What are the risks involved in rhinoplasty surgery?

Complications during surgery

During rhinoplasty surgery, complications can arise unexpectedly, presenting challenges for both the surgeon and the patient. These complications may range from minor inconveniences to more serious issues that require immediate attention. Some common complications that can occur during surgery include infections, excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, and unsatisfactory aesthetic results.

Infections are a potential complication that can arise during surgery, particularly when proper sterilization procedures are not followed. The introduction of bacteria into the surgical site can lead to infection, causing redness, swelling, and fever in the patient. It is essential for surgeons and their team to maintain a sterile environment to minimize the risk of infection. Additionally, excessive bleeding can occur during surgery, especially in procedures that involve substantial tissue manipulation. Surgical tools are used to control bleeding, but in some cases, excessive bleeding may require additional interventions such as blood transfusions or additional sutures. The surgeon’s expertise and vigilance are crucial in minimizing the risk of excessive bleeding and quickly addressing any issues that arise.



Infections can be a potential complication following surgical procedures. They occur when bacteria or other microorganisms enter the body through incisions or wounds, leading to an inflammatory response. In some cases, infections can be minor and easily treatable with antibiotics. However, there are instances where infections can become more severe and require more aggressive treatment. These infections can cause prolonged healing times, increased pain and discomfort, and potentially lead to more serious health issues if not properly addressed. It is crucial for patients to follow all post-operative care instructions and promptly report any signs of infection to their healthcare provider to minimize the risk and severity of complications.

In some cases, infections can result in the need for additional surgical procedures. This may involve drainage of the infected area or even removal of the implant or tissue graft that was placed during the initial surgery. These additional procedures can delay the patient’s recovery and add to the overall cost and discomfort associated with the surgical experience. It is important for patients to be aware of the potential risks of infections and to communicate any concerns or symptoms they may have to their facial plastic surgeon. By taking proactive measures and adhering to proper post-operative care, the chances of developing infections can be significantly reduced, promoting better overall outcomes for the patient.

Excessive bleeding

Excessive bleeding is a potential complication that may occur during surgical procedures. This can be a result of various factors, such as the size and location of the incision, as well as the patient’s underlying health conditions. When excessive bleeding occurs, it can prolong the surgery and increase the risk of complications. In some cases, additional measures may need to be taken, such as the use of cauterization or sutures, to control the bleeding and ensure the safety of the patient.

Post-operative excessive bleeding can also lead to other complications, such as the formation of blood clots or hematoma. These can be painful and require further medical intervention to alleviate the symptoms and prevent any potential complications. It is crucial for surgical teams to closely monitor patients post-surgery for any signs of excessive bleeding, as early detection and prompt treatment are essential in minimizing the risks associated with this complication.

Poor wound healing

In some cases, the process of wound healing may not proceed as smoothly as anticipated after surgery. This can lead to complications and delays in the overall recovery of the patient. Poor wound healing is a concern that surgeons and patients alike must be vigilant about, as it can negatively impact the final outcome of the procedure.

One common reason for poor wound healing is the presence of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or compromised immune system function. These conditions can impair the body’s natural ability to repair and regenerate tissues, thus hindering the wound healing process. Additionally, factors such as smoking, obesity, and a lack of proper nutrition can also contribute to poor wound healing. It is important for patients to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions and lifestyle habits to their surgeons, as this information can help the surgical team take appropriate measures to prevent and address potential complications in wound healing.

Unsatisfactory aesthetic results

Unsatisfactory aesthetic results can sometimes be an unfortunate outcome of a surgical procedure. While every effort is made by surgeons to achieve the desired outcome, factors such as individual healing capabilities and the complexity of the surgery can influence the final aesthetic result. In some cases, patients may express disappointment if the appearance of a particular feature does not meet their expectations, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction.

It is important to note that unsatisfactory aesthetic results are subjective and can vary from person to person. What one individual might consider as less than ideal, another individual might find acceptable. Nevertheless, it is crucial for patients to have open and honest communication with their facial plastic surgeon regarding their expectations and goals for the procedure. This can help manage expectations and ensure that both the patient and surgeon are on the same page, working towards a satisfactory outcome.

Breathing difficulties

During and after rhinoplasty surgery, some patients may experience breathing difficulties. These difficulties can range from mild to severe and can be caused by several factors. One common cause is swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages, which can temporarily obstruct airflow. This can be expected in the first few weeks after surgery as part of the normal healing process. However, in some cases, the breathing difficulties may persist for a longer period, indicating the need for further evaluation and potential intervention by a healthcare professional.

In some instances, breathing difficulties can be a result of structural changes to the nasal anatomy. For example, if the surgery involves modifying the nasal septum or nasal bones, there is a possibility that the airflow through the nose may be altered. This can lead to symptoms like nasal blockage or congestion, making it challenging for the patient to breathe comfortably. While these issues can be distressing, it’s important to note that in most cases, the breathing difficulties improve as the healing process progresses. However, for individuals experiencing persistent or significant breathing difficulties, it is advisable to consult with the surgeon or a specialist to determine the best course of action.

