Can't breathe 5 weeks after primary open septorhinoplasty. Does this sound permanent?

5 weeks since the surgery. Doc fixed septum, reduced a turbinate, narrowed, lifted, & shortened the nose. I'm having a hard time breathing. Looking into the nose, the turbinates seem glued shut & block my breathing. Sometimes randomly, I'm able to breathe in just a bit of air,but then it gets blocked again after a few minutes. If I use Afrin (rarely, and responsibly), I'm able to breathe fine. Are my turbinates just swollen & will they get better with time? Or does this sound like a permanent problem?

Doctor Answers 3

Problems breathing after Surgery

There are so many potential causes to your symptoms, that unless an exam is performed the cause cannot be determined.
However, 5 weeks after surgery you should have a major improvement on your breathing. Follow up with your surgeon, as he needs to see why you are having this symptoms.


Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Post septal work and breathing

Often during the first few months after surgery, the tissues are swollen, and this can contribute to airway flow issues. This often gets better with time, but best to see your surgeon for proper evaluation.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Nasal breathing difficulties after rhinoplasty.

There are so many intricacies in the performance of a rhinoplasty, not only with improving the shape of the nose, but also changes that may affect nasal breathing ability. I'm not trying to dodge your question, but there are lots of variables involved. Hopefully, your problem is just one of turbinate swelling and/or underlying allergy issues. A nasal steroid spray may be helpful.

Even if you respond to Afrin, the issue still could still be a structural one rather than just swelling. Talk with your surgeon about your problems. If still unable to get anywhere, seek a second opinion with the person very familiar with functional as well as aesthetic nasal surgery.

C.W. David Chang, MD
Columbia Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.