Does the Splint Affect Rhinoplasty Results?

I had a septo-rhinoplasty + tonsilectomy done a week ago. I saw my surgeon yesterday and mentioned that my external splint looked rather crooked, but he didn't seem to be concerned. I was getting rid of a crooked nose, so does the splint affect the outcome of the shape, or is it just for protection?

Doctor Answers 10

The nasal splint is important after Rhinoplasty

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The splint is very important, in that it prevents the nasal skin from becoming "amorphous" during the swelling phase after the operation (after any surgery, your body responds by swelling for the first 2-3 days). The skin wants to swell outwards, but the splint prevents this, rather forcing the swelling to cause the skin to "stick" down onto the underlying cartilage that was manipulated during the rhinoplasty. The splint prevents the formation of "dead space" under the skin, where fluid can collect and result in a loss of nasal definition.

Although it is nice to have a clean, symmetric splint, it is not totally necessary to achieve the same endpoint. If the shape being held under the splint is symmetric as desired, it is only "cosmetic" that the splint looks that way as well, i.e. if one edge is longer on the left side, but it does not impact the splint's function, then it is not important.

That being said, cosmetic Rhinoplasty is a aesthetic surgery, and surgeons tend to pay attention to the aesthetics - so most of us try to have a neat, symmetric splint.

Crooked Splint May Have Been Desired

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Correcting the crooked nose always represents a Rhinoplasty challenge. Personally, I do think the splinting is an important part of the overall nasal procedure.

One could speculate that your surgeon wanted to counteract the nasal deviation with his splinting technique and convince the nose to heal in the desired direction... I would raise this question with your Rhinoplasty surgeon.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Nasal Splint Removal

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Nasal splints are used in the vast majority of rhinoplasty procedures. Splints are utilized to hold the nasal bones in proper position. They also help to decrease swelling in the post-operative period

                The management of nasal splints varies from patient to patient and depends upon the patient’s specific anatomic deformity. In some cases, nasal splints may not be necessary. In other cases where the nasal bridge is narrowed or when the nose is straightened, nasal splints may be an absolute necessity. Under these circumstances, premature removal of the splint may result in spread of the nasal bones or recurrent deviation of the nose. This can adversely impact the surgical result.

                It takes time for the nasal bones to heal following an infracture. For this reason, nasal splints are usually left in place for at least one week following rhinoplasty surgery. This allows time for resolution of swelling and bone healing.

                If you’re concerned about the management of your nasal splints, it’s important to contact your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to clarify the issue and provide you with appropriate direction. 

Nasal splint or cast after rhinoplasty.

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A nasal splint or cast is an important part of most rhinoplasties.  They are required when osteotomies (bone cuts) have been performed.  This helps to stabilize the bone in its new position.  We typically leave the splint in position for about 5 days.  It is taped in place and easily removed.  We do not use nasal packing which is what you hear about being so uncomfortable from those who have had rhinoplasty procedures.

When the splint is removed, you may see that the tip of the nose looks slightly more swollen than where the splint was placed.  This is because the splint has helped to reduce the edema (swelling) where it was applied.

There is also some value in terms of protection during the acute healing phase so that if the nose is accidently bumped, the splint may help to protect additional injury.

Jon E. Mendelsohn, MD
Cincinnati Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 128 reviews

After Rhinoplasty: External Splint Helps Preserve Operative Result

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The external splint is an important part of preserving your surgical result. Most surgeons place surgical tape/steri-strips on the exterior of the nose.

This helps do two very important things:

  1. protect the skin from the splint, and
  2. most importantly, decrease the amount of swelling.

The tape puts mild pressure on the skin envelope and can help prevent a blood pocket (hematoma) from forming between the skin and the nasal framework. When a hematoma develops, the blood is eventually replaced by fibrous tissue (scar tissue) and can distort the nose or add volume to the tip.

On top of the surgical tape, surgeons will put an external splint made of aluminum, plaster, plastic, etc. The purpose of this splint is to protect the nose and hold the nasal bones in position if they were broken.

It is possible that the external splint can be put on crooked, even if the surgeon adequately corrected youcrooked nose. Just because the cast/splint itself isnt straight doesnt necessarily mean that your nose wont be.

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

Crooked nasal splint after rhinoplasty they have been intended should not affect your results

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Thank you for your question. It is not uncommon for the nasal splint on the outside to look uneven or crooked. Sometimes this is done intentionally to compensate or the underlying correction. I do not think it will affect your final result. If there is some displacement caused by the splints usually massage can

Splint After Rhinoplasty

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It is normal to have a nasal splint for a week after rhinoplasty. Sometimes it may look to be slightly crooked, however, the splint does not usually effect the overall outcome. It is usually placed for self protection of the patient and to help reduce swelling.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Splint reshapes nasal bones and protects the nose

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It is important to place the splint on the nose straight so that one obtains a straight nasal profile and nasal bones after the surgery. If the splint has been placed on crooked, the nose bones will usually heal crooked Although it is really there to reshape the new nasal bones after they have been reset, it is also there to protect the nose from injury.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Splint holds fractured bones and protects from trauma

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The splint keeps swelling down and holds the fractured bones in place. It also protects the nose from trauma. Most rhinoplasty surgeons use them and I think wisely so.

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

Splints and Rhinoplasty

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Both - the splint helps with the outcome and protects the nose. External splints help control soft tissue swelling and the position of nasal bone fractures after a Rhinoplasty. However, I have had patients accidentally remove their splints and the Rhinoplasty turns out fine. If your nose looks straight, you should not have any problems.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 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.