Concerned I Have an Infection 2 Months Following Rhinoplasty?

I had an open rhinoplasty 2 months ago. I had a columellar strut put in using cartilage from my septum. I have been experiencing headaches, congestion and a foul odor coming from one nostril. Could this be an infection of the columellar strut put in? I have read a lot about artificial implants getting infected and having to be removed but could this be the case with a cartilage graft from my septum? thanks

Doctor Answers 4

Possible Infection 2 Months After Rhinoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear Leo,

An autologous cartilage graft should not cause an infection but synthetic grafts would but at a very low percentage. However, what is interesting is that you are at 2 months post-surgery and the rate of infection due to the rhinoplasty should be almost none.

That being said, the foul smell could be a result of an infection due to a possible sinus infection or other unrelated causes to your surgery.

Inflammation is often detected by swelling, tenderness and redness depending on how advanced the inflammation is.

I recommend that consult with your surgeon so your nose be examined and the cause of what you have experiencing be detected.

I hope this helps.

Thank you of your inquiry.

Best of luck to you.

Dr. Sajjadian

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 205 reviews

A foul smell is a bad sign.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A foul smell is often a sign of infection. Your collumellar graft may have gotten infected especially if your having some tenderness or purulent discharge in the area. If not, then maybe you just picked up a sinus infection. Either way you need to be seen, evaluated, and treated. 

Donald T. Levine, MD
Nyack Facial Plastic Surgeon


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Infections after rhinoplasty are always possible, so please see your surgeon immediately and allow him to take a good history and physical.

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Nose infections

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A cartilage graft will not get infected at 2 months after surgery.  They can re-absorb, that is, disappear, but this does not involve odor or discharge.

Artificial implants can get infected at any time (about 3% of them).  This would include non-dissoving stitches.

You should check with your surgeon and have your nose looked at.  There are other causes of a foul odor/discharge from the nose that might not be related to your surgery.

Douglas J. Kibblewhite, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.