I Had a Septoplasty Resulting in an External Nasal Valve Collapse. Is There a Possiblity It Will Eventually Heal Itself?

Three years ago I had a septoplasty. I had no trouble breathing during the day, but a little bit at night with occasional snoring. Right after the tubes were taken out a week after the surgery, the airflow in the deviated left side of my nose felt abnormal, like I could breathe way too much. Within two hours, the side of my nose had collapsed, leaving no air flow at all. I also have to constantly unstick the outside of my nose from the inside. It has improved somewhat; will it ever heal itself?

Doctor Answers 4

Collapse of the nasal valves

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Thanks for the question. If you have lost cartilage support leading to collapse on one side of your nose, unfortunately this is not likely to improve on its own. This condition is called nasal vestibular stenosis and insurance coverage may be appropriate. Because of the large volume of both functional and cosmetic rhinoplasty in our practice, we are in-network with most major insurance companies.

An in-person examination would be important but my preliminary thought is that you may require cartilage grafts to restore support to the nose. For external valve collapse (nostrils), I typically use lateral crural strut grafts. These are thin, strong cartilage grafts taken from your septum which are placed underneath the cartilages which support the nostrils, the lower lateral cartilages. If your issue is along the bridge, at the internal valve, spreader grafts are used. Either an open or closed approach may be needed, depending on what exactly the issue is. Be sure to consult with a facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty, as these issues are pretty straightforward in the right hands.

Best regards,

Dr. Mehta 

Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

I Had a Septoplasty Resulting in an External Nasal Valve Collapse. Is There a Possiblity It Will Eventually Heal Itself?

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 Sadly, no.  At 3 years, the tissues are healed and the final result obtained form the Septoplasty however something more than that was done to the nose IMHO.  Septoplasty is an isolated procedure dealing with bends in the septal cartilage and bone located in the center of the nose on the inside.   Some other incisions, for exposure, or additional nasal work, to the nasal tip, would have to be performed in order to have any impact on the nasal valve(s) or the nostrils.  You may want to consult with experienced Rhinoplasty Surgeons for evaluation and recommendations.

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

Nasal valve collapse

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First, you probably had a septorhinoplasty, not just septoplasty. It would be very unusual to have nasal valve issues arising from a septoplasty only. This will not heal itself. You will need additional surgery to reestablish a properly functioning nasal valve. 

Andrew Pichler, MD
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon

Nasal Valve Collapse

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Most likely you had nasal valve collapse prior to the septoplasty. After the septoplasty, the nasal valve collapse may have worsened. This is not do to swelling and will not heal itself. You should have your nose examined by and ENT-Facial Plastic Surgeon. You may need spreader grafts or auricular cartilage butterfly grafts to open the nasal valve.




Oleh Slupchynskyj, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 285 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.