What to do about breathing problems after rhinoplasty

Problems with breathing after rhinoplasty are usually due to the nasal valve being pinched to a smaller angle.
Your nasal valve (you have two – one on each side of your nose) can be described simply as the angle where the septum (the wall of your nose) meets the nostrils – the area we are speaking of is about 1.5 cm inside your nose. If this angle got smaller after surgery, you could have a marked decrease in your ability to breathe.

If this occurs, it is usually after a hump reduction of the nose. To test if your nasal valve is causing the problem, take your first finger and thumb and place them on your nose like you are going to pinch it. The spot you want to place your hand is right where the soft part of your bridge meets the bony part – about half way up your nose. Now, while pinching enough to grasp the skin, slide this tissue towards your forehead. If you can breathe better with the skin slid upwards, you likely have a nasal valve problem, which can be corrected by your surgeon.

Other problems may include nosebleeds, which can sometimes occur if you have a septal perforation – a hole in the wall that splits your nose in two. The tissue can really get dried out and bleeds very easily, particularly when you blow your nose or sneeze.  There are other possible causes, but that is a common one, especially if your septum was treated and proper healing didn’t occur. Go to the mirror, look inside your nose and see if you can see from one side to the other. Again if it is present, many times it can be corrected.

See our rhinoplasty before-and-after photos.

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