Could my Nostril Be Collapsing 5 Years Post-Op? What Are Symptoms to Look For?

I had rhinoplasty 5 years ago. 1 nostril is starting to look smaller. You are able to see the scar from the incision and it is red, dry and irritated. I have been getting bloody noses on that side lately. Is it common for there to be complications 5 years later?

Doctor Answers 6

Could my nostril be collapsing 5 years after Rhinoplasty?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This would only be happening, IMHO, if you had a sudden dissolution of the tip cartilage in that area at this late date after your Rhinoplasty.  Two scenarios for this happening come to mind.

  1. During your Rhinoplasty you had onlay cartilage grafts that have now dissolved creating a loss of tip support on that side leading to a collapsed nostril.  These could be caryilage, Goretex or something else.
  2. Relating to your other symptoms, there's a retained permanent suture that became inflammed creating dissolution of the tip cartilage on that side and allowing that nostril to collapse.

This is not typical unless one of the above or another similar situation is causing tip cartilage support to be decreased.  You should see your Rhinoplasty surgeon for evaluation and recommendations.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Nostril collapse after rhinoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

From the picture you have submitted, it appears you may have nostril collapse on that side. Unfortunately, the results of rhinoplasty may not become apparent for many years or you may have some intrinsic weakness in the cartilage. If you were happy with your rhinoplasty surgeon, I would first go back and see him/her. If not, I would see an expert in revision rhinoplasty to have the problem corrected.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Collapsed alar rim

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Your photos do suggest a collapse of the alar rim. This can happen when the lower lateral cartilage is weak. A graft may help improve the contour and provide better support.

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

Alar collapse after rhinoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It does look like that alar margin is collapse. It isn't uncommon for unwanted side effects to take a few years to turn up (if they are going to turn up at all). The scar contracture process can cause such issues, especially if the nasal structural support isn't enough to counter act these forces.

The alar margin can be rebuilt to provide an improved contour and function in the area.

The bloody noses may be related to turbulent airflow in the area, or it may be unrelated. You should visit with an experienced revision rhinoplasty surgeon to see what options you have.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Rhinoplasty with alar collapse.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
You have alar collapse with an over projected tip, etc. You need to see an experienced revision rhinoplasty surgeon.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Collapsed nostril

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

From your pictures, you are correct. Your right nostril has collapsed. It is clear as the lateral portion of the nostril has caved in. This is ususally a result of excess cartilage having been removed, or the cartilage being in the wrong position. Repair can be accomplished by supporting the collapsed portion by adding cartilage.

Michel Siegel, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 113 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.