Should You Tape Your Nose Before Flying After a Rhinoplasty?

Should You Tape Your Nose Before Flying After a Rhinoplasty? featured image
Westend61 / Getty Images

Rhinoplasty is a popular cosmetic surgery. According to the 2022 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 44,503 rhinoplasty procedures were performed in 2022, accounting for 86 percent of all cosmetic facial surgical procedures that year. However, the recovery process requires careful consideration, including whether or not to tape your nose while its healing. A recent viral TikTok video has ignited a conversation about nose taping in general, especially when flying. To learn more about the practice, we consulted facial plastic surgeons who noted that the jury is still out on the definitive value of taping.

Featured Experts

  • Kimberly Lee, MD is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in Beverly Hills, CA
  • Sam P. Most, MD is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in Stanford, CA
  • Jill L. Hessler, MD is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in Palo Alto, CA


The LOOKS I was receiving while doing this 😭🫠 #fyp #nosejob #rhinplasty

♬ just a girl – autumnaudios

Is Nose Taping Necessary After Rhinoplasty?

After rhinoplasty, some surgeons recommend taping to reduce swelling and provide structural support during healing. Beverly Hills, CA facial plastic surgeon Kimberly J. Lee, MD explains, “Taping the nose provides some resistance or barrier to swelling which is why it’s advised in the early post-operative stages. It also provides support and stability to the nasal structures and prevents their movement, which can otherwise cause discomfort, affect healing, or impair nasal breathing.”

However, Stanford CA, facial plastic surgeon Sam P. Most, MD holds a different perspective. “I generally do not believe in taping. It doesn’t have any long-term effects, and if patients do it incorrectly, they can harm the results,” he says. The necessity of taping depends on the surgeon’s preference and the patient’s individual healing process.

How Long Should I Tape My Nose After Rhinoplasty?

The recommended duration for taping varies. According to Dr. Lee, “Swelling can last up to 12-18 months after surgery, so you don’t want to tamper the healing process by adding more swelling.” She suggests that taping can be useful for an extended period, depending on the level of swelling.

For those with thicker skin, says Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon Jill L. Hessler, MD, taping can be beneficial. “Patients with thicker skin tend to develop more swelling after surgery. Most patients have the nose taped and splinted in an external cast for about a week,” she says. “If patients have pronounced or prolonged swelling then taping can be communed.”

Dr. Most, however, advises against taping, focusing more on other aspects of post-op care. “The key is to avoid heavy lifting and exposure to dry air, which can increase the risk of nosebleeds,” he says. 

Is Nose Taping Needed When Flying?

Flying can exacerbate swelling due to changes in while in the air. “When it comes to flying, our bodies swell regardless of whether we’ve had surgery or not,” Dr. Lee adds. Changes in cabin pressure and altitude can shift the body’s fluid balance resulting in worsening swelling in the nose especially after surgery.” Taping can provide some resistance to swelling and stability for the nasal structures.

However, Dr. Most recommends caution when flying after rhinoplasty. “First, I do not recommend flying until at least 10 days after a rhinoplasty. The reasons are difficulty with equalization and nosebleed risk due to the dry air and pressure changes,” he says. If flying is necessary, he does say taping might offer some protection against additional swelling.

Does Taping My Nose Change Its Shape?

Taping is not intended to change the shape of the nose permanently. However, Dr. Most emphasizes that incorrect taping can potentially harm the surgical results. “If taping is done incorrectly, it could cause pressure points and unintended changes to the nose’s appearance,” he warns. Always follow your surgeon’s guidance on proper taping techniques to avoid these risks.

If you’re wondering what the best approach is, consult with your surgeon and follow their recommendations to ensure a smooth recovery and successful outcome. Make sure to have a thorough discussion with your surgeon to find the best plan for your post-rhinoplasty care.

Related Posts

Find a Doctor

Find a NewBeauty "Top Beauty Doctor" Near you

Give the Gift of Luxury

NewBeauty uses cookies for various reasons, including to analyze and improve its content and advertising. Please review our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for more about how we use this data. By continuing to use this site, you agree to these policies.