have fish, poultry meat, or nuts and seeds like cashews and peanuts as well.

Fruits and vegetables to reduce swelling

Consuming foods that are high in fiber can promote regular bowel movements. Excessive straining during bowel movements can lead to bleeding and increased swelling. Prefer fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. Some foods that are high in fiber include peas, lentils, artichokes, Brussel sprouts, lima beans, and black beans. Leafy greens and foods that contain Vitamin K are these kinds of nutrition.

Drinking water is the best way to de-puff

It is important to maintain proper hydration before and after surgery by drinking plenty of water. This will help to reduce swelling because increased fluid intake can aid in removing toxins and sodium, which are the main reasons for water retention or swelling.

However, while you increase your water intake, make sure that you stay away from too hot or cold water, as they also have inflammatory effects. Staying hydrated also makes the fluids in your body less viscous and easier to transport. Hydration also speeds up blood circulation, which helps to reduce the swelling.

Supplements for support 

Taking supplements after a rhinoplasty procedure is something that your doctor will approve. The reason for this is the fact that different supplements can have different effects on different patients. First of all, you must already avoid taking over-the-counter drugs before and after your surgery because they may increase the bleeding. On the other hand, supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Zinc, Bromelain, Arnica, and fish oil are shown to have positive effects on the recovery from swelling.

Foods to avoid to reduce swelling

A diet that involves high sodium intake may cause excess fluid retention which leads to swelling. So, avoid adding salty foods to your diet during your recovery period. That way you can speed up the healing process and get rid of the swelling much more easily.

Hard and chewy foods increase the amount of effort you put into chewing. This means too much facial movement which leads to swelling. Because of this, eliminate foods like chips. baked products, noodles, and other solid foods for some time.

It is advised to avoid consuming spicy and acidic foods after surgery as they may increase blood pressure and potentially lead to bleeding.

Processed foods are rich in sugar, sodium, and saturated fats. Which means they have everything that you should avoid during your recovery. A diet consisting of whole, unprocessed foods like whole grains, green and yellow vegetables, and seeds is recommended.

Home remedies for reducing swelling and bruising

During your recovery journey, the actions you take do matter. In addition to the surgical operations, you, as a normal rhinoplasty patient, have some tools in the drawer that can be used if you are asking how to reduce swelling after rhinoplasty. An ideal rhinoplasty patient should be aware of the options that he/she has in order to improve the healing process.

Below are listed some of the home remedy options that every patient should take advantage of, and learn how to apply them.

Cold therapy for reducing swelling

Cold therapy is a very common method used to reduce swelling after surgery. To get the best results, cold compresses should be applied on a daily basis.

How to apply?

Apply the cold compress every 20-30 minutes on your cheeks, forehead, and around the nasal area. Do not place the ice applications directly on your nose. The first two or three days make up the most crucial time period for postoperative swelling.

You should use the ice packs as often as possible. Make sure you wrap a towel or a cloth around the ice pack. It is important to prevent water from seeping onto the cast, so make sure the cloth is properly dampened. Proper usage of a cold compress within the first three days can have positive effects on the rest of the recovery process.

Keep your head elevated and rest

One of the most effective postoperative interventions during the first week is body positioning, particularly keeping your head elevated at all times, especially while sleeping. 

Head elevation minimizes the excess fluid retention around the nasal area, thus preventing any serious swelling issues. While you sleep, use two or more pillows to support your neck, or you can use a travel pillow as well to get a solid grip around your neck.

You should also avoid bending over during the first two weeks. Likewise, do not get involved in heavy lifting or any strenuous activities. You need to rest as much as possible. Continuing with this kind of activity may increase swelling, raise blood pressure, and possibly cause bleeding.

Topical Treatments – Creams and ointments

You can also benefit from certain creams and ointments to treat your swelling. But as always, consult your doctor before you use any one of the ointments.

  • Topical creams such as Arnica, Lasonil, or Hirudoid applied to the affected area three times a day can assist in the healing of bruises.
  • Tetracycline ointment and ocular gentamicin can be used to prevent inflammation and swelling. Zinc oxide ointment is also helpful for reducing swelling.
  • Additional ointments that are effective in reducing inflammation and enhancing skin quality are Rheoderm, Bioderm, Sicamosa, Scatrisil, Sika Active, Preperation H, and Saline rinse.

This has been our article on how to reduce swelling after rhinoplasty. We hope that it could help you find the answer to all your concerns. If you still have more questions, do not hesitate to ask us. Our team will be overjoyed to help you in your rhinoplasty journey by providing you with the pieces of information you need.


(1) Ong AA, Farhood Z, Kyle AR, Patel KG. Interventions to Decrease Postoperative Edema and Ecchymosis after Rhinoplasty: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 May;137(5):1448-1462. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000002101. PMID: 27119920.2

(2) Tasman AJ. Reducing Periorbital Edema and Ecchymosis after Rhinoplasty: Literature Review and Personal Approach. Facial Plast Surg. 2018 Feb;34(1):14-21. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1617444. Epub 2018 Feb 6. PMID: 29409099.

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