Is Whistling Nose After Rhinoplasty a Temporary Side Effect?

I had rhinoplasty last week and now my nose whistles when I breathe. I sound like darth vader. I looked it up, and I found out that septal perferations can cause this, so now I'm worried.

Is it common in the early healing stages or is it most likely permanent? My rhinoplasty was cosmetic only, and I went to a well known rhinoplasty specialist, but I know mistakes do happen. I will ask about it on my next appoitment but would love some peace of mind for now.

Doctor Answers 5

Whistling Nose After Rhinoplasty...Is it Temporary or Permanent?

Hi Annaush (Darth),

Whistling through the nose after rhinoplasty can be from a septal perforation, but can also be caused by a very large, crusty mass of hardened nasal mucus and/or dried blood, also known as "the mother of all boogies". You should return to your rhinoplastic surgeon for examination of your nose, and possible cleaning of the nasal passages (removal of the boogie).

If your surgeon did nothing to your nasal septum then there should not be a septal perforation. Sometimes even in a rhinoplasty that is cosmetic only, nasal septal cartilage grafts are taken which could result in a perforation.

I hope that your whistling nose is temporary and resolves with cleaning.

Now if you had woke from anesthesia whistling "Zippidy-Doo-Dah", that's a whole different story.

Be well.

Dr. P (Luke)

Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Whistling can be caused from edema in the nose

It is true that nose whistling occurs from altered airflow dynamics through the nose from a septal perforation. If only cosmetic nasal surgery was performed and not a septoplasty or harvesting of septal cartilage, it is impossible to get a septal perforation. The whistling can be caused from edema in the nose at this point and should therefore subside and go away.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Probably not.

It is too early to have that happen. Probably, it is just swelling. Have your doctor check it to give you peace of mind and sleep well.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Most likely not septal perforation after Rhinoplasty

Because you are only 1 week after rhinoplasty, a perforation in the septum is probably not responsible for the whistle sounds. It may be due to (temporary) swelling, crusting etc.

Easiest is to have your surgeon examine you. A crust (old blood and dried secretions) can be removed in the office and examination will also exclude a hole in the septum.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Please see your physician

It is too early to tell if you may have a potential problem or complication. You have at one week post-op a lot of internal swelling in side the nose which will take several months to completely resolve. Your noisy breathing may be coming from alteration in airflow as a result of this swelling. If in fact you did have a septal perforation which is rare after primary (first-time) rhinoplasty it may become smaller with time. Bottom line is you should talk to your physician and have them re-inspect the inside of your nose, most likely your breathing is just secondary to swelling.

Samson Lee, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.