How would I know if there's exposed cartilage after rhinoplasty? (Photo)

Hi, I asked a recent question about a nosebleed after picking at my nose, 6 weeks post op. When I look in my nose it looks dry and irritated and a tad bloody ( from constant allergies) but how would I know if I may have done damage and exposed cartilage? in both of my nostrils there is white at the top. I attached a picture. also what's the complications of exposed cartilage? infections? I wasn't picking all that hard and not with a nail...not sure what it takes to expose cartilage.

Doctor Answers 5

Exposed cartilage

Thank you for you question and photos. Exposed cartilage is very uncommon at this point and would usually be present along the marginal incision (lower than what you have shown). The area that you see is the lower border or the upper lateral cartilage and it appears covered. Usually, an incision is not made in this area if an open approach is used ( you had an open approach based on your columella scar).  Ultimately, I would recommend that you reach out to your surgeon and have him take a look to confirm this impression and alleviate your concerns. Hope this helps. Take care. 

Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews


It does look like exposed cartilage inside your nostril.  This would be highly unusual as the incisions that are normally used would not exposed cartilage in this area.  I would have your surgeon examine you.  Exposed cartilage will become infected and necrose so you would want this corrected if it were the case.  Best wishes, Dr. T. 

John Michael Thomassen, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Exposed cartilage

Hello.  It's pretty rare to see exposed cartilages after rhinoplasty.  More likely, you're seeing the edge of cartilage with thin overlying skin.  Exposed cartilage (assuming your own and not from cadaver) typically will heal on its own with good wound care.  Foreign implants may extrude and patients will see purulent drainage, pain, fevers, etc.  The best thing to make sure is to see your surgeon for an in office exam.  Take care

Kenneth Yu, MD
San Antonio Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Not exposed cartilage

Thank you for posting. This is not look like exposed cartilage. The white edge is the lower part of the upper lateral cartilage. Everything looks ok in this picture. continue to follow up with your surgeon. Good luck

Jeffrey Jumaily, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Exposed cartilage

This does not look like exposed cartilage. What you are seeing is the edge of the upper lateral cartilage with nasal lining covering it. This is completely normal. 

Bradford A. Bader, MD
Plano Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.