What is the Likelihood of a Notched Nostril Caused by Rhinoplasty Correcting Itself Through the Healing Process?

I had nose surgery 8 days ago and am experiencing intense anxiety over the asymmetry of my nose. The left nostril is "notched," making the left nostril seem higher than the right. This distortion is most noticeable from the front view. To add insult to injury my nose tip is elevated in an unnatural looking way. My surgeon and I agreed to keep my natural angle, but as of now the angle from upper lip to tip looks overly done. Ah! Are these results likely to resolve?

Doctor Answers 8

Worried about results at 8 days

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Rhinoplasty is a delicate operation. The nose skin is very thin and swells quite a bit after surgery. This selling can be asymmetric at times. For now I would be patient and follow the directions your plastic surgeon gives you. Most likely anything you are concerned with now will settle down and be less noticeable or even still be an issue with time. Open rhinoplasty takes the most time to heal, and can really take 6-12 months before the final result shows true. Hang in there and try not to stress out this early, Dr Kerr

Tip and nostril changes

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It is extremely common for the nose tip to appear up-turned in the first few weeks after rhinoplasty due to stiffness and swelling of the tip and columella. Minor alar distortions may correct over time

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

8 days of asymmetry

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really? 8 days and you are already online asking us instead of your surgeon?  no photo, just your interpretation of what it should look like.  talk to your surgeon and wait at least 6 months before declaring it a problem. the intense anxiety you describe is not healthy. try to relax and remember why you chose your surgeon in the first place. good luck

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

Notched Nostril After Rhinoplasty

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At only eight days after surgery, it is way too early to interpret what you are seeing as the final outcome. What I know for sure is that the overelevation of the tip you see will come down. This is due to swelling, tape distortions and the early effect of an open rhinoplasty. The notch in the alar rim may or may not completely resolve but it is going to take three to six months more healing to see how that resolves.

Notched Nostril 8 Days Post Rhinoplasty

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Normal post-op swelling can cause the nostril asymmetry you describe. That same temporary swelling at the base of your nose will make the tip look  "elevated". Be patient and share your concerns with your surgeon.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Post rhinoplasty irregularities

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It's difficult to advise without photos. Your nose will definitely change over the next few months. If you had preop nostril asymmetry it's possible rhinoplasty surgery and or swelling has made this more noticeable. Be patient and speak to your surgeon. After a year of healing nostril asymmetry can be corrected with a revision procedure.

Philip Solomon, MD, FRCS
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Final result will take time to see.

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Before and after photos would be helpful to illustrate your concern, but that said, 8 days is very early to be drawing any conclusions about final results.  The swelling of the tissues, the effects of the taping and splinting can all cause minor irregularities early.  Follow up with your surgeon regularly, and make sure they are aware of your concern so it can be addressed, if needed, in the future.

Notched Nostril after Rhinoplasty

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Before and after photographs would be helpful to give you specific advice.  That being said, usually there is a lot of swelling 8 days after surgery that can create distortions in the nose that will resolve over time. 

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