Rhinoplasty is much more accessible, versatile, and effective than ever before. However, it is still a major surgical procedure, as it has been for thousands of years. Because rhinoplasty involves the manipulation of skin, cartilage, and bone, often in many different areas of the nose, the surgery produces a large amount of swelling. While the majority of swelling should subside after about four to six months following surgery, some may persist for up to 18 months after the procedure, and residual swelling can affect nasal aesthetics. So what happens when nasal swelling persists even longer? What can be done to improve the appearance of the nose in these cases?
When to Worry
First off, do not be alarmed if swelling takes a while to go down, especially if you have thick skin. Many patients worry preemptively about persistent swelling and seek treatment after only six to 12 months. If it hasn’t been 18 months (or even longer for revision rhinoplasty), then there is still potential for remaining swelling to resolve itself.
Discussing Your Concerns
If you think your swelling has lasted too long, then it is time to go back to your plastic surgeon and get an assessment of the problem. He or she will take a look and see if the problem really is swelling, or if there is another problem involved, such as excessive scarring. At this point, he or she will determine whether treatment is possible, or if it is likely that the nose is just taking longer to heal than normal. Unfortunately, in some cases, the results are simply not going to change with time, and you may need to accept your nose as it is or seek treatment/revision.
Are Steroid Injections a Good Idea?
If you have been researching nasal swelling, then you have probably come across some literature relating to anti-inflammatory steroid injections to reduce rhinoplasty swelling. These can be a good tool for preventing some scar tissue and resolving swelling, but the timing is important, so it is best to discuss these injections before the initial rhinoplasty. These injections may be a good option for persistent swelling as well, however.
Examining Your Expectations
Sometimes, swelling is not actually the problem, and what you are noticing is small imperfections in the results. If this is the case, it is important to think about your expectations and consider whether the problem is significant enough to seek revision surgery. Additionally, residual swelling is typically only minor, and should not affect the overall look of the nose too much. Remember, rhinoplasty can produce amazing results, but it cannot work miracles, so it is important to be aware of whether you are expecting too much from the procedure. Your surgeon can help you decide how to proceed.
While a second surgery is usually the go-to solution for rhinoplasty problems, the procedure can often produce swelling that lasts even longer than that for primary rhinoplasty. If you are considering revision rhinoplasty, only seek help for true aesthetic problems, not for persistent swelling. Most surgeons will require that patients wait at least six months to a year before their second surgery. Revision rhinoplasty is an extremely difficult procedure, and should only be attempted by a seasoned specialist who is well-versed in revision rhinoplasty technique.
Speak to an Expert
Ideally, if you are having issues with your rhinoplasty results, you should talk to the surgeon who performed the procedure. He or she is familiar with your case and should be able to help you get the results you want and resolve any problems. However, if speaking with your surgeon is not possible, you may want to discuss your concerns with another knowledgeable rhinoplasty expert. Dr. Stuart Bentkover has dedicated much of his energy toward perfecting the art of rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty for over 20 years, and strives to help each patient achieve beautiful, natural-looking results that harmonize with their facial features. If you would like to discuss the possibility of rhinoplasty or revision rhinoplasty with an expert facial plastic surgeon, call Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester(508-363-6500) or Stoneham(617-247-0033) to schedule a consultation.