I see a mass of flesh blocking the nostril as I cannot breathe through it. Does this mean my nostril has collapsed? (photo)

Doctor Answers 4

Nasal swelling after rhinoplasty

Thank you for your question!

It is understandable that you are concerned especially with the internal nasal swelling. Changes after rhinoplasties vary with every patient and what you are experiencing is normal especially that swelling takes time to subside as it masks the results of your surgery.

It is important to keep in mind that it is early to pass a judgment. Usually, a year is required before formulating how your nose will be, but longer with a thick skin. Even then, your nose will keep shaping itself to complement your face for better results in the years to come.

My best recommendation at the moment is to be patient, allow nature to take its course and edema subsides for better results. There is no doubt that once the swelling resolves, more definition and shape will be achieved and you should be happier with the results.

Also, it is important that you keep communicating with your surgeon and work as a team together to achieve the best results possible.

Congratulations on your surgery and please remain positive!

Ali Sajjadian, MD FACS



Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 172 reviews

After rhinoplasty--this is swelling, not nostril collapse.

Internal nasal swelling after rhinoplasty often causes blockage of the airway on one or both sides, and has nothing to do with the fleshy swelling you see near your nostril rim. This is where your surgeon made the internal nasal incision, and bleeding between the external nasal skin and the internal musoca has pushed that incision edge into your view.

This is a common question as this is frequently visible, especially if the surgeon does not suture this rim incision to allow bleeding to escape. But your airway blockage is almost certainly further inside the nose than this.

Your nostril looks well-supported by the remaining cartilage inside your nose. Collapse would be evident if you inspired (breathed in) and the nostril rim collapsed to a slit rather than remaining round or oval shaped. I'm pretty sure you don't have nostril collapse.

Follow your doctor's orders and do not pick or blow your nose. Sleeping with your head slightly elevated for the first 3 weeks after rhinoplasty surgery will help to relieve congestion. A sofa cushion under your mattress is an easy way to ensure slight head elevation higher than your heart, and then you can use your normal pillow rather than trying to stay aloft on 2 or 3! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 184 reviews

Nose Surgery

Hi Off,
It looks like your just had surgery and have a splint on.  Your nostril doesn't look collapsed.  This just looks like mucosal swelling, perfectly normal.  But this is a question for your surgeon, so call the office and check it out, but what I see looks pretty good.  All the best, "Dr. Joe"

Unable to breathe soon after surgery

It is very normal to feel like you have the worst cold of your life right after surgery. Your nose will swell both inside and outside. Your external valves are wide open and the swelling inside you nose starts improving 4 days after surgery and will continue improving for months. Be patient and your breathing should continue to improve.You can decide after a few months how much improvement.

Garrett H. Bennett, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.