Rhinoplasty Surgery Risks

Risks and possible complications of surgery Fortunately, significant complications from rhinoplasty are infrequent. Every year, many thousands of operations are performed with no major problems and good results. However, there are potential problems and risks inherent to the procedure you need to understand before proceeding with your surgery.
  • Anaesthetic: You will be receiving a general anaesthetic and your anaesthetist will be discussing with you possible risks associated with anaesthesia. Anaesthesia today is very safe and the chance of any problem is very low. Any questions you have regarding your anaesthetic would be best answered by your anaesthetist at the time of surgery.

  • Bleeding: Bleeding is the most likely problem that may occur after rhinoplasty. It can be problematical in about 20% of cases. It is most likely to occur immediately following surgery or the same evening. It is possible in cases of persistent problematical bleeding that return to the operating theatre will be required.

  • Infection: Infection following rhinoplasty is very uncommon due to the excellent healing qualities of the face. If infection does occur, it will become evident within one week of surgery and may require treatment with antibiotics.

This may delay the healing process or result in the development of scar tissue.

  • Scarring: Incisions or cuts used to perform the surgery are designed to be unnoticeable. The incisions can be either completely internal or may involve a small cut through the base of the nose. The scars, both internal and external may heal unpredictably and become thickened and unsightly. In the unlikely event of this occurring, additional measures such as injections or revisional surgery may be necessary.

  • Unpredictable scarring within the nasal passages may produce “webs” that may restrict the nasal opening.

  • Nasal shape: Swelling of the nose can affect nasal contour for some months and during this period of settling, improvement in nasal shape can be expected. It is likely that close scrutiny of your new nasal shape may reveal some small irregularity in contour or symmetry of the dorsum of the nose or the tip. Many will improve with time but if they cause concern, surgical correction is usually possible. If the operation involves repositioning of the septum (the partition between the nostrils), perforation of the septum is possible. This usually causes no problems, but in some cases it may result in “whistling” during breathing or unpleasant crusting. If necessary, perforations of the septum can be corrected surgically.

  • Breathing: The nose is part of the airway by which air enters the body during breathing. By manipulating the nose shape it is possible the nasal air passageway can be altered. You may notice nasal congestion and some restriction to airflow through the nose, particularly in the early post-operative months. This can be expected to resolve as swelling settles. You may temporarily experience a diminished sense of smell.

  • Sensation: The tip of the nose often feels numb for some months but this is quite normal and usually recovers completely. In the first few weeks there may be a feeling of stiffness or numbness in the upper lip. This is because swelling in the nose can affect the movement of the lip. As with all other changes due to this swelling process, it is quite transient. The lip or a front tooth may be numb temporarily.

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