Possibility of Cartilage Shifting After Repairing Broken Nose?

My nose was broken in 2005 and I'm having it fixed in 2010. What are the chances of the cartilage in my nose shifting back to the side over time after having it fixed? Plus if it does, what would my options be to have it fixed?

Doctor Answers 8

Cartilage shift after nasal surgery

Yes, your cartilage can shift. In fact, the bones, cartilage, and skin of the nose all make up the 'framework' that gives your nose it's shape. Any or all of them may conspire to cause your nose to 'shift' back to it's original form despite your surgeon's best efforts. This is one reason why crooked noses often 'shift' back over time after surgery. Hope this helps (BTW, this is also true of the septum during septoplasty).

Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Cartilage shift after corrective nasal surgery

The cartilage in the nose usually does not shift after the repair and straightening after a rhinoplasty. There is a small chance approximately 5 to 10% that a touchup procedure has to be done in order to realign the nasal pyramid after a rhinoplasty. Cartilage does occasionally have a memory to it, along with nasal bones wanting to heal crooked if it has been crooked for many years. This is why it is important to go to a very experienced rhinoplasty surgeon who has performed thousands of rhinoplasty surgeries. Occasionally, one sided cartilaginous spreader grafts can be placed in the area to improve asymmetry and prevent a warpage of cartilage.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Cartilage has memory

It is hard to predict what will happen. Cartilage does have "memory", however this an be overcome with sutures and other techniques. Speak to your surgeon.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Repair of Broken Nose and Possibility of Revision Surgery

Hi Ray,

Your question can best be answered by your rhinoplasty surgeon who has examined your nose carefully and has formulated a diagnosis as to what is causing your crooked nose. In most cases, the nose is much straighter after surgery and stays that way.

If for some reason it is still crooked anytime one year following your surgery, then revision surgery may be performed. It is a good idea to discuss with your surgeon the possibility of revision, and what costs you will or will not be responsible for.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Nasal Cartilages Can Shift After Surgery

Nasal cartilages can shift after surgery during the healing process. At the end of the procedure the nose might look good but with time as the scarring process (normal healing happens by scar formation) starts certain scar tissue can pull on the cartilages and cause them to shift.

During surgery we try to prevent that problem by using either sutures to hold the caritlages or putting in cartilages in a tight narrow pocket where it is unlikely to move.

If the cartilage does move it can be fixe by a secondary (repeat) rhinoplasty.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Nasal septal cartilage in broken nose

The septal cartilage should not shift back after repair if it is stabilized correctly.  If you experience additional trauma to the nose, of course, this could alter your results.  Shift of the cartilage off the midline will often give an appearance of a crooked nose, and sometimes can be severe enough to affect your breathing.  For both functional and cosmetic reasons, therefore, this should be corrected during your surgery.  Good luck, nsn.

Nina S. Naidu, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Ask your doctor about cartilage shifting after broken nose repair

These are excellent questions that you need to ask the doctor who you plan to have do your nose. Anything is possible after surgery, but you need to find out about YOUR doctor and what his experience is with this happening.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Success In Correcting Nasal Deviation

A crooked nose is one of our biggest challenges in rhinoplasty surgery. Although a successful result is usually achieved, there is a risk of some residual deviation. A revision is always possible. Ask your surgeon about the risk, how any complication will be handled, and who will pay for it.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 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.