Heavy Bridge and Numb Upper Lip After Revision Rhinoplasty

Three weeks ago, I had Revision Rhinoplasty. Now, my upper lip area is numb, and the bridge area, where the bump used to be, feels so heavy, like there is a bowling ball on it. I do see a little bruising under the skin and it is still tender, but the feeling of heaviness is overwhelming.

Do you think the upper lip area will get its sensation back again? How long? Does this heaviness that I feel sound normal? I can't seem to find anyone else's blog that mentions this. What are your thoughts? Please advise.

Doctor Answers 5

Lip numbness and bridge heaviness after revision rhinoplasty

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It is not uncommon to have temporary numbness to the upper lip (or even the hard palate in the area of the front teeth) after rhinoplasty surgery. Similarly, the feeling of heaviness you describe is likely due to the swelling and disruption of the sensory nerves in the area. As your nose heals both of these should continue to improve though this can evolve over several months.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 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

Numbness after Rhinoplasty

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When Rhinoplasty is performed using the open approach (an incision under the nose), the tip of the nose is rendered numb for many months. Less often but still commonly, the front teeth are numbed with or without the upper lip for a period of time. These almost expected changes usually resolve, although some residual altered sensation can be observed.

Rhinoplasty Recovery

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It is common for patients to complain that their nose feels different after rhinoplasty. These changes in sensation include a numb tip, pressure, firmness, and a sensation of heaviness. Fortunately, as the swelling (edema) resolves , the firmness and sensation of pressure usually improves. The amount that the firmness improves does depend on what types of grafts, and significant numbers of cartilage grafts (septal and rib cartilage) can make the nose stiffer and firmer.

Loss of sensation is particulary common after open rhinoplasty procedures. This is because the nerves that supply sensation to the tip are disrupted. Sensation usually returns, but can take as long a year.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Loss of sensation after revision rhinoplasty

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All your complaints are related  to temporary alterations  in sensation after  your rhinoplasty surgery. This is not rare and more frequent and severe after  difficult revision surgery.

There is nothing to do except keep in contact with  your physician while you continue to heal.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 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.