Post Op RhinoPlasty Swelling, Numbness, and Hardening?

I had my rhinoplasty performed 2 weeks ago, my doctor corrected my shifted septum which curved to the right and the hump and he also defined the right tip of my nose as I had previous scar tissue on that side from my first rhinoplasty. I am now experiencing some numbness and hardening on the right side of my nose where most of the work was performed? Is this normal and will be it going down part of the swelling or can it be reoccurring scar tissue??

Doctor Answers (6)

Postop rhinoplasty swelling, numbness, and hardening?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! Numbness after any surgical procedure is expected for several weeks to months following. As the nerves to the area are traumatized and will then experience a temporary neuropraxia, a transient loss of nerve conduction. This usually resolves over the next 6-12 weeks, but depending on the procedure performed, sometimes much longer. Typically this should resolve by 1 year. As it goes past this date, the likelihood of the sensation returning is small. However, it can take up to 2 years. If no return from there, it is unlikely to return. It should be discussed that persistent sensory changes may develop following any surgical procedure.

The usual signs of the nerves regenerating and neuropraxia resolving is itching, followed by a burning sensation and then occasional sharp, shock-like pains. These will be normal to experience, and actually a promising sign. Usually, normal sensation returns, but is is also possible to have decreased sensation or even increased sensation to the areas affected. Re-educating nerves postoperatively is often helpful and will allow proper instruction for the affected sensory nerves - methods include using different textures to the affected areas when showering, bathing, applying lotion, etc. If bothersome, there are some medications that may be helpful, including Neurontin for pain for hypersensitivity. You can try various textures such as washcloths, loofahs, cotton sheets, etc. Massaging the areas is also beneficial for the incision to make the finest scar possible. The last place to regain the sensation will be directly adjacent to the incision/scar as the nerves will make its way from the periphery to this location. If continual pain arises, evaluation is warranted. After ruling out other causes, one rare explanation may be that a neuroma has developed and may require surgical excision. This is very unlikely unless a large sensory nerve has been transected inadvertently during the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Numbness and rhinoplasty

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In general, almost all noses are numb right after a rhinoplasty. In most cases its the tip that is numb, but this numbness can extend down to the upper lip, and in rare cases some of the teeth. It is also not uncommon that one side of the nose is more numb than the other. There are nerves that are cut and stretched during a rhinoplasty, and it takes a long time for those nerves to start working again. This is true of an open as well as closed rhinoplasty, although it tends to be more extensive in open rhinoplasty. This could also be more extensive if a septoplasty is performed at the same time. This, along with the swelling, gives you a stiff, plastic type feel, and can give you an odd smile. However, the nerves will start working and again, and your nose stiffness will go away with time. This takes in most cases months, but can take years in rare cases. Extremely rarely, the numbness is permanent, although I have never seen such as case.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Post op swelling after a rhinoplasty

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It is not uncommon to have some degree of swelling to the tip of the nose for the first 12 months after surgery.  Some individuals are more prone the this condition including those with thicker nasal skin.  Gentle massage may be of some benefit.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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Issues at 2 wks

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At two weeks it two early to tell what is going on

Numbness, firmness etc are all normal for some time after surgery

Adam Bryce Weinfeld, MD
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Swelling, Hardness, and Numbness 2 Weeks after Rhinoplasty

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Swelling which is always present 2 weeks after a rhinoplasty  does cause the hardness you describe. Temporary numbness is frequently present. Your post operative course is normal.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
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Post-rhinoplasty changes

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Firmness and numbness are fairly common  after rhinoplasty surgery, it should get better with time.

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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.