Are there any risks to having a rhinoplasty?

Most patients experience bleeding that usually decreases over the 24 hours following surgery and is followed by a watery blood tinged discharge for the subsequent days as old blood is cleared from the nose. If bleeding is excessive, then nasal packing may be required.

Infection is a rare possibility and may need further courses of antibiotics. Dr Michael does not routinely use any permanent artificial implants in the nose as these have been associated with an increased infection risk.

Nasal congestion is typical after the operation but usually subsides over the course of 4-6 weeks. This congestion may feel as if you have a heavy cold. Saline washes for your nose will help clear crusting that forms in the nose as the nasal lining heals and so help the feeling of a blocked nose.

Pain is uncommon and worsening pain may signify an infection.

Persistent numbness over the tip of the nose may occur in approximately 1 in 100 patients.

Operations on the nasal septum may result in hole in the septum if healing does not occur satisfactorily. This may cause crusting, whistling or dryness and if the nasal septum is further involved may cause loss of nasal support and subsequent change in shape. This is an uncommon complication.

Rarely, especially in a nose that is twisted, the ‘memory’ of the cartilage may result in it remembering its pre-operated position and re-twisting. 

There are general risks from the anaesthetic. Minor risks of nausea and vomiting may occur but can be managed by further medicines. Risks of serious complications are extremely rare. As a comparison, a general anaesthetic is considered to be much safer than road travel.

Dr Michael follows up his patients for at least one year to ensure that the surgical outcome is optimal. However, while absolute perfection is always aimed for, this may not be achievable in light of the intrinsic structure of the nasal framework. In some cases, revision surgery is appropriate after considering risks versus potential benefits. This would usually involve minor revisions.

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