I am six months post primary rhinoplasty with a rock hard tip and columella. Will septal cartilage grafts used soften over time?

The tip and columella are rock hard at six months. My doctor has said to expect it to soften in "due time". In your experience, is this the case? This is something that I didn't realize going into surgery and am hoping it will return to a more natural feeling (I realize it won't be 100% soft). This is awkward/uncomfortable in any kind of intimate situation. I am also in fear that a blow to this are will alter the position because there is no "give".

Doctor Answers 5

Softening tip

It can take up to a year for the nasal tip and columella to soften. It depends on the grafts used as well. A lot of cartilaginous grafts can render the tip stiff permanently. RegardsDr. J

Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Stiff nose after rhinoplasty

It is very common to have a stiff nose after rhinoplasty.  Particularly, if your surgeon used the open rhinoplasty technique.  The open rhinoplasty approach is where there is a small incision on the columella.  When the nasal skin is lifted off thet nose this can slightly destabilize the nose. Often a cartilage graft call the columellar strut graft is used to strengthen the nasal tip.
This will start to soften around 6 months.  The nasal tip numbness will be gone by 3-6 months typically.

Pramit Malhotra, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Unaturally stiff nasal tip after rhinoplasty

Nasal tips almost always feel hard for several months after rhinoplasty. This is due to the common practice of adding a strut graft to strengthen the Columella to prevent the tip from dropping with time. It can take a year to soften and usually never gets as soft as pre-op.

Oakley Smith, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Rhinoplasty and stiffness

Stiffness is very common and depending upon what was done with the tip, it usually softens with time. This may take a year or longer.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Grafts during rhinoplasty

Your doctor is 100% right.  It can take time for the tip to soften up - but it will.  It all has to do with not only what was done under the nose (how much maneuvering had to be done, what grafts were placed, etc), but also your propensity for swelling, your ability to heal, what kind of skin you have, etc.  I personally have seen it stay stiff for up to a year before fully softening up later on.  It will come.  Remember, things heal best by resting.  However, the nose is intrinsically connected to many muscles of facial expression and, as such, does not have that luxury.  It is continuously moving when you smile, when you talk, when you sip your coffee.  It just takes time! Until then, enjoy your new nose!

Miguel Mascaro, MD
Delray Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.