How Many People Have Long Term Difficulty Breathing After Rhinoplasty?

My biggest fear is having more congestion and restricted airways after surgery. I enjoy running and challenging myself physically. My doctor mentioned there is a chance of long term issues. Has anyone ever experienced that? From a professional point of view what are the odds of that happening? He thought my situation would actually be the reverse, but that is not a guarantee and probably why I have not scheduled the appointment. Thanks so much! If you need pictures I can attach some!

Doctor Answers 12

Nasal obstruction after rhinoplasty

 It is extremely important for your surgeon to examine the internal portion of the nose and determine if there is any pre-existing nasal obstructive issues. These include a deviated septum, turbinate hypertrophy, and the function of the nasal valve. Any of these issues should be addressed surgically at time of the rhinoplasty to prevent postoperative nasal obstruction. Any breathing-related issue his typically billed to the patient's insurance for medical necessity. Rhinoplasty is  considered cosmetic and must be paid for by the patient  themselves.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Breathing after rhinoplasty

It is certainly an important consideration.  Careful pre operative assessment should help avoid breathing problems.  I commonly perform inferior turbinate reduction to avoid airway problems after surgery and this has been quite successful.  Ask your surgeon about it.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Risk of Breathing Problems Following Rhinoplasty

    Hopefully, your rhinoplasty surgeon will give you an honest estimate of the percentage of his or her patients who have had breathing problems following rhinoplasty.  I do think that these problems are technique dependent, and certain surgeons have more postsurgical breathing problems than others.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Breathing after surgery

A well-performed rhinoplasty using modern techniques of structural grafting will often improve your breathing instead of making it worse.  

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Concerns about breathing problems as a result of a rhinoplasty

The better question is not how many people have breathing problems after rhinoplasty but will you? If your surgery is performed by a competent rhinoplasty surgeon who also addresses other potential/existent intranasal breathing issues such as enlarged turbinates and septal deformities, the risks for you should be fairly low.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Modern Rhinoplasty: good for breathing

Rhinoplasty specialists often see patients that had surgery from (hopefully) prior decades who have serious breathing problems. Reduction rhinoplasty, performed to create a smaller nose, still carries some risks. The advantage of modern rhinoplasty is that cartilage is very conservatively removed instead of aggressively cut out. The trend is towards folding and permanently suturing the cartilage to achieve aesthetic goals while preserving tip support and nasal valve function. Common pre-existing causes of nasal obstruction such as a deviated septum and turbinate hypertrophy are easily addressed if needed at the time of rhinoplasty.

Edmund Fisher, MD
Bakersfield Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

How Many People Have Long Term Difficulty Breathing After Rhinoplasty?

 I have performed Rhinoplasty and complicated Revision Rhinoplasty for 25 years.  Rhinoplasty does not have to lead to reduced nasal breathing which most often occurs from over-resection of the tip cartilage/upper lateral cartilage junction (internal nasal valve).  There are no guarantees and reputable Rhinoplasty Surgeons will not provide one beyond his/her best professional efforts to do their very best.  

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Airway issues after rhinoplasty

If you asked me this 30 years ago, I would say there was a good chance for potential airway problems.  Now, I think most surgeons try to maintain function while improving the aesthetics, but initially you may feel congested after surgery.

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

Not many breathing problems after rhinoplasty

Breathing problems can occur after rhinoplasty, but in practice the risk is a small one. Rhinoplasty can change the airway resistance at the internal valve inside the nose, and the external valve. The external valve or nostril, and the internal valve can be supported or strengthened during rhinoplasty and an excellent surgeon will anticipate the need for proper structure and support, as well as proper aesthetics.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Rhinoplasty Can Improve Breathing

Rhinoplasty, if done by an expert who is familiar with how to do septoplasty well and turbinate surgery well (surgery inside the nose), can actually improve breathing. In 2012, I published a study in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery which shows this to be true for those with moderate to severe breathing issues before rhinoplasty. For those without any breathing problems, a rhinoplasty did not worsen breathing. This study was done over the course of 7 years. 

The article's title is: Subjective and Objective Improvement in Breathing After Rhinoplasty.

Please seek out an expert who frequently performs rhinoplasty when you are considering surgery. I hope this helps.  - Dr. Richard Zoumalan, Beverly Hills.

Richard A. Zoumalan, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 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.