Breathing Problems After Rhinoplasty Surgery

I had a rhinoplasty done just after I turned 16 (I'm 26 now) and have always been pleased with the look of my nose. However, I have also had major breathing problems since the surgery that I haven't been able to correct with medications (including allergy meds and decongestants), mechanical efforts (e.g. nasal washing), or standard/alternative medicine (including acupunture, etc.). I have also had trouble with bleeding - I don't get nosebleeds, but my nose does bleed whenever I blow my nose (which I do about every 10 minutes!) and it's somewhat alarming to see tissues spattered with blood, even after all these years. I have also noticed that when I'm particularly stuffy, I experience burning in my sinuses on inhaling, similar to the burning one would get after accidentally inhaling chlorinated pool water. My regular doctors are perplexed and I think they have decided I'm hallucinating :-) The surgeon who performed the procedure is no longer practicing. I'm wondering how I can determine if my breathing issues are a result of the surgery or if they are unrelated. Do I need to schedule a formal consultation with another cosmetic surgeon, or is there another (i.e. faster or less expensive) way for me to find out if I have any of the standard (uncommon, I know) side effects of surgery?

Doctor Answers 4

Nasal breathing difficulties after rhinoplasty

I would advise that you seek evaluation by a specialist.

Nasal valve problems are commonly caused by surgery but this may not be the case in your particular instance. Breathe Right nasal strips are one way of diagnosing nasal valve problems but that doesn't usually offer a satsifactory long term solution.

There may be many other causes to your problem related to the septum, the turbinates, sinuses, allergies, etc. This is not always a quck diagnosis and may require nasal decongestants, speculum evaluation, endosclopic examination, CAT scans, rhinometry, etc. It may take weeks and trials of medications to determine the proper treatment for you which may or may not be surgical.

So the brief answer is, seek a specialist.

I hope this helps.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Consult a ear, nose, throat specialist

After rhinoplasty, the nose often times becomes narrower and therefore has less room for breathing. During surgery you have to account for this and adjust the septum and turbinates. This is usually planned by your surgeon. If the allergy medication does not open the nasal passage enough then you will need to have surgery by an ear, nose, throat specialist. 

Babak Larian, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon

Nasal Obstruction after Rhinoplasty

Nasal bleeding is not caused by psychological problems. Whether or not your complaints are related to your original surgery, you should have a consultation with a specialist; either an ENT, facial plastic, or plastic surgeon.    

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Breathing problems after rhinoplasty

Definitely schedule a consultation with a specialist familiar with all the intricacies of rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty surgery. Your problems may be caused by a septal deviation or perforation, nasal valve collapse (something is too narrow), turbinate hypertrophy or a combination of the above. Obstruction can also be caused by inflammatory conditions such as allergy, but since you've tried medication this is probably not it. Your best bet for a satisfactory solution is to see a specialist. Good news it that breathing is a functional concern and so health insurance may assist you in getting care.

Edward Buckingham, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 44 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.