Clear Fluid Draining After Rhinoplasty. Is This Normal?

I had septoplasty, turbinate reduction, and rhinoplasty yesterday afternoon. The bleeding slowed down considerably but now I have clear fluid draining. It looks clear but tinted with red blood. Is this normal? Other details: I was getting over a cold and still had a bit of a runny nose yesterday. I have 2 black eyes that are almost swollen shut. I haven't seen anything quite this bad posted here so I am not sure if that is normal or something worth mentioning with the fluid draining.

Doctor Answers 8


You are seeing the change from bleeding to serous drainage. Tne swollen eyes will come down . Be patients. It unlikely anything bad is going such as a cerebral fluid leak from the cribriform plate

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Brain fluid is not coming from your nose

We are often asked if fluid draining form the nose after Rhinoplasty is 'brain fluid'. It is not. The nose discharges copious amounts of clear mucous after surgery and this is often confused with CSF. The causes are multiple: normal draining of the tear ducts, packing placement and removal, allergies, mucosal trauma, and reactive mucosal secretions. This is also dependent on the amount of work done internally. Septal surgery and turbinate cautery will contribute to the discharge. Initially, it will be reddish with blood mixed in and then change to a clear watery discharge. It usually subsides after a week and is more drippy in the first few days. Don't be worried about the color, character, or taste as they are not reliable indicators of any underlying problem. Remember, Rhinoplasty does not involve working on the skull base or the cribiform area where endoscopic sinus surgery occurs. Osteotomies are done on the nasal bones, which are well away for those areas. Don't worry- it will resolve.

Edward J. Gross, MD
Orlando Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Clear Drainage after Rhinoplasty

Clear drainage after a Rhinoplasty could be normal or a sign of a serious problem. You need to be seen immediately by your operating surgeon. Call now.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Clear Fluid Draining After Rhinoplasty. Is This Normal?

Please call your operative surgeon to answer these post operative questions. Drainage is the norm but to get the correct responses always as your chosen surgeon. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Clear drainage after rhinoplasty

Clear drainage after a rhinoplasty and septal repair can be a serious sign. The clear fluid can come from a tear in tissue high up at the base of the brain, called cerebral spinal fluid or CSF. Symptoms such as headache only when standing are common. The leaks repair themselves for most, though there is a danger of infection so you should contact your surgeon right away to sort things out.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Clear Fluid Draining after Nasal Surgery

Blood drainage after nasal surgey is normal.  Clear drainage is a concern because it may represent a leakage of CSF fluid.  Although uncommon, it can occur after septoplasty.  This is something that your surgeon needs to know about right away.

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Clear fluid after rhinoplasty

You need to call your doctor as soon as possible. There are some questions that are better addressed by your own physician and not through the internet.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Is it normal after Rhinoplasty to have clear fluid drainage?

Yes, it's typical to see clear fluid draining from the nose during the first post op week following a Rhinoplasty.  the fluid is the nasal mucosa reacting to the surgical trauma.  This should decrease in the subsequent week or so.   As always, you should discuss your concerns  with your Rhinopplasty surgeon.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 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.