Is it normal to have breathing issues one year after rhinoplasty?

So I had my rhinoplasty a year ago. I have waited patiently for mucus, drainage, and swelling to go away. As I have read online all of these can cause some breathing issues post op for a series of months. It has however been a year and I feel I haven't regained my full sense of smell and continue to have a noticable strain in breathing soley through my nose. I have noted allergies may be a cause, but I am beginning to be concerned it may have been caused by my rhinoplasty

Doctor Answers 7

Breathing and sense of smell following rhinoplasty

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Changing the external appearance of your nose can cause changes to the internal function of the nose.  Change to sense of smell, nasal drainage, and increased congestion are certainly potential post operative issues that can occur following rhinoplasty surgery.  Increased nasal mucous and decreased sense of smell are two potential complications that are often times mild but difficult to explain why it has occurred.  Nasal congestion, however, can be evaluated by an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon and the cause can usually be identified and fortunately, corrected.  The cause of the congestion can be simple or more complex and your surgeon should be able to enlighten you.  

Chevy Chase Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Nasal airway obstruction post rhinoplasty

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Dear roverbay,
  Front and side view pictures of your nose would have been very helpful in answering your question.
 As a rule, one year after surgery , the swelling and the scarring process should have reached maturity.
 So, if you still have nasal airway obstruction, it might be from  a surgical problem like internal valve  issue 
(inverted V deformity), or,  if you had septal deviation and turbinate hypertrophy prior to surgery and they  were not corrected during surgery, the nasal airway breathing can be worsened by the in fracturing of the nasal bony slopes.
 Your best option is to return to your surgeon and discuss your concerns. If you are dissatisfied with the response, consult with experienced board certified plastic surgeons who do lots of rhinoplasty surgery in accredited surgery center for your safety.
                        Best of luck,
                                        Dr Widder

Breathing and Rhinoplasty

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At one year you should be completely healed from your surgery.  If you have breathing problems now, that  you did not have before the surgery, they may be due to changes in your airway from the surgery.

You should first follow up with your surgeon and address these issues.  At one year it is reasonable to perform a revision to correct any airway problems. 


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Rhinoplasty can cause difficulty breathing if the cartilages of your tip are thinned too much.  This can cause collapse of the internal or external valve of the nose that can lead to obstruction.   You can discuss this with your surgeon to see if this is in fact the case.  Cartilage grafts can be used to correct this. 

Is it normal to have breathing issues one year after rhinoplasty?

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Hello Roverbay13,

There are many reasons to have difficulty with nasal breathing.  If you had a rhinoplasty, this could be contributing, depending on what techniques were used.  If you didn't have difficulty breathing before the surgery, and still had allergies, then it is likely being affected by your surgery.  However, if you had difficulty breathing before surgery because of allergies, then surgery does not correct that and your allergies still need to be treated.  Things to look for is whether the difficulty with breathing is all the time or does it come and go.  If it comes and goes it indicates it is from swelling of the tissue inside the nose (i.e. allergies).  If the difficulty is always on one side of the nose and there all the time, it may be from a deviated septum that wasn't addressed at surgery or affected by the surgery.

I'd recommend you follow up with your surgeon for evaluation.  At this point all of the swelling from surgery is gone, so you can have an accurate assessment of what it looks like on the inside.  

I hope this helps and good luck.  

William Marshall Guy, MD
The Woodlands Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Nasal Obstruction 1 year after a Rhinoplasty

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The nose should be nearing full healing 1 year after a primary rhinoplasty.  Breathing troubles at this time could be cause by:

1)  Allergies
2) Chronic sinus infection
3) Obstruction caused by the surgery

If you have allergies, I would suggest you aggressive treat them to see if that improves your breathing.  I would also have an examination of your nose to ensure there are not anatomical causes of your nasal obstruction.

I hope this helps.  


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Thank you for your question, roverbay13. Many patients are fully healed at the 12 month period, however, recovery varies from patient to patient. I suggest you consult with the board certified facial plastic surgeon who performed your procedure for further detail.

Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 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.