Nose surgery (rhinoplasty) risks and complications

Nose surgery (rhinoplasty) performed by professional plastic surgeons rarely lead to complications and in those cases when they occur they are often of a less serious character. All surgical procedures do however represent a few general risks such as bleeding, infection and over reaction to the narcosis etc.

You can read more about these general risks on the page about general risks of surgery ».

Apart from the general risks with cosmetic surgery there are some more specific risks associated with nose surgery. These are presented in greater detail below.

Dissatisfaction with the final result

The most common ”complication” with nose surgery is, just as with any other cosmetic surgery, that the patient does not feel the expected result has been achieved to 100%. This is often due to discreet asymmetries that are perceived as excessively dramatic.

Asymmetries can be due to unpredictable healing, swelling, cartilage formation etc and do not need to mean the surgeon has in anyway been wrongful.

Postoperative bleeding

Postoperative bleeding is fairly common (1-3%). It presents itself by blood either running from the nose or backwards down the throat. In some cases this can require another appointment for a simple procedure with your surgeon. It is therefore good if you stay in the proximity of the clinic where you have been operated during the first day of your nose job.

Vessel ruptures

During surgery small blood vessels in the skin of the nose can rupture. These may then become visible as small red pricks on the nose. These vessel ruptures are generally small and temporary but can become permanent.

Sensitivity changes

Loss of sensitivity to the tip of nose affects most patients but is normally temporary. The condition can however in some cases become permanent.

All about nose surgery (rhinoplasty/nose job)

Thickening of the nose wing

In some cases scar formation can lead to thickening of the nose wing and may need to be corrected.

Nasal congestion

With general reduction of the noses size some patients experience problems when breathing through the nose. These are temporary and are often due to the patient’s own perception rather than there being an actual problem with the flow of air.


In approximately one out of ten cases the surgeon needs to go back to perform a correction after the first procedure. This often occurs with the aim of correcting minor deformities. These cases cannot be anticipated and even top plastic surgeons sometimes need to perform them. Corrective nose surgery is generally easier than the first procedure.

Psychological after reactions

It is not unusual that a patient a few weeks or months after surgery returns to the surgeon with desires of having the nose returned to its previous state. This is due to a psychological reaction that originates when the patient is having a hard time reconciling with the obvious change to their appearance. However, the reaction is temporary and once the patient after 6 months has gotten used to the changes he/she is often very pleased with their new appearance.

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