Pain and Numbness After 3 Years of Rhinoplasty? (photo)

Hi. I am 31 yrs old and i would like to ask for a medical advice about my present condition. I have underwent a rhinoplasty for 3 years now.Although it went well and I had no complications, my problem is for the last two weeks now I have felt a numbness on the sides of my nose particularly on the cheeks and then it is sometimes accompanied by occasional pain on the bridge of the nose and sometimes even inside the nose.Though the pain is less and very minimal i get bothered now and afraid now.

Doctor Answers 6

If you had an implant, this could a sign of inflammation from the implant

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It is unusual to see symptoms like this so long after surgery. One exception is in the case of an implant having been placed in the nose.  I see that you are Asian and you have a fairly defined bridge which causes me to wonder if you had an implant placed to augment your bridge and/or tip previously.  If this is the case and the pain is focal and getting worse, it could mean that your body is reacting to the implant. If the skin becomes red over the implant, if there is discharge or if there is a break in the skin, these are more alarming signs of implant infection.  I would definately get an appointment with your surgeon or someone who is familiar with Asian rhinoplasty.  If the implant becomes infected, in my opinion it would need to be removed and likely replaced with a rib cartilage graft large enough to provide as much augmentation as the implant.  If I am wrong about the implant, then I do not have a good explanation for your symptoms.  Either way, go see your surgeon!

Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Pain and numbness afterr 3 years of rhinoplasty?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! Numbness after any surgical procedure is expected for several weeks to months following. As the nerves to the area are traumatized and will then experience a temporary neuropraxia, a transient loss of nerve conduction. This usually resolves over the next 6-12 weeks, but depending on the procedure performed, sometimes much longer. Typically this should resolve by 1 year. As it goes past this date, the likelihood of the sensation returning is small. However, it can take up to 2 years. If no return from there, it is unlikely to return. It should be discussed that persistent sensory changes may develop following any surgical procedure.

The usual signs of the nerves regenerating and neuropraxia resolving is itching, followed by a burning sensation and then occasional sharp, shock-like pains. These will be normal to experience, and actually a promising sign. Usually, normal sensation returns, but is is also possible to have decreased sensation or even increased sensation to the areas affected. Re-educating nerves postoperatively is often helpful and will allow proper instruction for the affected sensory nerves - methods include using different textures to the affected areas when showering, bathing, applying lotion, etc. If bothersome, there are some medications that may be helpful, including Neurontin for pain for hypersensitivity. You can try various textures such as washcloths, loofahs, cotton sheets, etc. Massaging the areas is also beneficial for the incision to make the finest scar possible. The last place to regain the sensation will be directly adjacent to the incision/scar as the nerves will make its way from the periphery to this location. If continual pain arises, evaluation is warranted. After ruling out other causes, one rare explanation may be that a neuroma has developed and may require surgical excision. This is very unlikely unless a large sensory nerve has been transected inadvertently during the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Numbness and Rhinoplasty

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In general, almost all noses are numb right after a rhinoplasty. In most cases its the tip that is numb, but this numbness can extend down to the upper lip, and in rare cases some of the teeth. It is also not uncommon that one side of the nose is more numb than the other. There are nerves that are cut and stretched during a rhinoplasty, and it takes a long time for those nerves to start working again. This is true of an open as well as closed rhinoplasty, although it tends to be more extensive in open rhinoplasty. This could also be more extensive if a septoplasty is performed at the same time. This, along with the swelling, gives you a stiff, plastic type feel, and can give you an odd smile. However, the nerves will start working and again, and your nose stiffness will go away with time. This takes in most cases months, but can take years in rare cases. Extremely rarely, the numbness is permanent, although I have never seen such as case.  In certain cases where an implant was used, numbness could be caused by compression against the implant, or if it happens years later, then an infected implant can cause numbness as well.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Pain And Numbness At 3 Years After Rhinoplasty

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Dear Ling,


Pain and numbness at 3 years post-op are not normal symptoms. So, I recommend that you have your surgeon take a look at your nose and examine the area of matter.

If you had a silicone implant then what you have experience may be the start of a rejection process that requires immediate attention before things get worse and then you will be obligated to undergo surgery to remove your nasal implant.

I believe an antibiotic treatment could be a good start to rectify the situation.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for your inquiry.

The best of wishes to you.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 205 reviews

Pain in nose and cheeks

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It appears you have a silicone implant in your nose. Perhaps your body is reacting to it..See your surgeon and get on antibiotics and a medrol dosepak quick. If it gets red warm soaks every hour. It may be nothing but I smell trouble

Richard Ellenbogen, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Pain and numbness not normal 3 years after rhinoplasty.

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Pain and numbness are not normal 3years after rhinoplasty so see your surgeon. He can evaluate your symptoms. 

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