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Why can’t you cry after rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, commonly known as a “nose job”, is a plastic surgery procedure done to reshape the nose. It is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries performed each year. After getting rhinoplasty, your nose will be swollen, tender, and bruised. Crying during the initial recovery period can cause complications and affect the outcome of the surgery.

The rhinoplasty recovery process

Rhinoplasty recovery takes time, and there are restrictions on what you can do during the initial healing phase. Here is an overview of the rhinoplasty recovery timeline:

  • First 48 hours – Your nose will be swollen, and you may have nasal packing inside your nostrils. Pain and discomfort are common.
  • First week – The swelling and bruising worsen and peak at around day 3-5. The splint will be removed after a week.
  • Weeks 2-4 – The swelling and bruising start improving. However, your nose will still be tender when touched.
  • Weeks 5-8 – Most of the swelling goes away, but the tip of your nose may still feel slightly stiff.
  • 3-12 months – It takes up to a year for the final rhinoplasty results to become visible as the inflammation resolves.

As you can see, the first month after rhinoplasty requires a lot of care as your nose heals. Crying can disrupt this crucial recovery process.

How crying affects rhinoplasty recovery

Crying after rhinoplasty is problematic because of the effects it has on your nose and the surgical site:

Increases swelling and inflammation

Crying causes blood vessels in your nose to dilate, resulting in increased blood flow, fluid buildup, and swelling around the nostrils and bridge. This added stress can undo the work done by the surgeon and prolong recovery.

Causes bleeding and clot disruption

The pressure induced by crying and sobbing can lead to postoperative bleeding. It can also dislodge the internal nasal clots required for proper healing.

Raises blood pressure

Crying triggers the release of hormones that temporarily raise your heart rate and blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure after rhinoplasty can increase postoperative bleeding and swelling.

Moves nasal bones

The manipulation involved in rhinoplasty makes the nasal bones extremely fragile during recovery. If crying shifts these bones even slightly, it can alter the surgical results and cause deviation or other issues.

Worsens bruising

Crying worsens the black eyes and bruising around the nose that are common after rhinoplasty. The increased pressure can expand or prolong the bruises.

Increases risk of infection

Excess moisture from tears can accumulate around the incisions inside the nose. This damp environment raises the risks of developing a postoperative infection.

Precautions to take after rhinoplasty

To ensure proper healing after your nose job, doctors advise taking the following precautions during your recovery:

  • Avoid any activity that raises your blood pressure, including bending over, straining, exercise, and sex.
  • Sleep with your head elevated on 2-3 pillows to minimize swelling.
  • Do not blow your nose or let anything touch or put pressure on it.
  • Refrain from facial expressions like smiling or frowning.
  • Take off work and strenuous activity for 1-2 weeks.
  • Follow your surgeon’s medication and cleaning instructions.
  • Wear a face mask if going outside to protect your nose.
  • Keep your head above your heart to limit bleeding and swelling.
  • Stay hydrated and eat a high protein diet for optimal wound healing.

Following these steps along with avoiding crying or rubbing your eyes will go a long way toward minimizing recovery time and complications.

How to avoid crying after rhinoplasty

Here are some tips to help prevent crying for the first few weeks after rhinoplasty:

Keep stress low

High emotion and stress can trigger tears. Try relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, gentle walks, or soothing music.

Use cold compresses

Applying a cold compress constricts blood vessels, providing relief if you feel like crying due to pain or discomfort.

Stay on top of discomfort

Take your pain medication as prescribed to keep swelling and pain in check. This will make crying less likely.

Have help at home

Having assistance with daily activities means you’ll be less likely to overexert yourself and potentially feel like crying.

Distract yourself

Keep busy with light activities like reading, watching TV, or chatting with friends to take your mind off discomfort.

Avoid emotional triggers

Steer clear of sad movies, arguments, or anything else that might normally bring you to tears.

Use artificial tears

Lubricating eye drops can provide relief if you have a strong urge to cry.

Wear dark glasses

Sunglasses can hide any tears that might slip out accidentally.

When can you cry after rhinoplasty?

You should avoid crying for at least the first week after rhinoplasty, which is the most crucial period for healing. Here are general guidelines on when it becomes safer to cry after your nose job:

Timeframe Crying Risk Level
First 48 hours Extremely risky
First week Very risky
2-4 weeks Risky
1-2 months Safer but not recommended
3+ months Minimal risk if completely healed

Everyone heals differently, so discuss a realistic crying timeline with your cosmetic surgeon. Even after you get the all-clear to cry, avoid rubbing your eyes excessively as this can still disrupt the final results.

Risks of crying after rhinoplasty

Crying too soon after nose surgery can lead to the following unwanted outcomes:

  • Prolonged swelling, bruising, pain, and discomfort
  • Irregularities or deformities in shape
  • Poor aesthetic results
  • Need for revision surgery
  • Permanent damage if grafts or implants shift position
  • Increased recovery time
  • Scarring or infection inside the nose

Crying in the early stages of healing essentially re-traumatizes the operated area. This can undo the work the surgeon did and require additional treatments later on for adequate correction.

When to call your surgeon

Contact your rhinoplasty surgeon right away if you experience:

  • Bleeding from the nose lasting over 20 minutes
  • Severe pain not relieved by medication
  • Significantly worsening bruising or swelling
  • Fever over 100°F
  • Pus or redness at the incision sites
  • Nasal obstruction making breathing difficult
  • Any other concerns about your condition

Promptly reporting any unusual symptoms or issues can prevent minor problems from turning into bigger complications. Your surgeon may adjust medications or order imaging tests to identify the cause.

Seeking emotional support

Rhinoplasty impacts both your physical appearance and self-esteem. It is natural to experience some emotional ups and downs during your recovery. Here are some healthy outlets if you feel like having a good cry post-op:

  • Talk to loved ones – Sharing your feelings with family and friends who can empathize and reassure you.
  • Join a support group – Connecting with others going through the same experience.
  • See a therapist – Getting professional counseling to process emotions.
  • Practice self-care – Doing activities that comfort you like reading, relaxing baths, or pampering.
  • Focus on the future – Reminding yourself the results will be worth it.

Prioritize finding constructive ways to express yourself without putting your surgical results in jeopardy. Your cosmetic surgeon and their staff may also provide resources to help you through the recovery process, both physically and mentally.


Crying should be avoided for at least the first one to two months after undergoing rhinoplasty. Tears can impair healing and reverse the work done by your plastic surgeon. Sneezing and blowing your nose can have similar detrimental effects in the early postoperative phase. Be diligent about following all post-op instructions to minimize risks and achieve the best possible outcome from your nose job. With proper care and patience through the recovery period, you should be thrilled with your refreshed nasal appearance for years to come.