Can a nose really collapse? If breathing is obstructed or difficult, is this irreversible?

After lots of trauma, pressure, or drugs, can a nose collapse? If the breathing is obstructed or difficult, or the nostrils close/passageways swell up during inspiration, is this irreversible? I can't imagine a surgery would help such a damaged nose

Doctor Answers 9

Nasal Trauma and Nose collapse

Dear rosiecon, Generally speaking regardless of the cause of the nasal collapse this can be improved or corrected with surgery. Best regards, Michael V. Elam, M.D.


Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 199 reviews

Collapsed nose

Trauma, pressure, drug use, and prior surgeries can all be reasons why a nose "collapses." Difficulty breathing is reversible depending on the cause of the obstruction. If it is temporary swelling or inflammation from a cold or recent surgery, then it is expected that the airway will improve as the swelling resolves. For obstruction that is chronic or permanent, there are multiple surgical options depending on the specific issue and anatomy. Hope this helps!
Johnson C. Lee, MD Plastic Surgery

Johnson C. Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Nasal Collapse

Hello Rosiecon12 - Thank you for your question!  Trauma, drugs and even rhinoplasty surgery where too much structural support is removed can cause nasal collapse.  A collapsed nose can be supported or rebuilt with cartilage from your ribs and ear depending on how much structural support is needed.  The more damaged the nose the more difficult the surgery will be.  Best of luck!

Jacqueline T. Cheng, MD
San Jose Facial Plastic Surgeon

Can a nose really collapse?

After trauma, certain drug use or over zealous surgery the nose can most definitely collapse. Surgery which involves cartilage grafts from the septum, ear or ribs is commonly done to correct it.

Curtis Perry, MD
Downey Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Nasal Obstruction

Thank you for the question and whatever the cause of nasal obstruction it can be corrected.  So see some experts in your area and become informed how specifically in your situation.
Dr. Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Nasal collapse

Thanks for your question. Trauma and drug use can certainly cause collapse of the nose. This collapse may become visible, or may be more functional (meaning that you aren't able to pass air through the nose normally when breathing). Rhinoplasty surgical techniques are capable of addressing a loss of nasal support and correcting these issues. My suggestion would be to schedule a consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. All the best.

Ian MacArthur, MD, FRCSC
Ottawa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Can a Nose Really Collapse

A nose can "collapse" on inspiration secondary to trauma, surgery, or drug use if there is structural weakness.. You need an examination to diagnose the cause of your obstruction which usually can be corrected.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Rhinoplasty for nasal collapse

Nasal collapse is when the nose has become so weak that simply breathing-in creates enough pressure that the walls of the nose fall in and block the air from entering your nose. This can be caused by trauma (including surgery), inhaled drugs, or some are born with it. These individuals need a thorough evaluation as there are other contributors to nasal breathing issues including: allergies, sinus problems, and other medical conditions. It's important to identify where the weak spots in the nose. Using cartilage grafts to structurally support the weakened nose can improve nasal breathing. 

Victor Chung, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Nasal collapse is a real entity

Nasal collapse is a real entity.  Obtaining a thorough medical history and performing a complete nasal examination will delineate the anatomy that predisposes to post surgical collapse and nasal airway problems.Many effective surgical techniques exist to manage both entities that are of concern to you.  I suggest you meet with a reputable nasal surgeon to have a consultation specific to your needs.

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 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.