Breathing Difficulty Through a Nostril After Rhinoplasty

I had a Rhinoplasty, now I can't breathe through my right nostril. It also looks weird. What do you think has happened? Is it normal? Or is it going to stay permanent?

Doctor Answers 5

How to Correct Breathing Problems After Rhinoplasty

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Following rhinolasty, some patients complain of breathing diffculties. For many, these breathing problems are transient and improve after the first month of surgery. If breathing problems persist, this may indicate that the breathing obstruction may not improve on its own.

There are several reasons why patients continue to have breathing problems after rhinoplasty. These fall into two major categories: (1) Structural / Anatomic, and (2) Functional.

Structural or Anatomic problems of the nasal framework include:

  • Residual deviation of the septum
  • Internal valve collapse from inward collapse of the bridge
  • External valve collapse from poor support to the nostril sidewalls
  • Blockage from scar tissue.

Physiologic or functional breathing problems are often related to swelling of the turbinates and inflammation of the nasal lining from allergies.

Seek the advice of a revision rhinoplasty specialist who can address both the function and structural aspects of your breathing problems.

Swelling Can make Breathing Difficult

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Swelling shortly after surgery can make breathing a little more difficult. However, this will subside as the swelling goes down and your body recovers.

Difficulty breathing and weird nostril after rhinoplasty

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It's hard to say what's going on with your nose without seeing it. A lot depends on how long ago your surgery was. It's normal to have some temporary congestion in the first few weeks after surgery. If it's been longer than that it is possible that there are changes to your nasal cartilage support that is leading to functional breathing issues.

You can check out my link below for more details about how revision rhinoplasty can be used to correct these problems.

Breathing after Rhinoplasty

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It is normal to have nasal congestion secondary to post-operative swelling for 4-6 weeks after surgery. If your complaints persist, talk to your surgeon. Hopefully a revision will not be necessary.  

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Restricted breathing normal 2-3 weeks after surgery

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It is normal to be restricted on breathing from the nose within the next two to three weeks after the surgery, but after that the breathing obstruction should subside, and one should be breathing rather well after that.


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.