Primary rhinoplasty was good and I'm satisfied, but I still can't fully breath through my right nostril 3 weeks post op. Normal?

I still cannot breathe through my right nostril 3 weeks post op. Looking inside my nose with a bright light (I think it's called the internal valves)-one has more space than the nostril I am having issues with. What is also of concern to me is that I did that test where I place my hand over my cheek and push away from the nose and I can breathe much better. My doctor did a closed procedure and assured me this was just swelling but never looked inside at 3 weeks to check. Is it just swollen?

Doctor Answers 4

Still can't fully breathe through my right nostril 3 weeks post-op. Normal?

In general, congestion following rhinoplasty that is due to swelling usually resolves in 2 weeks or more. Every patient heals different, and some may be congested for a longer period of time. I would recommend following up with your surgeon so he or she can look at your nose and ensure you are healing properly. I hope this helps, and I wish you the best of luck with the remainder of your recovery.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Primary rhinoplasty was good and I'm satisfied, but I still can't fully breath through my right nostril 3 weeks post op. Normal?

3 weeks is very early. The nose can be swollen for up to a year or more. Swelling will depend upon the nature of maneuvers employed, presence of grafts or implants, thickness of skin, open vs closed, revision vs primary, etc.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Can't breath 3 weeks after my rhinoplasty

The recovery from a rhinoplasty takes a few months, so it is quite normal for you not to be able to breath at this point. It may be a good idea for you to use nasal saline spray, but please check with your surgeon to make sure it is ok with him. It is difficult for you to examine the inside of the nose, so ask your surgeon to take a look to see if everything is healing well.

Andres Bustillo, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Trouble Breathing Through Nose After Rhinoplasty

Three weeks post op is still very early in the overall healing process, and likely too soon to tell if you will end up with longer term issues. There is edema (swelling) from the incisions and procedure itself, and this can take six weeks or longer to resolve. I cannot see any obvious abnormalities from your photo, and your surgeon will be the best one to evaluate things.

A couple of questions that are raised by your case are, did you have breathing problems through the right side pre operatively, and were any functional issues such as a deviated septum addressed at surgery? The answers to these will influence the long term result.

Good luck, and in many cases such as yours, all that is needed is tincture of time.

James Bartels, MD
Manchester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 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.