Rhinoplasty Smile Affected

I had Septorhinoplasty 13 days ago, all looks well and good, I'm concerned about upper lip, seems to be hanging down past top teeth, and find it hard to smile, teeth hardly show, and lip looks stretched! Will this be permanent? Will really appreciate an reply, ben

Doctor Answers 10

Rhinoplasty smile affected

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Not to worry!  All will be well once the appropriate surgical healing time has occurred.  Its very normal to have 2 weeks of bruising and swelling.  Patient's can experience numbness on the tip of the nose, upper lip and even upper 2 front teeth as well as a conglomeration of unusual sensations.  At about 3 weeks your nose will begin to look more natural and at approximately one month you will feel that your surgical experience is beginning to be a distant memory.  But your nose will change and go through changes for months!  So be patient and you will find that all of these short term issues will resolve.

Scottsdale Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Smile and lip temporarily affected with 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. 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. A revision rhinoplasty is a much harder surgery with a lot of internal scarring to cut through. This can also be a reason for prolonged numbness. 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. As the nerves grow back, you may feel some tingling, itchiness and on occasion pain. 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.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

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

13 days post-op

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It is extremely common for the upper lip and smile to be affected in the first few weeks/months after rhinoplasty due to stiffness and swelling in the base of the nose

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Upper lip appearance after rhinoplasty

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You are still very early on in the recovery process. You are likely pretty swollen and your concern is an extremely common one at this stage in the healing phase. Dissection along the columella or intentionally disrupting muscle fibers from the nose to the upper lip can make it seem awkward to smile at first. More importantly, post-operative swelling alone can make the lip feel and look bigger. Swelling can also affect how the lip feels as you try to smile. I usually tell my patients that even though this sensation improves, it can take several months for your lip and smile to feel normal again.  You should start to notice an improvement over the next few weeks, however. Make sure that you communicate your concerns to your surgeon, who will be the one to best guide you as to what to expect during the healing process. Hope this helps. Good luck!


Sarmela Sunder, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Smile Different Immediately After Rhinoplasty

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Hi BGoldy,

Often times the muscles between the upper lip and the bottom of the nose are disconnected during rhinoplasty to help keep the tip of the nose from being pulled downward during the healing process.  It usually takes a few weeks to months for the muscles to reconnect and for the smile to come back to normal. In the meantime, try to keep a stiff upper lip.  Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Smile affected 2 weeks after Rhinoplasty

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Two weeks after a Rhinoplasty is way to soon to worry about a smile that's off.  Give yourself a few months to heal and as always ask the surgeon that did your Rhinoplasty.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Lip swelling after rhinoplasty

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Do not worry.  This is very common and should resolve within a few weeks to months.

Adam D. Stein, MD
Raleigh-Durham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

The lip also reacts to rhinoplasty

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When the surgeon adjusts the lower nose in closed rhinoplasty or performs the operation through the nasal base in open rhinoplasty, the lip becomes stiff in response. This almost always disappears as healing progresses.  Try to be patient.

Mark B. Constantian, MD, FACS
Nashua Plastic Surgeon


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It is too early to make a judgement. There is a lot of swelling bruising now. As the swelling and bruising resolve 6-12 weeks you should see a return to normal smile.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Lip Swelling after Rhinoplasty

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The hardest part of a rhinoplasty is patience.  You are going to have swelling and bruising.  These take time to resolve.  At two weeks out from your rhinoplasty, these are all normal findings, however if you are concerned, the best place to get advice is from your own surgeon.

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.