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What Happens if Nerves Are Damaged During Rhinoplasty?

I was wondering what happens if nerves are damaged during Rhinoplasty. If they are can they affect the facial muscles at all? How can I tell if my nerves have been damaged?

Doctor Answers (3)

Damaged Nerves After Rhinoplasty

+1

It is very difficult to damage nerves long-term after a primary rhinoplasty. All the nerves come back. I have not seen a numb tip unless it is a secondary or tertiary rhinoplasty. Most of the time in a primary rhinoplasty the nerves come back in 6 months.


Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Nerve Damage Unlikely During Rhinoplasty

+1

There are two types of nerves in your nose, motor nerves and sensory nerves.  Motor nerves are responsible for moving muscles and sensory nerves provide the sense of touch. 

In the course of a typical rhinoplasty sensory nerves are cut and the skin on the nose will therefore have decreased sense of touch.  This typically resolves in weeks to months as the nerves regrow, though occasionally patients have some residual permanent numbness.  I have never met a patient who found any of this particularly objectionable.

Motor nerves, on the other hand, are not in harms way during a typical rhinoplasty.  There are a few very small muscles on the nose itself that may be affected by a rhinoplasty.  It is unclear whether this is because the muscles themselves are bruised or if it is the nerves to the muscles, or some of both.  Regardless, these muscles have virtually no affect on your appearance or function so most patients wouldn't even notice.  I would expect in time that those muscles will function again as healing progresses.

Louis W. Apostolakis, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Can nerves be damaged during Rhinoplasty

+1

  You are referring to motor nerves and more specifically branches, of the facial nerve, that are responsible for making the muscles of the face move.  During a Rhinoplasty, the tissues, of the nose are elevated off the nasal skeleton so we can modify, thin and otherwise shape these cartilage and bone structures.  The facial nerve branches come from the sides of the face and branch into the facial muscles as the branches move inward towards the mouth and nose.  The nose itself has very small and mutiple branches to the  few nasal muscles and these are not disrupted during a Rhinoplasty.  So, no your facial muscles and nerves would remain unaffected after a Rhinoplasty...but could be affected during a Face Lift by an inexperienced surgeon.

The Rhinoplasty does, like all surgery that elevates skin, temporarily disrupt the sensory nerves to the nasal skin which recover after several months.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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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.