//Risks and limitations
Risks and limitations 2017-04-03T15:27:42+00:00

Risks and limitations of rhinoplasty surgery

With any form of surgery, it’s important to consider the risks and limitations so you can make an informed decision regarding your rhinoplasty.

  • There is a small risk of suffering a nosebleed, requiring further treatment and a very small risk of a nasal infection
  • Limited swelling in the skin at the time of surgery may hide underlying irregularities or asymmetries that can be seen later
  • Unpredictable healing or responses to surgical steps may cause new irregularities or asymmetries that can appear weeks or months after surgery. These irregularities may be felt or could be visible
  • Very rarely, slight reddening of the skin may occur – this is more likely if you have had a previous rhinoplasty

We will discuss specific risks further and fully with you at your consultation. It is important to appreciate that surgery cannot guarantee a perfect result, although we make every effort to minimise unpredictability and achieve the best outcome possible.

  • Rhinoplasty is a delicate and complex procedure requiring great skill and care. The nose is like a 3D jigsaw and surgery can help to beneficially re-shape, re-size and re-connect the pieces
  • Common misconceptions are to think that the nose can be sculpted as if it was a piece of marble, or that one can choose a perfect nose from a magazine. In reality we must take account of the underlying nasal structure, which ultimately determines what is possible and right for each patient
  • We take great care to ensure that surgery does not weaken the nose by removing too much tissue
  • The rhinoplasty surgeon will need to consider exactly how far the skin is able to fit comfortably over a new nose shape
  • Skin type and age will also need to be taken into account when considering what is possible for you
  • It is not always easy to predict individual levels of healing. Different patients will heal at different rates and in different ways

It is important to understand there are limitations on how we can change the nose because the anatomy is very complex. For example, the nose is made-up of multiple pieces of cartilage and bone with complex shapes. It has joints and soft-tissue supports between these pieces. These pieces have complex and variable physical properties varying from springy, elastic cartilage to hard, brittle bone. There are also surgical and technological limitations in our ability to reshape these many different pieces.

It’s also worthwhile noting that the skin on your nose cannot infinitely shrink or stretch. For example, we can move a nasal tip back closer to the face (de-project the tip) by even a centimetre but this will produce a tip that is fatter from the front. This is similar to what happens if you push the tip of your nose back with your thumb. We are also limited because an intended change on one part of the nose may be associated with an accompanying unintended change on another part – e.g. if you squeeze a balloon to make it smaller in one place it will get bigger in another.

Modern cosmetic rhinoplasty is designed to keep your nose working properly. In some cases, noses which are twisted on the outside may be blocked on the inside. In these instances, rhinoplasty can be used to straighten the nose on both the outside and inside. This improves both breathing and the appearance of your nose. It is also possible to rebuild noses with ‘pinched’ nasal tips or tips which suck in on the inhale in order to enhance the look of the nose and relieve blockages.

Refinement surgery for the nose is considered when unpredicted changes or irregularities occur that we feel can be corrected, or else, if we think your nose can be improved further. Refinement surgery is usually a smaller procedure occurring in about 5–10% of primary rhinoplasty patients and 10–15% of more complex secondary rhinoplasty patients.

The you, you want starts here

If you’re considering a cosmetic rhinoplasty please call for a confidential conversation with one of the team.

020 7118 3553

or email