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When can I exercise after rhinoplasty?

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Many modern day gym-aholics want to get back to pilates, lifting weights, or pounding the treadmill or spin class as soon as possible after rhinoplasty. Many are told that they shouldn’t exercise for a month or longer after surgery. The good news is that you may not have to wait as long as you think.

We recommend our patients wait 2 weeks before going back to heavy exercise, head-down yoga positions, or generally any activity that is likely to get the heart racing and push blood flow up into the face. Light activity like walking is fine and so is intimacy so long as you go a bit easy and avoid smacking your nose! For any activity that involves prolonged submersion in water, major pressure changes such as diving, or potential contact to the nose, you generally should wait about a month to six weeks. Flying is OK a week after surgery and we have patients regularly take long flights home at this stage. The pressurized cabin will not create problems although you might notice a bit more swelling the next day.

Why avoid exercise right after surgery? We’re not so much worried about bleeding as the risk for any serious bleeding is very low and unlikely more than several days after surgery. What we do want to prevent is swelling. Most noticeable swelling is gone within one week, and light activity such as walking is helpful in mobilizing this fluid and helping it to drain away faster. But, too vigorous activity too soon after surgery will drive more fluid to the area and make you appear more swollen. As time goes by and drainage pathways start to normalize, this is not as much of an issue.

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