Loss of Smell After Rhinoplasty?

I was wondering, is there a loss of smell after Rhinoplasty? If so, for how long? Also, can a turbinate be caused by surgery?

Doctor Answers 4

Is there a change in sense of Smell after rhinoplasty?

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Immediately after rhinoplasty your nose feels blocked and breathing through your nose can be difficult. Your nose can feel congested because of swelling of the inner lining of the nose, this will improve at the end of the first week. Swelling can also alter your sense of smell and this returns over the first 4-6 weeks. Permanent change in sense of smell is very rare.

Loss of smell is temporary

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There is a temporary loss of smell from the rhinoplasty due to the swelling that is present on the nasal passageways. Patients are physically unable to get airflow through their nose, especially if they had a septoplasty done at the same time. Turbinate surgery is also sometimes performed to improve the airflow dynamics through the nose.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Sense of smell after rhinoplasty

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Temporary loss of smell and sometimes an associated diminished taste sensation after rhinoplasty is not unusual and tends to improve over  3-6 weeks.

More permanent causes can occur but are rare.

Turbinates occur naturally and are not caused by surgery but can be treated by them

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Loss of smell with rhinoplasty

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It is possible but rare. It is very important to differentiate complete loss of smell or decreased smell. Complete loss can be permanent and could be related to injury to the smell nerve (Olfactory nerve) during surgery. You should see an Otolaryngologist for smell test. You can also look up a smell and taste center near you.

If smell is decreased, it is likely temporary from nasal congestion which is common after rhinoplasty and will get better with time.

Turbinates can become swollen after a rhinoplasty but it should be transient. If your congestion does not improve a month after the rhinoplasty, it could be a permanent problem which might require nasal steroid sprays, antihistamines and in some cases surgery.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 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.