4 Months Post Op Nose Is Misshapen and I'm Having Breathing Problems. What is Wrong with my Nose?

I have done rhinoplasty 4 months ago reducing a small hump and access cartilage on my nose. However, there is something wrong with the shape and my breathing. What is wrong with my nose?

Doctor Answers 7

Identifying Breathing Problems After Rhinoplasty

You should definitely have a facial plastic surgeon take a look to get sound advice and it is difficult to comment without an examination or photos but:

1.  A nose that has unwanted cosmetic characteristics at over 3 months post-op may still change but an experienced facial plastic surgeon could help you there.  Things may change, but not that much.

2.  The breathing issues could be from a few anatomical problems.  Your septum could be deviated as a result of surgery.  If "unwanted" or "excess" cartilage was removed from your nose it's often from what's called the lower lateral crura (cartilage).   Removal of cartilage from this area can result in what's known as valve collapse. That means when you breath in your nasal walls in the area where cartilage was removed is collapsing in.  This can be treated with alar batten grafts placed in an orientation that is still cosmetically acceptable.

Be patient, you may have some swelling yet to resolve.

Hope that helps.  

Chase Lay, MD

Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

4 Months Post Op Nose Is Misshapen and I'm Having Breathing Problems. What is Wrong with my Nose?

4 Months Post Op Nose Is Misshapen and I'm Having Breathing Problems. What is Wrong with my Nose?  There's no way to tell what's going on with your nose without before and after photos of your nose for evaluation.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Changing nose shape may affect breathing

It is important to define any breathing problem prior to cosmetic rhinoplasty.  Changing the shape of the nose may affect the air flow permanently, and it certainly will affect it for a few months as the swelling in the structures decreases.

If breathing difficulties arise after rhinoplasty, they may be temporary or permanent.  An accurate evaluation of the post operative anatomy can determine which is the case.

If breathing problems are present before a cosmetic rhinoplasty is considered, they should either be addressed prior to the procedure or at the same time as the cosmetic rhinoplasty to avoid re-operation due to airway problems.

Mario Diana, MD
Plano Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breathing problems after rhinoplasty

Breathing problems are a risk to consider after rhinoplasty and can have several causes from issues with the septum, internal valve, or external valve near the nostril. Swelling can explain airway issues after the first two months. However, breathing problems after three deserve a visit to your surgeon to help sort things out.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Please send your pictures

It is impossible to make any comments about the surgery without examination or pictures. Please send before and after pictures.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Trouble breathing after rhinoplasty

When the hump is reduced there can be damage to the supporting structure of the nasal vault leading to airway collapse when you take a breath.  A board certified plastic surgeon with rhinoplasty experience can examine you to determine which part of the nasal airway is compromised.  The diagnosis is important because there can be several procedures used for airway improvement.

In general, airway improvement can involve:

removal of some clogging tissues (turbinates, deviated septum, excess mucous membrane);

supporting parts of the nasal vault that are collapsing (this usually involves cartilage grafts);

medical shrinking of inflamed, reactive tissues with topical spray (flonase).

The last of these should be tried for 6 weeks if there is not a defined collapse problem.

Daniel Greenwald, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Problems Breathing after Rhinoplasty

You need to get this evaluated by a facial plastic surgeon who has experience in both head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery.  The reason is because while you may be happy with the outward appearance of your nose, the underlying anatomical structures may be impairing your ability to breathe through your nose.   Unfortunately, this is a common problem following rhinoplasty that is performed without addressing the underlying anatomy.

Kimberly Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 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.