Postoperative sequelae and complications of rhinoplasty.

G. R. Holt, E. T. Garner, D. McLarey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This article has overviewed complications of rhinoplasty. Generally, these complications fall into two categories: aesthetic (that is, cosmetic sequelae that may require a revision rhinoplasty) and nonaesthetic. Of the nonaesthetic complications, infection has the widest span of severity. A localized Staphylococcus aureus abscess or Pseudomonas infection of the nose may occur postoperatively. Owing to the proximity of the nose to the cranium, a cavernous sinus thrombosis or basilar meningitis may result. Postoperative toxic-shock syndrome is a rare occurrence that surgeons should be aware of; most cases have occurred with the presence of nasal packing, but a case using only plastic nasal splints has been reported also. Bacteremia seems to be uncommon during rhinoplasty. Infection after rhinoplasty is generally much less frequent than one would expect from an operation in an unsterile field. Antibiotics are frequently utilized electively. Postoperative nasal-periorbital edema and ecchymosis are regarded as unavoidable but may be lessened significantly by postoperative head elevation and cold packs. The possibility of postoperative bleeding must be evaluated by the surgeon preoperatively. This sequela usually occurs either within 72 hours postoperatively or at around 10 days postoperatively. Many different causes exist for chronic postoperative nasal obstruction, from poorly supported nasal valves closing upon inspiration to an enhanced allergic rhinitis leading to chronic nasal mucosal edema. The latter may be treated by injection of steroid into the turbinates. Among aesthetic complications, supratip prominence, saddle deformity, and persistent hump are among the more commonly reported. Supratip prominence--"polly-beak"--can be caused by inadequate reduction of tip cartilaginous or soft-tissue elements, especially in relation to the reduction of the dorsum. An over-reduced dorsum will leave an otherwise normal nasal tip with a relative prominence. An accumulation of blood or a mucous cyst occurring under the skin of the tip will produce a prominence. Poor tip projection, tip ptosis, and alar collapse are the result of overreduction of tip elements. A dislocated alar cartilage can appear as an asymmetric nasal bossa. Saddle-nose deformity occurs after overaggressive bony and/or cartilaginous hump removal. Infractured nasal bones that subsequently drop into the piriform aperture can create a bony saddle. Persistent hump is due to inadequate reduction of a bony or cartilaginous hump. If the septal cartilage reduction is disproportionate to the bony septum reduction, the appearance of either a hump or a saddle is possible.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-876
Number of pages24
JournalOtolaryngologic Clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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