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Risks and Complications

The majority of patients who have rhinoplasty, often called nose surgery, in Toronto experience an uneventful post-operative course and are happy with their ultimate result. Bruising, swelling, nasal blockage and a small amount of nasal bleeding are expected after this type of plastic surgery and are not considered complications. However like with any plastic surgery, rhinoplasty has some potential risks that should be considered. A full discussion of these risks can only occur between you and your facial plastic surgeon during your consultation. The following goes over some of the more common problems and is not meant to be completely inclusive.

You can request a rhinoplasty consultation with Dr. Rival at one of his three Toronto-area cosmetic surgery offices to receive an in-depth review of potential risks and complications.

Richard Rival, MD, FRCS

Board-certified in Facial Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology, Dr. Rival devotes his practice exclusively to enhancement of the face and neck, with a focused specialty in rhinoplasty.

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In the first week after rhinoplasty some patients will experience a nosebleed. This usually stops with local pressure and ice but sometimes will require placement of nasal packing (gauze inside the nose). Very rarely if bleeding is excessive this may require hospitalization or blood transfusion.


Infection after rhinoplasty is quite uncommon but can occur. This may result in redness and pain in the soft tissues of the nose and face or in the sinuses. This will usually resolve with antibiotics.

Impaired Breathing

An experienced rhinoplasty surgeon such as Dr. Rival must have significant knowledge of nasal physiology and anatomy. If a nose is over reduced without respect for nasal anatomy necessary for breathing, significant nasal functional problems can occur. This would generally result in symptoms of nasal blockage. Most of these nasal functional problems can be improved with further revision nasal surgery to reconstruct the collapsed region.

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Altered Sensation

As with surgery anywhere in the body, nasal surgery can result in altered sensation in the skin around the operated area. This usually causes temporary tenderness, sensitivity and numbness in the nasal skin. These symptoms usually subside within 3 to 6 months but may rarely persist. Decreased sense of smell in the immediate post-operative period is normal due to swelling, but very rarely may be permanent.

Unsatisfactory Aesthetic Result

Perhaps the most common risk following nose surgery is an unsatisfactory aesthetic result. The best way to prevent this of course is to seek out an experienced plastic surgeon who focuses on rhinoplasty. The final outcome of the surgery however, depends not only on the skill and judgment of your facial plastic surgeon but also on how you heal. Some of the more common problems that occur include a persistent bump on the bridge, asymmetry between the two sides, nostril asymmetry, and cartilage irregularities, over and under correction of the nasal bridge or tip. Ultimately, although we strive for perfection every time, it is rarely achieved. Some imperfection is expected but obvious problems may require a revision or "touch up" surgery later on. This is usually delayed until the nose is fully healed. Overall this occurs between 5 to 10% of the time even in the best of hands. For photos of Dr. Rival's revision rhinoplasty patients, visit his photo gallery.

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