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Why Do Steroid Injections After Rhinoplasty Only Provide Temporary Relief?

I'm two months post-rhinoplasty. I was given a cortisone injection a week after the operation and the swelling went way down but a few weeks later my nose got more swollen. I was given another injection at 7 weeks post-rhinoplasty and after only two days the swelling went away and my nose looked amazing but as of a week later it's getting bigger/more swollen again. It still looks pretty good right now but it looked even better before.

Doctor Answers (6)

Steroid injections for post operative rhinoplasty swelling

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Rhinoplasty swelling takes a good year to completely dissipate. The first three to four months you will see 70% of the swelling reduce however the last 30% takes a full year to entirely heal. I personally think steroid injections two months post operative is a bit premature. You run the risk of steroid atrophy and should really let the healing process take it's time before jumping into this type of immediate gratification. As you stated you will see some swelling go away however the nose will take it's time to heal and you need to allow this process to happen naturally from this point on. Steroids serve a purpose in the post operative phase and I put some of my patients on a medrol dose pack starting the day after surgery however these are oral steroids that help in the immediate post operative swelling. Give yourself some more time and let nature take its course before you have any further injections. Best regards!

Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Steriod Injections after Rhinoplasty

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Steroids are an anti-inflammatory medicine aimed at temporarily reducing the swelling in your nose (or anywhere in your body). The results are only temporary because the underlying cause of the swelling (your rhinoplasty) will take many months to heal. The injections will give you a somewhat reliable preview of what your final result may be after your body properly reduces the inflammation in your nose over time. Unfortunately, all medicines have side effects and you must be cautious with steroid injections in the nose because over use can leads to permanent thinning of the skin, loss of pigment and or indentations in the nasal contour. 

Gary Motykie, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Why do kenalog injections only give remporary effects after Rhinoplasty?

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 After Rhinoplasty, the nasal tissues swell and create internal scar tissue from the tissue dissection.  This is an ongoing procedure for months after a rhinoplasty.  Kenalog (steroid) injections temporarilly decrease this scar formation but eventually the steroid is removed, from the nasal tissues, by the body after which the effects would no longer impact the nasal tissue.

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

Steroids don't often change rhinoplasty outcome

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The beauty of your final result depends on good support and shape established by the surgeon and the ability of your soft tissues to adapt to your new skeleton.  If those conditions aren't met, the nose will lose shape--this is often blamed on "scar production" but is usually imperfect underlying skeletal support.

Steroids can reduce temporary swelling but not change a mediocre skeletal shape into a good one.  Once you have healed, if your nasal shape isn't what you want, see an experienced nasal surgeon who can advise you.  Make sure that you see photos of patients with your current shape whose results you like.

Mark B. Constantian, MD, FACS
Nashua Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Steroids are only artifically reducing the swelling, you need to wait

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Likely that Steroids are only artificially reducing your swelling. You have to let time do that.  if done incorrectly, it can actually cause atrophy so make sure that it is being done judiciously

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Steroid injections

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Think of it as a nice preview. Healing and resolution of swelling after rhinoplasty is a biologic event that we are just unable to completely control. Time and patience are necessary.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.