After Rhinoplasty nostrils are different is that normal?

I did open rhinoplasty surgery 3 months ago and my nostrils have different sizes is it normal? is it swelling ?

Doctor Answers 6

3 weeks post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for enquire.

Swelling after a rhinoplasty depends of the surgery complexity.
In this regard, the nasal swelling Post-op It can last from two weeks to two months.
To reduce this swelling, I recommend you perform delicates daily lymphatic drainage massage therapy over the face (around the nose) avoid sun exposure, and take pain/inflamation pills, as your surgeron precribe you.
Kind regards, 
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-  

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

After Rhinoplasty nostrils are different is that normal?

Nostrils can have different sizes before and after rhinoplasty.  Although we work to achieve symmetry, there can still be some differences.  Further, as this short interval after your surgery, there are still some issues with swelling that may be contributing to the differences you notice.  Continue to be patient and best of luck.

Garrett A. Wirth, MD, MS, FACS

Wirth Plastic Surgery

Garrett A. Wirth, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews


It is always helpful to review preop photos with post-op photos. Many patients do not appreciate their asymmetry before surgery.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews


Thank you for your question.

You are still early in your recovery period and your appearance will continue to refine.  It may take up to a year for all swelling to resolve and for your nasal appearance to settle to a final outcome. Your doctor may prescribe you a Medrol dose pack (steroid) to help reduce the swelling. Healing is often unpredictable and one side may heal quicker than the other and sometimes even nasal bones may shift in healing.  The outcomes may not be as expected.  In some cases a revision may be recommended to refine your outcomes, but I would wait at least 12-18 months so you are fully healed before considering a revision. 
Best of luck in your recovery!

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS, International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics & Science

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Nostril shape

Yes, it is possible to have differences in nostril shape that can be either due to surgery, but can also be things you never noticed prior to surgery.  Your surgeon should have a photo from the bottom view to analyze the nostril position and shape.  Depending on the techniques used, he/she may have adjusted your cartilages, which also may contribute to nostril asymmetry.  Lastly, if they did an open rhinoplasty, there are intranasal incisions that can heal and occasionally the scar tissue can pull the nostril opening in different ways, contributing to asymmetry.

Discuss this with your doctor and ask for photos to follow up.  Swelling can be a source as well, but should be normalizing in the 3-6 month time frame, and finally stabilizes by the 1 year mark.

Hope that helps,

Christopher C. Chang, MD

Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia

Rhinoplasty Question

Thank you for your question!

Surgical healing time is sometimes more extensive than patients expect. With a rhinoplasty, patients can expect to experience swelling and on-going changes that occur to the nose for up to a year after the procedure. 

That being said, if you have any specific concerns you should visit your surgeon, or a board-certified facial plastic surgeon's office to be assessed. 

I hope this is helpful to you! 

Be well,

Dr. Todd Hobgood, MD

Scottsdale, AZ

Todd Christopher Hobgood, MD
Phoenix Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 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.