The Risks and Complications of Rhinoplasty

All surgeries carry a certain degree of risk. It's important to us that Dr. John R. Griffin's patients are made aware of the potential complications of any procedure they are about to undergo. It helps with pre-op surgical preparations and gives patients a better appreciation for their post-op instructions and follow-up visits.

Rhinoplasty (nose job) carries a number of common surgical risks as well as potential complications unique to nasal surgery. With that in mind, the team at our San Mateo, CA plastic surgery practice would like to briefly go over the risks of the surgery and then note what we do to help minimize those risks.


While the risk of infection has been greatly reduced thanks to modern sterilization and surgical techniques, there is always a potential risk. This is particularly true after surgery as the patient recovers at home.

Bad Reaction to Anesthetic

Patients who undergo surgical procedures may experience an allergic reaction to local anesthetic or general anesthesia. This could be a minor reaction, such as a rash or itchiness, though serious adverse reactions to anesthetic might involve breathing problems.

Problems with Scarring and Scar Tissue

Incisions during rhinoplasty are typically made inside of the nostrils or along the columella, the skin between the nostrils. For the most part, patients do not experience problems with poor scarring. However, it is possible for scars to be visible as a result of poor healing and for the scar tissue to be pronounced. This can affect the aesthetics of the finished surgery.

Damage to the Nerves of the Nose

After surgery, it's not uncommon for people to experience numbness or sensitivity of the nose as they heal. However, prolonged sensations of numbness and sensitivity could be signs of nerve damage that occurred as a result of performing the rhinoplasty.

Recurring Nose Bleeds

Some minor bleeding of the nose in the first week or so after surgery is not uncommon. However, some people experience recurring or frequent nose bleeds several weeks or even months after they should be fully healed. This could be a sign of a number of problems (e.g., infected bone or cartilage, a foreign object in the nose from surgery) that require medical attention.

Poor Aesthetic Results

The biggest risk for many patients is poor aesthetic results. If healing takes too long or the surgery does not go as planned, the final outcomes of the rhinoplasty may not be what the patient had hoped for. In these cases, a corrective surgery may be required to improve the results of the initial rhinoplasty.

How We Reduce Rhinoplasty Risks

While risks are always present, we always work hard to minimize them. Proper planning and good pre-op and post-op care are keys to preventing complications from occurring. We note any potential allergies that could result in adverse reactions to anesthetic, and we provide detailed information to our patients about do's and don'ts before and after their surgery is performed.

Patients are encouraged to contact the practice at the first sign of a potential issue. By addressing problems as soon as possible, current issues can be controlled and major problems can be prevented.

Learn More about Rhinoplasty

For more information about rhinoplasty and how it can help you, contact an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon. John R. Griffin, M.D. and his team will provide you with all the information you need to make a wise decision about a surgical procedure.

December 13, 2017 - by: Dr. John Griffin | TOPICS: Face