Trouble Breathing and Nasal Voice After Rhinoplasty, Is This Normal?

I had rhinoplasty about 5 weeks ago and I'm realizing that my voice is very nasal now. I also feel that I have to strain my voice to speak loudly...otherwise people can't really hear me. I feel very congested still. Is this normal after 5 weeks? I heard that it could be swelling and I'm hoping that is the only issue. I don't want my voice to sound nasal permanently. I had rhinoplasty/septoplasty and my turbinates/sinus worked on.

Doctor Answers 12

5 weeks after nasal surgery

Hey Gothamgirl - thanks for your question - nose surgery is the operation I do most and invariably with routine post-op care each week for the first 3 weeks, my patients are breathing better than they have ever breathed their whole life.  Your problem could be one of 3 main problems - the most likely is that you have retained secretions and or scabs in the nose which have not been cleaned and cleared out - the second likely reason for the nasal voice and breathing issue is that during the rhinoplasty, the surgeon may have compromised the middle vault of the nose in an attempt to make the nose smaller but to the detriment of the function of the nose and the third possibility is that the lining is still swollen to a great degree.  Again, the most like is that the nose needs more local attention and care - return to your surgeon and let them re-examine you and your nose - wish you the best during your healing process. 

Paul Kelly, MD (

Hamptons Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Nasal Voice After Rhinoplasty

A rhinoplasty will cause significant swelling of both the inside and outside of your nose, and it will not all be resolved in 5 weeks. Other factors which affect breasthing and your voice include crusts of blood and mucus, internal stitches which have not dissolved and the possibility of allergies. If by a "nasal voice" you mean that it sounds like you have a cold that should get better as the breathing improves. Give it another 6 weeks and if your symptoms are about the same something than the normal post-operative recovery may be at work here.

Joseph Fata, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

5 weeks post-op

Swelling (both inside and outside of the nose) can persist for months.  Voice change and congestion are all related to this

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 193 reviews

Nasal voice

You had a lot of work done and will have internal external swelling for 8-10 weeks minimum. If you had endoscopic sinus surgery then nasal voice is a common occurrence initially.  This happens because you have opened up air chambers which cause additional resonance.  In my experience this is usually noticed more by the patient themselves and not by other people as much. It usually disappears in several months.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Nasal voice after Rhinoplasty

What you are describing is the nasal quality of a impaired internal nasal valve.  The nasal valve compromise, after the Rhinoplasty, could be due to:

  1. Failure to suture closed the top section of the intracartilagenous incisions allowing collapse and valve compromise
  2. Swelling of the mucosa at the internal valve location
  3. Crusting inside the nose at the nasal valve level

You should see the plastic an cosmetic surgeon that did your Rhinoplasty and have an examination of the inside of your nose to check for any unusual issues that could be readilly treated.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Trouble breathing

You had a lot of surgery done. Swelling is to be expected. I find that turbinate work often result in prolonged stuffiness. Have your surgeon look in the nose.

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Breathing and Voice Changes Post-Rhinoplasty

If no surgery was done to your palate then after healing fully completes you should have your old voice back, If for any reason you have palatal insuffiency (nasal voice) persisting see your surgeon and have it evaluated.

You should consult your surgeon, or a reputable ENT, to assess your nasal congestion 5 weeks after surgery.

I read your concern. Since you had turbinate work during you may just have some crusting in your nose that may need professional cleaning. An in-ofice, diagnostic nasal endoscopy may be helpful in determining why you're having congestion.

I hope this is helpful.

Regards from NJ.


Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 371 reviews

Difficulty breathing following rhinoplasty

Most patients have difficulty breathing through their nose following rhinoplasty.  This typically improves in the first couple of months following surgery.  Sometimes dry mucous or crusting may make it more difficult for you to breathe.  Saline nasal sprays are helpful in these cases.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Nasally voice after rhinoplasty

It's very common to have a congested voice after rhinoplasty due to the postoperative swelling on the internal nasal linings. This can lead to a nasally voice. If you had an endotracheal tube placed between your vocal cords during your surgery you may have some hoarseness from this, though it is not normal for this symptom to last 5 weeks.

If your voice sounds weak/strained you should probably be examined by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat specialist) to examine you further.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.