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Can residual rhinoplasty swelling turn into scar tissue over time?

I got extensive primary open rhinoplasty done on my tip 8 months ago and while a lot of the swelling has gone, there is still residual swelling in the tip that tends to flare up with heat and activity. Is there a risk that this fluid will continue to accumulate and become solid scar tissue or will it eventually disappear over time? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 5

Residual rhinoplasty swelling

Thank you for your question!

It is understandable that you are concerned. 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.

As for swelling causing scar tissue, this thought is highly unlikely to happen as a free-standing approach.

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 178 reviews

Residual swelling

As a general rule swelling or post-operative edema can remain for a full year and in thicker skinned noses for up to two years in my experience.  It takes time for the definiton of the underlying cartilage to show through the thickened tissues.  As to whether this chronic edema can become scar, yes that is possible.  One advantage of open rhinoplasty as you have described is the ability to achieve good hemostasis or control of bleeding.  In addition I like to spray a thin layer of fibrin sealant (platelet rich plasma) to further reduce any build up of fluids between the skin and cartilage.  Long term night taping will also be of benefit.  Sometimes a judicious injection of low dose steroid will help to dissipate some of this swelling.

Can residual rhinoplasty swelling turn into scar tissue over time?

  The swelling within the tissues several months after the rhinoplasty is performed does tend to resolve with time.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Nasal tip swelling

The swelling at the tip of your nose will eventually resolve.  This may take several more months.  Scar tissue willl not be the result of swelling.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Rhinoplasty swelling can take months to resolve

In the early period after rhinoplasty, pockets of collected fluid beneath the skin can turn into scar tissue if the nose is improperly taped and splinted. Over the long term, soft tissue swelling (edema), which is different from fluid collecting beneath the skin, does resolve. 

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.