When should I start breathing properly after septorhinoplasty and turbinate reduction?

I've had my SepotRhinoplasty one month ago and some of the turbinates were shrank btw. At one month post up i am unable to breathe properly through my nose! My right nostril is better than the left one though! At one month post up my surgeon assured me and told me that there's absolutely no obstruction and that my surgery was %100 percent successful and that no further surgery can be performed! He also told me that only thing he can think of are seasonal allergies! what should i do???

Doctor Answers 7

Difficulty breathing after rhinoplasty

Congratulations on your rhinoplasty salah1395! It sounds like your surgery was a functional septorhinoplasty and edema or swelling after surgery is very common. This swelling can take up to a year to resolve. Sometimes using saline nasal spray can help decongest the nose. If you have seasonal allergies, you may need to resume your treatment for this. It is important to maintain follow up with your board certified plastic surgeon so that she/he can examine you and see what the cause and treatment is. Best of luck, MMT

Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Septorhinoplasty breathing issues

Hi salah1395,

Thanks for your question. It appears that you have some breathing asymmetries. There is a nasal cycle that can improve and worse your breathing daily let alone hourly. If the breathing changes from one side to the other throughout the day, then more than likely it is due to edema or swelling.

I recommend being evaluated in person by your  board certified plastic surgeon to look intranasally as sometimes some scar tissue can from that causes breathing difficulties after surgery. He can assess your condition and give concert recommendations.  More than likely it is swelling but if its allergies try OTC medications and see if the breathing improves. Last thing is to be patient. Good luck.

All the best,
Carlos Mata MD. MBA. FACS

Carlos Mata, MD, MBA, FACS
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Breathing after surgery

There are many reasons why breathing might be an issue. The most common one is internal swelling. This may take several months to settle down.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

When should I start breathing properly after septorhinoplasty and turbinate reduction?

Thank you for your question. Without a thorough examination it is difficult to give you specific advice on your situation, but I can give you some comfort. Be patient. It takes several months for the edema in the nose to resolve after surgery. Continue to follow-up with your surgeon and follow their post-operative regimen for your convalescence. Your situation will most likely improve.

Wesley T. Myers, MD
Conroe Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

When should I start breathing properly after septorhinoplasty and turbinate reduction?

Hello Salah1395,

Depending on the techniques used and what was causing the obstruction, you should have an improvement in breathing early on.  For my patients with minimal septal requirements, they notice improved breathing immediately.  If there is a lot of septal work and I need to place temporary nasal splints (not packing), then the breathing is drastically improved the day the splints come out (for me that is at one week).  Swelling is common after a nasal surgery, but if you did have an obstruction then your breathing should be better.  If your problem is caused by allergies this should have been  known ahead of time (i.e. you have intermittent obstruction from one side to the other as the nasal mucosa swells).  If it were from allergies, the turbinate reduction should have also helped as the turbinates have the tissue that tend to swell with allergies.  

As far as what to do in the future there may be options.  I would agree that right now surgery would not be recommended.  You need to wait at least 6 months and preferably a year before considering another nose surgery to allow for the swelling to go down.  You may also benefit from treatment for nasal allergies, but this really should have been started ahead of time to make sure it wasn't the cause of your difficulty with nasal breathing.  

I'd recommend you follow up with your surgeon for your post operative healing.  If you are no longer pleased with your surgeon consider consulting with a facial plastic surgeon.  We tend to have the most experience with nasal obstruction treatments.  

I hope this helps and good luck.  

William Marshall Guy, MD
The Woodlands Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


You need to see you surgeon again for advice. He/ she will look in your nose and examine the structure. There may be no obstruction as you mentioned. However the septum and turbinates can be swollen for months after surgery. You need to wait 3-6 months at least and see him again. You may need spreader grafts if the interval valve is blocked. However these can make the nose look big. 

Rajan Uppal, MBBS, FRCS
London Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Swelling inside your nose following septorhinoplasty

Hello Salah1395 - Thank you for your question. I tell my patients that swelling on the inside of the nose is similar to swelling on the outside of the nose and that 80% of swelling is gone and 2 weeks and 90% by 2 months. It is difficult to speculate about your particular case. I would be patient and not rush into any additional surgeries at this time. If there is an element of seasonal allergies at play, getting those under control would likely be helpful in improving your nasal breathing. 

Jordan Rihani, MD
Southlake Otolaryngologist
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.