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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What negative side effects and risks are associated with rhinoplasty?

    Related Topic
    I am a 22 year old female and have always wanted to remove the bump on my nose. I am worried about any complications that may occur afterward… what are some of the side effects of rhinoplasty?
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    Dr Anh Nguyen

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Dr Anh Nguyen (MBBS (Hons) PGradDipSurgAnat FRACS (Plast)) is a highly qualified, Australian-trained and registered Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon based in Perth, WA. She … View Profile

    The decision to have nose surgery is a personal one and it is important to understand what is involved in the surgery, the recovery, the expected results and benefits as well as the risks and potential complications.Some of the potential risks include anaesthesia risks, bleeding and haematoma (requiring return to the operating theatre), unfavourable scarring (potentially requiring scar treatment or scar revision), swelling (that may persist for many months), infection, delayed wound healing, asymmetry, pain, altered sensation to the nose, altered sense of smell, rupture of surface vessels of the nose, altered breathing, change in the quality of sounds when singing and speaking, septal perforation, irregularities in the contour of the nose, suture extrusion, potential for revisionary surgery and general complications such as a heart attack and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs).

    Certainly many of these complications are not common, but it is important that the surgeon explains to you in detail what can go wrong and what happens next if something goes wrong. These risks have to be acceptable to you and must be balanced against the potential benefits of having an improvement in the appearance of your nose and improved self-esteem and confidence. It is best to ask your surgeon as many questions as possible so that you understand what is realistic and achievable and the surgeon understands what you are hoping to achieve.

  • 1




    Dr Gavin Sandercoe

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Enhancing lives through excellence in plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. “I enjoy the technical challenge of complex reconstruction for trauma and cancer patients. Using knowledge … View Profile

    Dr Nguyen has provided a good overview of the risks of rhinoplasty. 

    There are some things that patients often don't appreciate prior to a rhinoplasty:-

    1. The post operative pain experience can be quite bad for some patients - many rhinoplasties involve cutting or shaping the nasal bones, so this can be quite uncomfortable for several days. Other patients with exactly the same cuts in the nasal bones etc can sail through without any problems at all. Good pain relief is important after the procedure, and an overnight stay in hospital is useful for those patients that are concerned about this.

    2. Post operative bruising and swelling can equally be quite bad for some patients. Although this is somewhat technique and surgeon dependent, all of us know people whom bruise/swell after minor injury more easily than others. Any people have different rates of how quickly this swelling disapperas. This swelling also occurs in the lining of the nose, leading to the feeling of stuffiness or having a cold. Once any packs are out, reqular (but reducing doses) of FESS spray will help alleviate this.

    3. It takes months to see your final result. Open rhinoplasties take longer to settle than closed rhinoplasties do. My patients are shown a progression of photos of my prior rhinoplasties that show standardised photographs at standard intervals from 1 week to 1 year. The changes in shape is easily visible when patients are shown this.

    4. Rhinoplasty is the “Yes, but ….” operation. The majority of patients are happy with their rhinoplasty result, but can point to something small that they wish was better. Some of this will settle with time or can be adjusted under lcoal anaesthetic is the consulting rooms, but some things may need a minor tweak in the operating room. Most experienced rhinoplasty surgeons report a revision rate of 8-10% - one in every 10-12 patients needs something adjusted. It is worth knowing that statistic - the need for a small revision after a rhinoplasty is not unusual and not (necessarily) a sign of poor surgery.

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