Too Soon After Surgery to Be Worried About Uneven Nostrils?

I recently had open rhinoplasty and am now one week post-op. I realize that the end result is forever away, however, I am a little concerned about the convex shape of my right nostril. I want to know: (1) if this is normal, (2) will this fall away or fade, (3) are there possibly stitches there that are making it keep this shape or something else that could be causing that? I am hesitant to ask my doctor simply because it's his "art" and I can't help but think that his answer would be slightly biased (therefore not succeed at putting me at ease) :) Thank you all so much in advance for volunteering your time to do this -- it means a lot!!

Doctor Answers 11

Judging Early Rhinoplasty Results

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Kacee, I would encourage you to discuss your concerns with your surgeon - the current one and any future ones that might arise. The surgeon who performed the rhinoplasty knows precisely what was done and could easily explain to you what is going on with your right nostril rim. In some cases it could be elevated more on the one side due to unwanted scabbing around internal sutures.

If this were the case, the nostril rim should settle down with better wound care and simply time. There are other possible explanations but, again, your surgeon is the best resource at this time. The bottom line is that it is very premature to judge your results at one week out following rhinoplasty. Happy healing.

San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

What I tell my rhinoplasty patients is that they must be patient, and it is O.K. to ask questions.

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Dear Kacee,

I tell all my rhinoplasty patients many times before the surgery that this particular procedure requires allot of patience on the part of the patient. In my experience this is particularly evident in an 'open" rhinoplasty. I feel that most of this is because rhinoplasty is a "surgery of millimeters". And until the majority of the swelling of the various tissues (skin, cartilage, bone, etc) many of early concerns are dynamic and will change as the healing process takes place, In terms of my practice, and I feel is similar for most other physicians, having my patients ask me questions, or voice any concerns, is seen by me and my staff as a fundamental part of the healing/post-operative process, and thus encouraged. I hope you still trust your surgeon, as I am sure you do since you chose him to perform the procedure, and you should be confident that you will get an honest answer to this question. As far as answering your specific question about the contour of your right alar rim/nostril you would be best served to ask your surgeon, since it may require inspecting inside your nose to properly evaluate the area in question.

Best wishes,

S.P. Maggi, M.D.

Rhinoplasty and Uneven Nostrils

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One week after open rhinoplasty is too early to judge your results. There is still significant swelling, scar tissue is forming, mucosal sutures can pull one alar rim higher than the other and the splints and taping can alter the shape. After 6 to 8 weeks you will have a better idea of any asymmetry and you should discuss that with your surgeon at that time.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews


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Your question is a reasonable and common question at this point after your surgery. Certainly, almost all asymmetries at one week  post op will smoothen and disappear over the ensuing weeks and months. The best approach for you is to maintain contact and communication with your surgeon who is most competent and capable. The surgeon has a clear understanding of the problems you had before the procedure and reasonable expectations for improvement and correction of assymetries. Be sure to ask those questions that you find difficult to ask.  

Wayne Foster, MD, FACS
Toms River Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Too Soon After Surgery

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While it is fine to question the surgeon, you also have to remain patient for the healing to complete. It will take at least three weeks to have an idea of the result with a clearer concept after 6 to 8 weeks. If you approach a surgeon in a positive manner, they will provide you an honest evaluation of the work and what steps that can be taken to maximize the result.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Talk to your doctor

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I would suggest speaking with your doctor about your concerns. No one knows better what was done than the person that did it. Though it is his art, most physicians will be up front and often will say when they get a result that was unexpected or needs revision.

Remember, in some patients, results from a rhinoplasty can take up to a year to be seen.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Don't worry... Just ask! Make an appointment with your surgeon.

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It’s not unusual for rhinoplasty patients to have asymmetry in the immediate post-operative period. In the vast majority of patients, this asymmetry resolves with the passage of time.
Rarely, structural phenomena may contribute to nasal asymmetry.Possible causes include slipped cartilage grafts, distortion from internal and external splints, and sutures that have caused distortion or have separated prematurely.
Your pictures suggest nostril asymmetry secondary to elevation of the right alar rim.Without performing a physical examination it’s impossible to determine the specific cause of this particular problem.For this reason it’s important to consult your plastic surgeon.Your surgeon understands exactly what was done at the time of your procedure and can tell if this is an expected or unexpected finding.Whether it requires intervention or should be left alone.Hopefully this consultation will address your concerns and alleviate your anxiety.

Uneven Nostrils After Rhinoplasty

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It is normal to have some asymmetry of the nasal tip and nostrils after rhinoplasty. Some may experience unevenness and asymmetric swelling from the procedure itself. The patient needs to know this pre-operatively. This is especially true in secondary rhinoplasty. This may take up to 12-15 months to correct itself. The key element is that it must be symmetrical intra operatively which only your surgeon can tell the patient as this is very reassuring.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Wait until you heal from Rhinoplasty and ask your doctor

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You are still in the very early phases and more swelling will have to go away before the final shape. This might take up to 6-8 weeks to occur. The picture shows a small notch in the right nostril. Again,I would wait for sometime and it is ok to ask your doc. Hope that helps!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Too Soon After Surgery to Be Worried About Uneven Nostrils?

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Thank you for your question. 

With any nasal surgery, the name of the game is patience. At one week, we would expect you to have quite a bit of swelling and bruising still noticeable and may have trouble breathing out of one or both nostrils. By the end of two weeks, typically, you will still be swollen but look more like you have a bad cold, rather than post surgical. Swelling can take up to a year to be completely gone, however, by 9 weeks you will look very good and should see big difference from your pre-op pics. I encourage you to stay patient. 

Jon Kurkjian, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 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.