What are the risks of nose reshaping surgery (rhinoplasty)?

Complications are rare but do happen. Surgery is safe and it is very unlikely that things will go wrong but unfortunately they do. If your general health is poor, or you smoke or have diabetes then there is a greater chance of complications.

It is as well to be aware of these risks.

There are risks with all types of surgical procedures: there are risks which are common to all procedures and ones which are peculiar to an individual procedure.

The risks common to all surgery are:

  • Haematoma (blood clot) and excessive bleeding
  • Wound infection
  • Scarring
  • Adverse reaction to general anaesthetic
  • Pulmonary embolism – blood clot in the lungs

The risks associated with rhinoplasty are:

  • Decreased sense of smell (very rare)
  • Nasal obstruction (this is very rare)
  • Bone irregularity (result of bone reshaping)
  • Eye injury (result of damage to the tear ducts)
  • Intercranial problems such as meningitis
  • Skin problems (minor)
  • Scarring, thread veins and broken capillaries
  • Dark circles underneath the eyes ( retention of blood pigments in the skin)
  • Hanging or retracted columella (the fleshy end of the septum)

Further surgery may be needed to correct these complications.

What you need to keep in mind is that rhinoplasty does not guarantee a perfect result. It is a successful procedure but sometimes ‘revision’ rhinoplasty surgery is required. This is usually because of the unpredictability of bone or cartilage healing. This can cause abnormalities which will require further surgery.

However, this is only experienced by 5% of patients.

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