Rhinoplasty - Infection and Swelling More Than a Year Later

The tip of my nose is still pretty swelled up after 13 months of surgery. 10 months into the recovery from surgery, I had a steroid injection, which sped up the healing process, and my nose looked really great afterward. However, a month after the steroid injection, I had an infectoin which caused my nose to swell up pretty badly, and it returned to a post-op appearance and coloring. After taking antibiotics, the swelling subsided completely, after which my nose looked great. However, soon after (10 days or so), the tip of nose became swollen again, I had ear pain, and a soar throat, which I took antibiotics for. Now my nose is still swollen, especially after I wake up in the morning, I am very concerned... Suggestions?

Doctor Answers 6

It is unusual to have swelling and infection so many...

Hi Dara,

It is unusual to have swelling and infection so many months after rhinoplasty. You need to discuss the situation with your surgeon. There are some things that can cause recurrent infections and swelling that include a foreign body, an infected implant, or an inclusion cyst. The next time that the nose is infected, a culture should be obtained if there is any discharge. If there is a fluctuant area, a needle aspiration may yield material for culture so that the type of bacteria causing the infection can be determined, and the best antibiotic to eradicate it used. If there is an implant, it sounds like it needs to come out at this point. The antibiotic that helped your ear and throat may not be effective against whatever is causing your nasal infection and swelling. Much good luck.

Dr. P

Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

You may have had an infection related to a cartilage...

You may have had an infection related to a cartilage graft or foreign material in your nose. These types of infections usually do not resolve unless the cartilage or foreign object is removed. I would suggest to ask your surgeon whether there are any permanent sutures or grafts in the tip of your nose that may cause persistent infection or swelling. If so he probably would elect to remove them.

On the other hand, If there are no foreign objects or grafts, just wait for the swelling to resolve with time.

Armen Vartany, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Infection and swelling one year postoperative rhinoplasty surgery could be from a foreign body - implant or suture.

If you do not have an implant in your nose, you may have some fine permanent sutures causing recurrent swelling and inflammation. If there are no foreign bodies in your nose, and if your surgeon is usure what's happening, you may consider getting a second opinion from another rhinoplasty specialist. It may be good to bring a copy of your operative report. Hope this helps. Dr Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 418 reviews

Infection/Swelling of Nose

Swelling related to the surgery takes up to one year to subside. The swelling you are experiencing in the morning maybe related to general swelling experienced by everyone. Swelling in the nose is normal, even for those who never had a rhinoplasty. Factors that affect swelling include salt intake, allergies, alcohol consumption and hormonal cycle. The swelling may just be more noticeable now that you have a smaller nose. If you feel the swelling is unusual I would advise scheduling a follow-up appointment with the surgeon who performed your rhinoplasty. An in-person evaluation will provide you with better answers.

Sam Rizk, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Recurrent infection

If the sore throat and ears are unrelated, it sounds like youhave a recurrent post op infection.  Most likely, you have a suture that is infected, and needs to be removed.  Unfortunately this will require surgry, but it is better addressd sooner rather than later.  Hang in there.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Rhinoplasty problems

Long term swelling that you describe may be the sign of infection that is protracted. You should probably have it evaluated more thoroughly and possibly cultured.

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