Secondary or revision rhinoplasty

Unfortunately, nose operations can have unwanted outcomes in both aesthetic and functional terms. In such situations, the patient expresses very often extreme disappointment, and becomes angry, frustrated and/or nervous. His basic desire is repair, ie. improvement of the problematic situation. An option that can be available is a revision nose surgery . But this operation has limited possibilities due to the nature, scope and consequences of the previous operation. Before making a final decision, it is crucial to determine if improvement is possible at all.


In a small, but still significant number of cases, there are unfavorable outcomes of nose surgery and consequent disappointments, both in aesthetic and functional terms. Secondary or revision rhinoplasty, ie nasal correction , is one of the most difficult challenges in plastic surgery, much bigger than when it comes to the first operation . It may involve simpler operations to repair minor defects from the previous operation (so-called bumps on the nose felt under the skin or smaller depressions), but more demanding procedures may be required.

The typical patient presents a significant anatomical as well as psychological problem for the surgeon. After experiencing two or more failed surgeries, a patient’s frustration with surgery (or even surgeon) is often present when thinking about a possible additional surgery. When talking to patients, feelings such as anger, guilt, fear, nervousness, and frustration interfere with the course of the consultation.


Any major revision also implies greater trauma to the already damaged nasal tissue and creates a risk of further deterioration of appearance and unfavorable outcome. If the previous operation, in addition to the aesthetic appearance, also disrupted the function, the improvement of breathing always takes priority over aesthetics . But fortunately, a revision surgery can most often improve both function and appearance.

Secondary rhinoplasty, ie. the revision includes some specificities. First of all, the scar tissue created by healing process after the first operation greatly influences the choice of the type of operation, and therefore the realistic possibility of “repair”.

The surgeon must come to an important decision about the type of surgical approach: (1) the so-called. An “external” approach that allows a greater intraoperative view to the surgeon or (2) “intranasal approach”, very limited access through a smaller incision(s) in the nose that reduces the risk of any additional tissue trauma. Regardless of the type of approach that the surgeon chooses, undoubtedly the most important part is the precise preoperative analysis of the nose, with the the goal to reach the most acceptable correction possible.

Before a new operation, the surgeon must make a detailed plan on how to correct the resulting defects from the first rhinoplasty. Basically, such operations try to use the tissue that is still left; or add some new tissue in the form of bone or cartilage transplants/grafts, most often taken from the ear. It is necessary to strive for simple techniques (which are not always possible) with more predictable results – achieving an aesthetically symmetrical nose and maintain natural nasal proportions in relation to other regions of the face.

Significant limitations are permanent tissue damage (newly created scar, disruption of relationship between certain tissues of the nose and skin and impaired blood and lymphatic circulation). It is very important that the patient understands and accepts these potential limitations and/or risks.


There are a few principles that a patient and operator should keep in mind before deciding on a revision rhinoplasty.

  1. Is improvement possible at all? It is very easy to make the mistake of operating on any nose with a postoperative deformity. It is not possible to correct every deformity after previous surgeons – it can even get worse.
  2. Correct identification of real problem . It is obligatory to recognize which structures need to be repaired and which shall not to be manipulated (vital for the surgeon). Under no circumstances should there be a disturbance in function (breathing).
  3. Achieving realistic expectations about the possibility, ie. level of improvement. This task is sometimes more difficult to achieve than technical operation planning. Unfortunately, a number of patients never reach complete satisfaction, no matter what improvement is achieved. If it is assessed that the psychological-motivational status of the patient is not suitable for revision, it is best to give it up.
  4. Careful assessment of the time of the revision surgery. The typical time between two operations, the second of which is an revision rhinoplasty, is typically about a year . This time is typically required for complete healing and maturation of scar tissue, and is essential prerequisite for undergoing additional surgery, without deterioration or new complications. However, there are exceptions to one-year waiting time when we can operate sooner, but also situations that require a longer wait for revision.
  5. Identifying potential functional problems (breathing) . After a previous operation, a problem with difficulty breathing often occurs (or there is existing one that has not been solved). This is most often an unrecognized or neglected deformation of the nasal septum or the appearance of other deformities that compromise breathing.
  6. Anticipating alternative steps in revision surgery. In revision rhinoplasty surgery, it is not uncommon to have situations that surprise the surgeon during surgery and make correction more difficult. Therefore, there should be several “backup” variants in planning the dynamics when such unexpected situations arise.
  7. Use of own (autologous) cartilage to rebuild/correct tissue deficiency or defect. The most common material available is septal cartilage, conchal part of ear or, in more demanding cases, rib graft. Such tissues ensure the longevity of the results because the chance of rejecting one’s own tissue is minimal. Other materials are also available (silicone implant, various dermal fillers).
  8. Avoid revision rhinoplasty when the deformity is very difficult or impossible to repair. Although rare, such cases still exist, in this situations it is prudent for the surgeon to abandon the plan for revision, since neither the patient nor the operator can achieve the desired result.


Revision surgery of the nose undoubtedly requires more careful preparation than in the case of the first (primary) rhinoplasty. After previous surgeries, patients frequently express dissatisfaction and anger and gain distrust towards further surgeries and/or surgeons. It is up to the facial plastic surgeon to approach the frustrated patient carefully, to inform him objectively about the possibilities of a new operation, and to psychologically assess the patient. At the beginning of the conversation with the patient, it is important to emphasize:

  • that a new operation cannot solve every problem with a full guarantee;
  • that in some cases more than one operation may be needed as well
  • that, despite the surgeon’s effort, an unfavorable outcome is also possible.


Given the complexity of secondary nose correction after previous surgery, the exact price can be determined only after examination and consultation.

  • Revision rhinoplasty price – 18.000 – 25.000 HRK