Labored Breathing After Septoplasty Infection

I had a comprehensive septorhino 7 weeks ago. At 3 weeks post op I got a bad sinus infection & just recently finished my second round of antibiotics. I don't feel much congestion and can get air through my nose, but my breathing feels labored and unsatisfying. It's like not all the air is reaching my lungs. I had a ct scan and endoscopy and everything checks out. Could this be due to swelling that will go away or is this probably the way I will breathe going forward? I have no allergies.

Doctor Answers 3

Nasal Congestion after Septorhinoplasty Surgery

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Hi Dallas8303 in Dallas, TX,

Septoplasty surgery helps improve a deviated nasal septum, which may or may not be combined with rhinoplasty. Typically, nasal surgeons will place absorb able sutures inside the nose, which slowly dissolve over time. Sometimes sutures or internal silicone splints may need to be removed about one week following nasal surgery. In addition to internal sutures and splints, the nose produces more mucous and crust in the early postoperative period. Lastly, mucosa swelling contributes to nasal congestion. Saline rinses may help improve the congestion symptoms from all of these.

While many patients have improved nasal breathing early after septoplasty, some patients don't appreciate the gradual improvement until a few weeks after surgery. Nasal congestion after septorhinoplasty surgery may be due to many factors, swelling being the most common. Any concerns should be brought to the attention of your rhinoplasty surgeon, and follow his/her care instructions.

Dr. Chaboki

Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Infection after Septorhinoplasty now "Labored Breathing"

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The change in sensation of nasal airflow is most likely due to residual congestion and /or inflammation of the nasal lining and turbinates from surgery and the infection you are healing from. The best approach at this time is to exercise patience. The congestion and inflammation will resolve over the next several months and the sense of reduced airflow will improve significantly.


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More than likely the difficulty tin breathing through your nostrils is due to swelling especially if you also had a recent infection. Check with your doctor.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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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.