Difference Between Cartlidge and Swelling?

i had cartlidge graft/to reshape the right notril . i noticed what looks like a bump( making right nostril look lower than the left) im almost 8wks post op. md said to wait and see if it goes down. i havnt notice any change in size. would you be able to tell the difference between swelling and cartlidge just by feeling/pressing bump?

Doctor Answers 6

Swelling vs. Cartilage in a post-op nose

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It can be difficult to differentiate fullness related to swelling from fullness related to an underlying cartilage graft; especially in the early post operative period. However, you note that the side with the graft is now "lower" than the other side, and if you are referring to the alar rim then it would imply a structural change more so than simply edema. Depending on the specific type of graft (ie. composite graft) it just might be expected by your surgeon that the wound will contract over time and the nose will become more symmetric. Your surgeon likely documented precisely where grafts were placed and you might wish to look at that (or be told) so that you will have peace of mind. Only if your surgeon believes there is a structural issue would a correction be warranted, and the timing of that would also be dependent on his/her judgement. If I feel there is a graft out of position and it might become more noticeable as the swelling subsides and the soft tissue contracts I tend to re-operate sooner rather than later. 

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon

Eight Weeks Post-Rhinoplasty

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Subtle changes will continue to transpire after your surgery.  These changes may particularly be evident in nostril shape.  8 weeks is still very early with regard to the subtle changes which take place after surgery.

Questions about nasal tip 8 weeks post rhinoplasty

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At 8 weeks post op it may be difficult to tell if this still swelling of the nasal tip or cartilage.  Your plastic surgeon is in the best position to understand your anatomy and answer this question.  In any event you just need more time.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

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8 Weeks after Cartilage Grafting to Nostril

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   A cartilage graft always has the potential to be palpable and/or visible.  At 8 weeks, this may still be swelling.  In addition, the nostril area can carry quite a bit of induration for months.  This may be difficult to sort out at this point.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Eight weeks is too early to make surgical decisions after rhinoplasty.

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Prominence in the tip may be due to swelling or the outline of the cartilage. Eight weeks this is often times impossible to assess. Keep checking in with your plastic surgeon as your nose changes over the next few months.

Swelling after rhinoplasty

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After 8 weeks, swelling will still be a factor. In general, swelling is 70% resolved after the first 3 months and the remainder goes down over time. It can take 18-24 months to see the final result of your surgery. It would be best to give it some time and see how you heal.  In the meantime, I would recommend speaking with your surgeon regarding any post-operative concerns. They know the extent of your surgery and will be able to provide you with advice. I hope this helps and good luck.

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 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.