After Rhinoplasty Surgery Will I Need Nasal Packing?

Does everyone need nasal packing after a rhinoplasty?  It sounds really uncomfortable.

Doctor Answers 16

Want to know the most significant complaint we hear...

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Want to know the most significant complaint we hear about after Rhinoplasty surgery? It’s not pain, pressure, headache, or even discomfort. In fact, rhinoplasty is rarely very painful. The symptom we hear about most is nasal congestion.

Most surgeons still use some form of packing or splint in the nose after surgery to reduce bleeding. These can either be merocel, ribbon gauze, xeroform or a variety of other forms of packing. The end result unfortunately is more discomfort for the patient.

While not being able to breathe through your nose is not earth-shattering, it is extremely annoying. Think of it like a bad head cold that lasts. So, anything we can do to prevent this symptom is meaningful to you, and therefore important to us. And the biggest thing we can do to help, is to avoid nasal packing altogether.

Packing is routinely used by some to help prevent excessive bleeding or dripping. We find we almost never need it. By handling tissues exceedingly carefully and gently, we find that we can generally keep bleeding, bruising, and swelling to an absolute minimum…and the benefit to you is an earlier return to breathing through your nose, less blockage from the beginning, and no painful removal of crusted packing.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Nasal packing is only required when the surgery includes work on the nasal septum

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The answer to this question is simple. If your nose requires a correction of a deviated septum or your surgeon requires the use of septal cartilage for cosmetic purposes, then your nose may be packed. The septum is the internal cartilaginous structure that devides the nose into the right and left nasal passages. If this structure is bent due to injury or just developed that way, then it could block one or both of your nasal passages. This would lead to difficutly breathing and could be corrected during your cosmetic rhinoplasty. Or your surgeon may just need to harvest the septal cartilage for a graft used as part of the cosmetic changes he is planning for your nose.

Packing is placed whenver septal work is performed to apply pressure and reduce the post-op risk of hemorrhage. If your Rhinoplasty does not have a concurrent septoplasty then packing is not necessary.

David A. Ross, MD (retired)
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Packing is rarely needed with rhinoplasty

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Routine packing of the nose is not required with modern rhinoplasty techniques. Any surgeon who performs rhinoplasty on a regular basis should be able to place dissolving sutures inside the nose (called quilting sutures) that make packing unnecessary.

Over the past 1,000 rhinoplasty procedures that I have performed there was only one patient who required overnight nasal packing due to persistent oozing.

Packing is very uncomfortable when it is inside the nose, and even more uncomfortable when it is being pulled out with you awake! There are other major risks with nasal packing, such as toxic shock syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea.

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Nasal packing is not used routinely after rhinoplasty surgery.

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Nasal packing is uncomfortable, and may lead to more bruising and possibly infection. In our practice, nasal packing has not been used for over 17 years. Hope this helps. Dr Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 429 reviews

Nasal packing after Rhinoplasty

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Typically, we don't use nasal packing unless there's an absolute need. It all depends on the amount of work your septum is getting and that is determined at teh time of surgery. Every rhinoplasty is different so you never really know what you're going to end up with when you're talking about details like this one.

Best Wishes,


Nasal Packing after Rhinoplasty

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It’s important to realize that post-operative care and the use of nasal packs varies from patient to patient and depends upon a multitude of variables.  Although nasal packing is commonly used in both rhinoplasty and septoplasty patients, it’s not used in every case.

            A large variety of nasal packs are utilized following rhinoplasty surgery.  These include the use of ribbon gauze, merocel and xeroform gauze.  These materials are utilized when excessive bleeding or drainage is anticipated following rhinoplasty surgery.

            Unfortunately, nasal packing can cause significant nasal congestion with resultant post-operative discomfort.  For this reason, packing isn’t always utilized when patients undergo rhinoplasty.  Instead packing is utilized when the potential for bleeding and drainage exists. 

            If you’re concerned about nasal packing it’s important to discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon.  Your surgeon can discuss this issue and the probability of your needing packing following rhinoplasty surgery.

After rhinoplasty surgery will I need nasal packing?

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With traditional rhinoplasty surgery the use of packing or a splint was used inside the nostrils to reduce bleeding. However patients found packing of the nose very uncomfortable as it causes symptoms of congestion, discomfort and sometimes pain. The feelings of packing in the nose can be similar to those of the congestion caused by a bad head cold. Dr. De Silva avoids packing the nose for these reasons, and utilises alternative more modern techniques such as the use of special stitches in the nose, as a consequence most patients are able to breath through their nose soon after surgery.

Nasal Packing After Rhinoplasty

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In almost all cases of rhinoplasty you can avoid packing the nose, which translates into a much more comfortable recovery for the patient. I have not 'packed' the nose in over 7 years now. In the past, this was done commonly to help minimize chances of bleeding the early recovery phase and to help encourage the internal lining of the nose to heal quicker. In most cases of septoplasty and rhinoplasty, an absorbable suture can be used inside of the nose to accomplish the same goal - obviating the need for packing.

As with any rule though, there are those exceptions. If the surgeon encounters bleeding unresponsive to normal techniques, it needs to be controlled with placement of packing. Fortunately, this is quite rare.

John M. Hilinski, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Nasal Packing after surgery.

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   Its been at least 5 years since i used nasal packing!  I used to pack all my noses because that was what I was taught in training. I found my patients were uncomfortable and were very frightened by what all their friends told them about packing. Since I have stopped using packing I have not had any more bleeding than  when I used packing. If i do need to put something in the nose it is usually a small amount of material that stops minor bleeding. This material I use usually dissolves by itself.. If on a rare patient I have more bleeding than i anticipate I would not hesitate to use packing. Its all about patient safety!

Good Luck

Nasal packing

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 Placing packing in the nose depends on the surgeon's preference. While the term "packing" often reminds patients of  a long string placed in the nose after surgery as done in the "old days" and often told stories of removing large amounts of gauze.

However, surgeons sometimes place small pieces of cotton in the nostrils that are not uncomfortable and barely felt. Removal is often easy and painless. The purpose of the small cotton ball is to prevent any drainage during the first night. This is usually worthwhile for the patient.

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.