Very Narrow Bones After Surgery?

I underwent revision rhino surgery a few weeks ago and I'm worried that my nasal bones were narrowed too much. My breathing is extremely constricted in the upper bridge area. Would it be possible that the narrowness of the bones has constricted my airways too much? My original nose was quite large so the difference in the air flow is drastic now. Is this tightness in the upper bridge normal after surgery? I don't remember this being a problem at all after my first rhino.

Doctor Answers 2

Breathing Problems from a Narrow Bridge after Revision Rhinoplasty?

Thank you for the great question. This is a problem that is very difficult in reduction rhinoplasty (making the nose smaller). Obviously, a smaller nose on the outside will correspond to a smaller nose on the inside. With an overall decrease in the size of the nose, there can be issues with the breathing -- narrower passages cause more airflow restriction and a sensation of insufficient breaths. Interestingly, this is rarely due to over-narrowing of the nasal bones. Rather, it generally comes from the middle third of the nose -- specifically an area called the nasal valve.  There are essential techniques in reduction rhinoplasty that help maintain an adequate air passageway in this area, including placement of spreader grafts. This may be worth discussing with your surgeon, though it is very early in the recovery process.

Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Very narrow bones after surgery?

It is not uncommon to have issues with breathing following surgery. In general, the side effects of rhinoplasty can include the following:

1) Congestion
2) Swelling
3) Asymmetry
4) Irregularities

The congestion usually improves after two weeks. Exactly how many weeks has it been since your surgery? If the surgery is performed improperly and pinching is present, it may lead to problems with breathing. This can sometimes occur when the tip is made too narrow or too much cartilage is removed. Was tip work performed during your revision? You will generally feel tightness in your upper bridge due to the nature of the surgery, and this is the case whether or not it was performed improperly. Without seeing photos or performing an exam, it is difficult to tell what is causing you to have trouble breathing and if it is because of your nasal bones being narrowed too much. I would recommend visiting your surgeon to see his/her opinion on the issue. I hope this helps, and good luck!

Jonathan Kulbersh, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

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