Will breathing ever return to normal following ali nasi reconstruction (skin flap and cartilage replacement)?

Recently my left ali nasi was removed due to aggressive SCC. Plastic surgeon replaced nose cartilage with ear cartilage then flap reconstruction. 1.5 weeks post surgery & external swelling has largely disappeared, but breathing through nostril is very difficult. The nostril appears 90% blocked. Surgeon said the cartilage from the ear is thicker than the nose. I am finding it difficult to get air. I have headaches every morning, continual dry mouth from mouth breathing. What can I expect?

Doctor Answers 1

Nasal blockage

At 2 weeks after surgery, you have a significant amount of swelling to the area. It will improve with time. How much it will improve is unknown. You may have some restriction in your breathing through this side but it will likely be better than it is right now. In the future (6-12 months) when you are healed and the swelling is gone, you can discuss with your surgeon revision to improve your breathing but for now you should focus on the fact that you have a nostril and the hole that was there is closed. Make sure you follow up with your dermatologist because squamous cell skin cancers in that area are notorious bad actors and tend to try to recur in the future. 


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