For How Long Can Breathing Difficulty Persist After Rhinoplasty?

I have done a Rhioplasty to reduce my nose size> In fact, I am 13 days post op and still have breathing difficulties! the air going really hard throw the nose airways even though I am following the post op instructions. Is this normal for until now? and how long this problem can persist?

Doctor Answers 11

Breathing after rhinoplasty - nose job

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Just as the outside of your nose is swollen, the inside lining of you nose will be quite swollen after rhinoplasty.  At 2 weeks, this should begin to subside.  However, the mucosal lining may take 6-12 weeks before returning to normal after rhinoplasty depending on the amount of work done.  

Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Early post rhinoplasty nasal breathing difficulties

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At 2 weeks post op there is residual swelling that can cause nasal airway breathing difficulties. Another common cause is the formation of crusting in the nasal passages that accumulate because you are not blowing your nose this soon post op.  This can easily be removed by your surgeon or his/her assistant.  A call to the office might help alleviate this discomfort.

Keith A. LaFerriere, MD (retired)
Springfield Facial Plastic Surgeon

Airway after rhinoplasty

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This is a tough question to answer because everyone is different  If you had no airway problems before surgery and you feel "stuffed up", then it is most likely post-op swelling. This usually gets better as the tissues heal.  This may take 6-12 weeks. If you had difficulty breathing before surgery and you had surgery to try to improve your breathing, you may or may not have improvement after , and it could potentially be worse.  Usually patients have improvement in this case but some do not.

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

Nasal stuffiness after rhinoplasty

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The inside of the nose will remain swollen and reactive for about eight weeks after rhinoplasty. There is no way to speed the process though saline nasal sprays may help, and a cold air humidifier at night to rest the nasal lining. Avoid the temptation to use nasal sprays for cold congestion as the airway will open, however there will be a rebound effect which can prolong the recovery.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Breathing after surgery

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While you may have some difficulty in the early stage of your recovery following surgery, due to swelling, as the swelling subsides you should be able to breathe normally again.

Breathing after Rhinoplasty

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It is normal to have breathing obstruction 13 days after rhinoplasty. Recovery does depend on what was done during your surgery. Your surgeon is the best person to answer your question.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Problems breathing after rhinoplasty

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It may take up to a month for intranasal swelling to resolve.  Nasal saline spray should help with any crusting that may be blocking the airway.  Have your surgeon do a thorough intranasal exam to evaluate the problem.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Post rhino breathing difficulty

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A well done rhinoplasty may have persistant real or precieved difficulty for months or even permanently. If there is a mechanical obstruction; blood clot, displaced bone or cartilage, mucous plug, swelling, etc. then this breathing difficulty may last until the obstruction is corrected. If the airway is patent and there is nothing that can be detected there might be a neurological explanation for the inability to preceive a normal exchange of air.

Your board certified plastic surgeon can help you  understand just what it is that is causing you to have the "breathing difficulty". Good Luck. Jon Sattler, MD


Jon Sattler, MD
Glendora Plastic Surgeon

Swelling likely cause of breathing difficulty post rhinoplasty

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Swelling is the commonest reason for difficulty breathing after a septorhinoplasty. Crusting can also interfere with breathing.  Swelling will improve with time but you may be able to use saline spray or a decongestant to help at this point.  You must follow up with your surgeon and ask what he or she recommends.  Good luck.

Louise Ferland, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon

Post rhinoplasty stuffiness

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This not at all unusual and might persist for a few weeks longer. Be patient and consult your surgeon.

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.