Nasal blockage

Nasal blockage can be a distressing and uncomfortable complication that may arise following nasal surgery. It can lead to difficulties in breathing, affecting the overall quality of life for the patient. Depending on the severity, nasal blockage can be temporary, resolving on its own as the body heals, or it may require additional medical intervention to alleviate the symptoms. In some cases, nasal blockage can be caused by swelling or inflammation of the nasal tissues, while in others, it may be due to scar tissue formation or anatomical changes. Factors such as the extent of the surgery, the patient’s healing process, and individual variations in nasal anatomy can all contribute to the likelihood and duration of nasal blockage.

Patients who experience nasal blockage after surgery should seek medical attention from their surgeon or healthcare provider. The appropriate treatment will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the blockage. It may involve conservative measures, such as nasal irrigation or the use of nasal sprays to reduce inflammation. In more severe cases, revision surgery may be necessary to correct anatomical issues or remove scar tissue. Effective management of nasal blockage can help restore normal breathing function and alleviate any associated discomfort or distress for the patient. It is important for individuals considering nasal surgery to be aware of the risk of nasal blockage and to discuss this potential complication with their surgeon beforehand.

Numbness or altered sensation

It is not uncommon for patients to experience numbness or altered sensation following certain surgical procedures. This can occur as a result of the trauma caused to the nerves during the operation. In some cases, this numbness or altered sensation may be temporary and gradually improve over time as the nerves heal and regenerate. However, in other instances, it may persist for a longer duration or even become permanent. Patients should be aware of this potential risk and discuss any concerns with their surgeon prior to undergoing the procedure.

Although numbness or altered sensation may not be deemed as serious complications, it can still impact a patient’s quality of life. Depending on the specific area affected, it can lead to difficulties in performing certain daily activities or even affect their emotional well-being. Therefore, it is crucial for patients to have realistic expectations and understand the potential risks associated with surgical procedures that may cause numbness or altered sensation. By doing so, they can make informed decisions and have a better understanding of what to expect during their recovery process.


Scarring is a common occurrence after any type of injury or surgery, including cosmetic procedures. The body’s natural response to a surgical incision is to heal it by producing new collagen fibers that form a scar. While most scars fade over time and become less noticeable, some individuals may experience more prominent scarring.

Factors that can contribute to the development of noticeable scars include the size and depth of the incision, the location of the surgery, and individual healing tendencies. In some cases, excessive scarring, known as hypertrophic scars or keloids, can occur. These types of scars are raised, thick, and may extend beyond the boundaries of the original incision. Although scarring is an inevitable part of the healing process, there are various techniques available to minimize its appearance and enhance overall aesthetic results.

Revision surgery

Revision surgery may be necessary after an initial surgery on the nose due to various factors. One common reason for revision surgery is an unsatisfactory aesthetic outcome. Despite the surgeon’s best efforts, the desired results may not have been achieved or unexpected changes in the healing process may have occurred. In such cases, revision surgery may be recommended to correct any asymmetry, irregularities, or deformities in the nose and improve its overall appearance.

Another reason for revision surgery is functional issues resulting from the initial surgery. Breathing difficulties or nasal blockage may occur if the nasal passages are not properly aligned or if there is an obstruction that was not adequately addressed in the first surgery. Revision surgery can help alleviate these problems by further correcting any structural issues and improving the overall function of the nose. However, it is important to note that revision surgery is a complex procedure that should only be performed by qualified and experienced surgeons to minimize the risks associated with additional surgeries.

What are some common complications that can occur during revision surgery?

Complications during revision surgery can include infections, excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, unsatisfactory aesthetic results, breathing difficulties, nasal blockage, numbness or altered sensation, and scarring.

How common are infections after revision surgery?

Infections after revision surgery are relatively common. However, with proper surgical techniques and post-operative care, the risk can be minimized.

What should I do if I experience excessive bleeding after revision surgery?

If you experience excessive bleeding after revision surgery, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Contact your surgeon or go to the nearest emergency room for appropriate treatment.

Why does poor wound healing occur after revision surgery?

Poor wound healing after revision surgery can occur due to various factors such as underlying medical conditions, smoking, poor nutrition, or inadequate post-operative care. Your surgeon will discuss ways to optimize wound healing during the pre-operative and post-operative periods.

What can be done if I am not satisfied with the aesthetic results of my revision surgery?

If you are unsatisfied with the aesthetic results of your revision surgery, it is recommended to discuss your concerns with your surgeon. They may be able to suggest further treatment options or adjustments to address your specific concerns.

Can revision surgery help with breathing difficulties or nasal blockage?

Yes, revision surgery can often help improve breathing difficulties or nasal blockage. Your surgeon will assess the underlying causes and determine the appropriate surgical interventions to restore proper nasal function.

Is it normal to experience numbness or altered sensation after revision surgery?

It is relatively common to experience numbness or altered sensation after revision surgery, especially in the early stages of recovery. However, these sensations usually improve over time as the nerves heal.

How noticeable will the scarring be after revision surgery?

The visibility of scarring after revision surgery can vary depending on various factors such as the surgical technique used and individual healing response. Your surgeon will make efforts to minimize scarring and provide post-operative care instructions to promote optimal healing.

When is revision surgery necessary?

Revision surgery is typically necessary when there are complications or unsatisfactory results from a previous nasal surgery. It is best to consult with a qualified surgeon who can assess your specific situation and determine if revision surgery is the appropriate course of action.

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    The Seattle Rhinoplasty Center

    Seattle Nose Surgeon ®
    William Portuese MD
    Joseph Shvidler MD

    Seattle, Washington 98104

    (206) 624-6200

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