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Is Having Your Splints Removed After Rhinoplasty/septoplasty Painful?

Doctor Answers 13

Removing Splints Post-Rhinoplasty

Inserting internal splints post-rhinoplasty to maintain the structure of your new nose and external splints for added protection after surgery is very common. Depending on the type of splint and techniques employed by your surgeon, removing the internal splint may be relatively painful. Sometimes, patients take mild painkillers in anticipation for the pain experienced while removing these splints to ease the pain and maximize comfort. 

New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
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Removal of Internal Splints Can Characterized as Uncomfortable

It’s not unusual for surgeons to use internal and external nasal splints following both rhinoplasty and septoplasty. These are used to hold anatomic structures in place following these procedures.

                  External nasal splints are typically left in place for about a week. They are utilized to hold the bones in place following rhinoplasty with infracture. It would be unusual to have pain or discomfort during removal of this type of nasal splint.

                  Internal nasal splints made of silastic are typically utilized when septoplasties are performed. This type of splint is usually left in place for 2-3 weeks following surgery. Removal of internal nasal splints would be characterized as uncomfortable and mildly painful.

                  It’s important to understand that nasal splints are often necessary to obtain an excellent surgical result.  The majority of patients tolerate splint removal without discomfort or pain.

Removing internal septal splint and external nose splint

In the majority of cases internal septal splints are not needed after a rhinoplasty or septoplasty. In the rare event they are used, there is some discomfort upon removal. The external splint on top of the nose holding the nasal shape is mildly uncomfortable when removed.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Nasal Splint Removal

Remoal of internal nasal splints, adjacent to the septum, or the external nasal cast is not painful except in the occasional patient with a very low pain threshold, who experiences mild discomfort. Share your concern with your surgeon and take a pain pill before the splints are removed.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Nasal Splint Removal After Rhinoplasty

Some Surgeons use internal nasal splints ( made of soft silicone) for Septorhinoplasty, some do not.  I personally prefer to use a "septal Quilting stitch" with absorbable suture, obviating the need for use of nasal splints.  Although removal of nasal packing and/or nasal splints is not the world's most pleasant experience, it can generally be accomplished without significant discomfort.  As has been previously been mentioned on this post, modern nasal packing removal is much more humane than in years past.  Again, some Surgeons use packing and some do not.  I typically use packing when a patient has had osteotomies (precise manipulation of the nasal bones), or significant septal work performed.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Nasal Splint Removal After Rhinoplasty or Septoplasty

Internal nasal splints are used by many nasal surgeons to help support the nasal septum. These splints are generally made of silicone and removed around one week following rhinoplasty or deviated septum surgery.

While there is a wide range of experiences, most patients do not complain about pain when removing internal nasal splints after nasal surgery. More commonly they report a strange sensation and brief, mild discomfort.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Splint removal is the most painful part

Having said that, the degree of pain is mild. The urban legend that the removal of nasal packing is 'like having your brains pulled out through your nose' is no longer true for rhinoplasty. It arose from years back we layered thin ribbon gauze into the nose. That was painful. Nowadays that's 'old school' and most of us use flexible plastic stents which come out easily.

Oakley Smith, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Minimizing pain with nasal splint removal after rhinoplasty

The experience of pain with splint removal varies widely among patients. Factors that affect the pain or discomfort include: patient emotional makeup (e.g., anxiety about it increases pain), severity of swelling from surgery, extensiveness of the work inside the nose, and the gentleness of the surgeon removing them. Most patient, though, do not complain of much pain with this process.

Also, if there's a lot of bloody crusting around the splints, those scabs can pull on nose hairs and scrape on delicate tissue. I prefer my patients use lots of saline nasal spray and Vaseline in the nostrils to minimize the crustiness. It seems to help.

Good luck,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Splints removed after rhinoplasty

Usually no there is no to minimal discomfort in removing the nasal splints. Rarely some patients have pain but just slow down the removal process.


Removing nasal packing and splints after rhinoplasty should be painless

Years ago, when I trained, we put a lot more packing in the nose and left it in for many days. Now, much less packing is used and it is often removed after one day. This has little discomfort and actually a relief to get the packing out. Even taking off the cast, if done gently is painless.

Steven J. Pearlman, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 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.