What is the recovery time and how invasive is a surgical straightening of a previously broken nose?

I broke it when I was 13 and I'm now 20. I have slightly obstructed breathing in my left nostril. It's most evident during exercise. It's also visibly shifted to the right. I'd like to have it straightened to hopefully facilitate better breathing and to have a straight nose. I would not, in any way, want to change my nose other than to have it straightened. What type of surgery am I looking at?

Doctor Answers 7

Straightening a crooked nose is a complex procedure requiring an expert plastic surgeon

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Thank you for your question. When a nose is crooked it often means that both the nasal bones and the nasal septum are crooked so you will require a septoplasty as well as rhinoplasty.

The nasal septal cartilage has memory which means that it will try to curve back to the crooked shape and if it does it will twist the tip of your nose back to the side.

The nasal septum must be straightened, the cartilage must be modified so that it loses its memory and will not curve again, and the nasal bones need to be "rebroken" with a nasal osteotomy so that they can be a realigned properly.

Recovery after this procedure is usually 2 weeks and is the time for bruising to resolve and time for the nasal splint to be removed. In addition you will have internal splints holding the septum into a straight shape and these are typically removed later at 3 weeks.

It is most important that you consult a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, very experienced in rhinoplasty surgery and who has an excellent reputation in your community.

What is the recovery time and how invasive is a surgical straightening of a previously broken nose?

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A septorhinoplasty may be in order, but an exam would be necessary to confirm.

Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of rhinoplasties and rhinoplasty revisions each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Recovery From Open Rhinoplasty

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Thanks for your question. It is entirely possible to straighten the nose without further changing its shape, but unless the broken nose is corrected with 2 weeks of the injury, it will require a formal rhinoplasty to both straighten the septum and realign the rest of the nose. Sometimes the cartilage that forms the flexible distal two-thirds of the nose becomes warped and requires further maneuvers to straighten it, which is best done through an open rhinoplasty approach. The splint will stay on for a week, the bruising will last 7 to 10 days, and activities such as swimming or exercising can be resumed after 1 week. Some surgeons pack the nose, but I have not found this to be necessary. There is minimal pain in the postoperative period. Best wishes.

Broken nose repair

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A rhinoplasty will involve medial and lateral osteotomies to straighten the nasal bones. A cartilaginous spreader graft may be required to be inserted on the concave side to give symmetry and improve air flow. A septoplasty would be performed to improve airflow through the nose. Both procedures can be performed simultaneously. For more information please see our rhinoplasty photo Gallery as well as “patient's guide to a rhinoplasty” located on the link below

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Rhinoplasty and Septoplasty for crooked nose

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Thank you for your question.

I have attached a link to rhinoplasty recovering instructions that I use in my practice. You will need to ask and follow the instructions of the doctor that you choose.

Typically, with correction of a traumatic nasal injury that you have described, it requires full septoplasty and rhinoplasty with fracture of the nasal bones involving medial and lateral osteotomies.

Here are the instructions. I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Recovery time following rhinoplasty

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The typical recovery time following a nose-straightening procedure is about 7-10 days. A splint is placed on the nasal bridge for 5-7 days. The longest portion of recovery is resolution of any bruising that you might get in your lower eyelids. Avoiding aspirin and other blood thinners, taking Arnica and generously icing your face can shorten the recover time by minimizing bruising.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Straightening a crooked nose not so Straight forward

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Thanks for your question. Usually a twisted nose is crooked on the inside and out. Based on your report of breathing difficulties it suggests that your septum inside may not be in the midline. Repairing the septum as well as the nose bones themselves is imperative to get your nose straighter. I emphasize the word straighter as its very unlikely that your nose can be made completely straight. An improvement is a good expectation to have. In some cases spreader grafts along the bridge can help as well. A thorough intranasal exam is necessary to determine the causes of the problem

Thanks and Good luck

Thomas Buonassisi, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 114 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.