After rhinoplasty how long should the tip of your nose remain hard?

I had rhinoplasty March 1st 2013 and the tip of my nose is still very hard! Is this normal? Is this permanent or does it eventually go away? Thanks Kristen

Doctor Answers 6

Probably will remain firm

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miss.kris: rhinoplasty often results in a very firm tip.  I usually tell patients it will continue to soften for 1-2 years, so I think it is unlikely to soften much more at this point.  If several types of cartilage grafts were placed during your surgery, it can result in quite a firm tip.  Rib cartilage and septal cartilage are both very firm so if for example you had a septal extension graft and lateral crural strut grafts placed, it will add signficint rigidity to the nose. The upside is that your nose is unlikely to change over time.  Many years ago surgeons used to cut out a lot of cartilage and over time the nose would really collapse. This is a problem you won't have. 

Minneapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Modern rhinoplasty = firm noses forever

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Modern rhinoplasty with structural grafting performed open does tend to leave the nose firmer forever - there is some softening long term but it is always harder and this is a good thing and prevents warping or loss of position long term - I find once patients are told this before surgery they know what to expect and it is never an issue and the firmness makes it more likely they are going to have a great nose for life !

Tip swelling

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Swelling on the tip, causing it to be hard and numb, depends on skin thickness, lifestyle, and genetics. A good rule of thumb is about 6 months.

Michel Siegel, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Tip firmness after after rhinoplasty

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Hello Miss.kris,

You had your surgery two years ago so any remaining swelling contributing to firmness will be gone.  However, it is likely you have had graft material placed.  This could be in the form of a cartilage graft at the columella to provide support, a carved or crushed cartilage graft placed on the tip, or something placed along the dorsum such as bone, cartilage, or even an allograft.  I would imagine at this point what you have is what you will get.  You can always discuss your concerns with your surgeon to determine exactly what was placed.  The grafts can be removed to soften the nose but this may adversely affect your cosmetic outcome.  Again, this should be discussed with your surgeon.

I hope this helps and good luck.

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

Hard nose after surgery

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Long term follow up is important in plastic surgery especially after a rhinoplasty, which can take up to a year to completely settle.  Usually after two years things tend to be softer and more pliable.  I would suggest you follow up with your original surgeon so he/she can examine your tip area.  There may be some non-surgical tricks that can help if it is scar tissue.  If your original surgeon is no longer available try to see a surgeon that has some experience in rhinoplasties for a proper evaluation.  Good luck

David R. Alfonso, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

The tip of the nose will probably not change two years after rhinoplasty.

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After two years swelling as a source of firmness in the tip of the nose should have totally resolve. Check with your surgeon to see if something was placed at the time of the operation to explain this firmness.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 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.