What are the RISKS of RHINOPLASTY Surgery?



What are the risks of having rhinoplasty surgery (nose surgery risks)? This page details some of the risks of having nose job surgery (Rhinoplasty nose reshaping).

For specific information on benefits of Rhinoplasty, along with popular nose reshaping surgery options, visit the Nose Surgery Procedure Page.

Frequently Asked Questions from Patients about having Nose Reshaping Surgery


Is Rhinoplasty surgery painful?

  • Nose surgery discomfort or pain levels vary from patient to patient; these are also Subjective in nature (individualised)
  • Discomfort may also depend on surgical techniques OR degree of tissue correction(s) required
  • Good Surgeons can employ Innovative methods to Reduce pain or discomfort during and after your procedure (listed below)


How is pain treated after nose surgery?

  • Local numbing: Anaesthetic numbing injections in the nose region can help reduce pain after surgery
  • Numbness: You may feel numb or have intermittent numbness for several weeks to several months as you heal
  • Discomfort:  Pain or discomfort MAY be treatable with gently applied cool packs or other methods (ASK your Surgeon for instructions as some methods could harm your results)
  • Medications: over-the-counter medications or other pain solutions may be prescribed for nose surgery pain


Is it difficult to breathe after having Rhinoplasty?

  • Yes, it MAY be difficult to breathe through your nose JUST after having nose surgery and/or septoplasty
  • Nose breathing difficulty after Rhinoplasty normally lasts for 2 to 4 months or longer for most patients (allow up to 6 months)
  • That noted some patients are able to resume nasal breathing in just a few days’ or weeks’ time
  • For others, it may take 9 to 12 months or even 18 to 24 months before nose area swelling resolves
  • Patients need to breathe through the mouth until they reach a further point in their recovery.


Why is breathing through the nose difficult after Rhinoplasty and how long does this last?

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose after Rhinoplasty is often caused by swollen nasal area Tissues, nose splints, gauze bandaging and temporary disruptions to normal nasal functions.
  • Swelling and inflammation may ALSO temporarily interrupt olfactory nerves and sensory processes, e.g. scent recognition and food tasting.
  • TIP: The Rapid Recovery Pack provides patients with recovery aids and healing facilitators.
  • Some Surgeons may also give you special icing protocols to help minimise your initial discomfort


How do I reduce pain or discomfort after nose surgery?

  • Follow your Surgeon’s instructions for all preoperative preparations and post-op care
  • Sleep elevated by propping yourself up on pillows as recommended – plus, don’t do too much too soon
  • Attend all required follow up consultations and follow pain management or icing recommendations provided by your Surgeon or Care Team
  • Never smoke or burn incense or other perfumed substances that MAY impact your nasal functions
  • Advise your Surgeon if you have any unexpected symptoms or concerns (e.g. local area skin irritations, elevated temperature, moderate to severe pain, difficulty breathing and/or unexpected nose bleeding or related concerns)


Be sure you ask your Surgeon for specific instructions for your rhinoplasty recovery rather than rely on internet publications.


RISKS of Rhinoplasty: What are the RISKS of having a nose job?


Risks of Nose Surgery and Septoplasty include but are not limited to the following list. Be sure you discuss risks with your surgeon and read the materials and consent forms in detail.



General Surgery Risks

General Anaesthesia – Most healthy patients respond well to general anaesthesia as modern techniques are very safe. Our team will provide you with the details of your anaesthetists prior to your surgery to discuss any specific concerns.

Infection – Your Surgeon will prescribe you with antibiotics and monitor you closely.

Delayed Wound Healing – Your Surgeon and Nurse coordinator will manage the healing process. This usually occurs within patients who are overweight, smokers or who have an infection.

Bleeding (Haematoma) or Seroma (Fluid Build Up)– May require a second visit to the operating theatre to remove blood clots or blood pooling.

Poor Healing or Scarring –  Scars continue to mature and improve for up to 18 months after surgery.

Numbness, Pain or Tingling – This often occurs in the treated area, but typically settles over a period of months to a few years.

Discomfort – This will be managed appropriately with during-surgery anaesthetic, post-op pain medications and other post-op care recommendations.

Remember, all surgery has risks. Nothing is ever guaranteed in science and medicine and you’ll need to allow for individual variances in outcomes, surgery experiences, scars, healing and recovery times and risks.


Nose Surgery: Specific Rhinoplasty Surgery Risks

Risks specific to a nose job include but may not be limited to:

Nasal Function changes – potentially long-lasting or even permanent changes to your scent perceptions/olfactory processes or sinuses

Vocal changes – possible temporary or longer-term changes to the sound of voice for some patients depending on nose blockages/bone anatomy/vocal chamber/sinuses

Asymmetry – potential irregularity or asymmetry of your nose shape, nose bridge or nose tip after surgery

Perforation – nasal septal perforation (hole)

Bridge – may remain crooked or uneven, may not end up perfectly straight; bumps or humps may remain

Skin or Scars – skin could look different after surgery; e.g. visible scars and/or skin discolouration are possible

Breathing – some patients may have difficulty breathing for an extended period

Revision – requests for revisions are not uncommon for nose surgery; some patients may not like the way their ideal nose shape actually looks in relation to their other features OR the way it changes their entire facial appearance including eyes and smile. Often, revision requests relate to holding unrealistic expectations, however, some revision surgery may be medically or aesthetically warranted (this is at a secondary surgery cost)


Summary of Nose Surgery Risks

Some nose surgery risks can be mitigated – others may occur randomly or despite the best in care.

  • Risks are minimised through careful patient screening and planning, high standards of surgical training, hospital-grade sterilisation protocols and aftercare
  • Small, less serious complications such as infection may occur more commonly than more serious risks
  • Be sure you read the materials your Surgeon provides before you sign a consent
  • Second opinions are often helpful
  • Visually-aided discussions may include 3D imaging or photography manipulation discussions during planning stages; these are helpful discussion tools but are NOT predictive


Whatever risks or concerns you have after having Rhinoplasty, your Surgeon will aim to resolve them for you.


  • You must keep your expectations in check with what’s actually possible with surgical methods AND never, ever smoke pre-surgery or after your operation)
  • Most, but not all, potential complications will have long term effects on your surgery results
  • Ask your Surgeon for specific details or care practices should you experience a complication OR have an elevated surgery risk profile (revisions, broken noses, underlying health conditions, skin problems, allergies or other issues)
  • Do Not Smoke for at least 3-6 months before having nose surgery and for at least 2 years after surgery; otherwise, your surgery experience, rhinoplasty results and recovery processes (including breathing) could be severely compromised


Rhinoplasty PROCEDURE Details – visit this page to download the FREE PDF information e-book on nose surgery for men or women.

Find out what Rhinoplasty costs in Melbourne (price page)


Other Rhinoplasty resources:

ASPS Nose Pages

ASPS USA Nose Pages


Last updated: 29/03/2019
Author profile image
Michelle Staughton
Michelle Staughton is a Patient Education Interviewer and Patient Care Coordinator for several top Plastic Surgeons in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. With over 4 years’ experience helping plastic surgery patients at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery, after having been a patient herself, Michelle offers a wealth of knowledge to help surgical patients with cosmetic and plastic surgery planning and recovery tips.