How Long Will The Tip Of My Nose Be Stiff After Rhinoplasty?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am two months after having a rhinoplasty. Th swelling has gone down considerably and my doctor said that about 75% of it is gone. But my tip is still rock hard. It is so stiff that it barely moves and the tip is very numb. I have not had a significant other since my operation, but am afraid my very stiff  nose will affect kissing. Will my tip ever soften or am I stuck with a hard numb tip?

A: Hardness of the nasal tip after rhinoplasty is very common. It initially occurs due to swelling but persists much longer after the swelling has subsided due to scar tissue and what was done to the tip cartilages during surgery. In most rhinoplasty surgeries the tip is narrowed, lifted and strengthened with sutures and cartilage grafts. This helps give it a new shape but also prevents it from shifting or changing shape after it has healed. This causes protracted stiffness of the nose for up to nine months to one year after surgery. It will eventually be much softer and can be moved around normally again but it is an issue of more healing time. As the stiffness finally goes away, normal feeling to the tip skin will return.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana