What is nasal surgery?

Nasal surgery includes any surgery performed on the outside or inside of the nose. A common type of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, nasal surgery may be performed to:

  • Improve breathing
  • Correct congenital or acquired deformities
  • Change size or shape of nose (cosmetic)
  • Repair nasal injuries

What are the different types of nasal surgery?


Septoplasty is the surgical correction of defects and deformities of the nasal septum (the partition between the nostrils). Examples of septoplasty include:

  • Correction of a deviated septum - A deviated septum is a condition when the partition (septum) between the nostrils is not in a straight vertical alignment. A deviated septum can cause obstructed airflow. Causes of a deviated septum can be caused by a birth defect or injury.
  • Correction of cleft defects that affect the nose and nasal cavity


Rhinoplasty is the surgical repair of a defect of the nose, including reshaping or resizing the nose. Rhinoplasty may be performed to:

  • Change the size of the nose
  • Change the shape of the nose
  • Narrow the nostrils
  • Change the angle between the nose and lips

What complications are commonly associated with nasal surgery?

Any type of surgery carries some risk. Patients differ in their anatomy and their ability to heal. Some complications from nasal surgery may include:

  • Infection
  • Nosebleed
  • Anesthesia problems

Preparing for nasal surgery:

Type of surgery will be determined by your physician(s) based on

  • Age, overall health and medical history
  • Extent of deformity
  • Tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Opinion or preference

About the nasal surgery procedure:

  • Location options include:
    • Surgeon's office-based surgical facility
    • Outpatient surgery center
    • Hospital outpatient
    • Hospital inpatient
  • Anesthetic options include:
    • Local anesthesia
    • General anesthesia
  • Probable length of procedure: about two hours
  • Probable recuperation period:
    • Usually up and around in a few days
    • Usually return to school or sedentary work a week or so after surgery
    • Surgeon will provide guidelines for resuming normal activities
  • Short-term side effects of surgery:
    • Splint applied to nose to help maintain new shape
    • Nasal packs or soft plastic splints may be placed in nostrils to stabilize septum
    • Face may feel puffy
    • Nose may ache
    • Dull headache
    • Swelling around the eyes
    • Bruising around the eyes
    • Small amount of bleeding in first few days
    • Small burst blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin's surface
  • Final results:
    • Healing is a slow and gradual process. Some swelling may be present for months, especially in the tip of the nose. Final results of nasal surgery may not be apparent for a year or more.
    • When a traditional open surgical technique is used, or surgery is performed to narrow flared nostrils, small scars will be located on the base of the nose. The scars usually are not noticeable. Scarring is not visible when rhinoplasty is performed from inside the nose.

Contact Us

For more information about UM Division of Plastic Surgery or to make an appointment, please call 1-800-492-5538 or 410-328-2360 (patients) or 1-800-373-4111 (physicians).