Uneven Swelling 3 Weeks After Rhinoplasty? (photo)

I got an open rhinoplasty about 3 1/2 weeks ago. I know the bulbous swelling of the tip will go down, but my nostrils appear to be uneven (my left nostril is much lower than my right). There was initially much more post-op swelling on the left side of my face, and I am wondering if the unevenness is just from swelling or if it is permanent. I can fell a small bump that I assume to be scar tissue almost at the base of the interior of my left nostril, which is not present in my right.

Doctor Answers 9

Stop Worrying About Uneven Swelling

Though swelling does substantially decrease in the initial months following your rhinoplasty, three weeks is not enough time to assess the final result of your new nose. Swelling is normal in any nose, even one that never had surgery. Many factors affect swelling such as salt intake, allergies, alcohol consumption and hormones. I understand that you are worried about the uneven swelling that you are experiencing, but swelling can and often does take a full year to fully heal. My best advice would be to track the progress of your swelling, without over-analyzing your situation. If the uneven swelling does persist in the coming weeks or months, you can always schedule a follow-up visit with the surgeon that performed your nose job. In the worst case scenario, revision rhinoplasty is always a viable option. 

New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Be patient

Don´t worry for that, as the other physicians had been saying, is to soon yet, there is almost always uneven swelling because yo have to work more on one side than the other, everything will settle down and you will love your new nose.

Jose Luis Sanjurjo, MD
Mexico Facial Plastic Surgeon

Too Soon

All physicians will say the same thing: It is too soon to expect your final result until six to twelve months out from rhinoplasty.

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

To soon to determine asymmetry 3 weeks post Rhinoplasty

As stated by the other surgeons it is to soon to determine asymmetry three weeks post Rhinoplasty surgery. Be patient and see your surgeon frequent so you may be assured that your healing is coming along as expected. This will help you keep peace of mind. Wishing you a quick recovery and best regards!

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Post op rhinoplasty

You will have to wait 9-12 months for the completion of the healing process. By 6 months you will have some idea how your nose is going to look and then you can decide if you will need a revision.

Mohsen Tavoussi, MD, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Swelling three weeks after rhinoplasty

Uneven or asymmetric swelling of the nose is very normal 3 weeks after an open rhinoplasty. I would not worry about these differences this early in the recovery period. It may take an entire year for all the swelling to resolve and only then can you fully assess the results and evenness. 

Richard Balikian, M.D.
Temecula Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Uneven swelling 3 weeks after rhinoplasty

I'm not really sure what you are looking at. The nostrils look pretty even to me. I would recommend that you not spend so much time scrutinizing minute differences in your nose and allow for the surgery to completely heal. It will easily take 3-6 months before anyone can really make a judgement about the results.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Uneven Swelling After Rhinoplasty


Thank you for sharing your photos. However, without the before photos and full facial post-op photos it is hard to determine the cause of your asymmetrical swelling.

That said, it is not uncommon that one side of a patient's nose be more or less swollen than the other. At less than a month post-op, you are early assessing the results of you rhinoplsty.

I recommend that you be a little more patient and prevent any nasal trauma from taking place allowing nature to take its course and the swelling to subside. Usually, the final results of a rhinoplasty with an average nasal skin thickness are established at about 12 months post-surgery.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for you inquiry and the best of wishes to you.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Swelling of tip and nostrils

First, there is always asymmetry between the two sides. Often it is not noticed by the patient prior to surgery, that is why I try to point it out before. Either way, you need to give it about a year to settle down.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 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.