What Are the Signs of Complications During Rhinoplasty Recovery?


While rhinoplasty surgery is one of the most popular, successful, and widely performed cosmetic surgeries today, it is still important for patients to understand the potential risks and side effects of the procedure, as well as how to identify signs of a complication and when to call their surgeon. Members of The Rhinoplasty Society, a nonprofit organization comprised of board-certified, experienced specialists in the field of nasal surgery, are committed to ensuring patients are well educated on what to expect with rhinoplasty surgery, including what signs and symptoms may point to a possible complication or abnormality during rhinoplasty recovery. Keep reading to learn more about the potential risks and side effects of a nose job and when a call to your doctor may be warranted.

What happens during a nose job?

Before discussing the potential complications that can be identified during rhinoplasty recovery, it is helpful to know a little bit more about how the procedure itself is performed. Because every patient's nasal anatomy, concerns, goals, and other variables are highly unique, each nose surgery performed by members of The Rhinoplasty Society is fully customized. Generally speaking, rhinoplasty surgery usually involves one or more incisions — either within (closed rhinoplasty) or just beneath (open rhinoplasty) the nose — through which the surgeon utilizes a number of advanced techniques to manipulate, adjust, and otherwise alter certain nasal structures to improve the cosmetic appearance of the nose, the function of the nose, or both. These may include cartilage grafting, bone reduction, and others.

What is rhinoplasty recovery like?

Again, the details of rhinoplasty recovery will vary from patient to patient based on unique individual factors as well as what type of rhinoplasty was performed, the specific surgical approach taken, and additional variables. In general, patients can expect some level of bruising, swelling, tenderness, and a feeling of nasal congestion after rhinoplasty surgery — all of which are normal and expected during the recovery stage. These rhinoplasty side effects may last for several weeks but typically resolve on their own when the patient adheres to their recovery instructions, which may include not blowing the nose, not touching the nose or face, not wearing glasses, and others.

What complications are possible after a rhinoplasty?

While most rhinoplasty procedures performed by a qualified, board-certified rhinoplasty surgeon are successful and free of complications, some potential issues may arise in certain cases, including:

  • Infection
  • Prolonged pain, swelling, or bruising
  • Irregular scarring
  • Tissue collapse
  • Nasal asymmetry
  • Obstructed breathing
  • Prolonged nasal congestion
  • Delayed healing
  • Incision reopens

How do I know if my nose is infected after a nose job?

Infection after rhinoplasty surgery should be considered a serious complication that requires prompt evaluation and treatment. Some signs and symptoms of a post-rhinoplasty infection that warrant a call to your surgeon include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Red streaks around the nose and/or incision
  • Warmth on, in, or around the nose
  • Excessive swelling
  • Pus or discharge from the incision
  • Severe pain
  • Heavy bleeding

If you are experiencing any signs of an infection after a nose job, don't hesitate to call your surgeon right away. Fortunately, serious or lasting side effects are rare with rhinoplasty, and many can be avoided by choosing a highly qualified, experienced, and board-certified plastic surgeon to perform functional or cosmetic nasal surgery.

Prioritize your health, safety, and results by choosing a board-certified surgeon member of The Rhinoplasty Society

Despite the fact that more and more patients are undergoing nasal surgery each year, it is important to remember that rhinoplasty is still a complex and nuanced procedure that should only be performed by a highly experienced surgeon. If you're interested in learning more about how a rhinoplasty may benefit you, contact one of the board-certified members of The Rhinoplasty Society here.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.