Skip to Content

Update on my rhinoplasty, 3 years later

I hadn’t planned to do any more posts about my nose, but I’ve gotten a couple of messages asking about it lately, wondering how the nose job is holding up.

clearance coat Kristen

And since I like to do posts that cover what you guys want to know about, well, here we are.

Wait, you got a nose job?

Kind of.

If you’re new here, you probably need a little back story!

In late 2016, I got a functional rhinoplasty, done by a plastic surgeon/ENT.

But I got a referral to him from a regular ENT, and I’d initially gone to see the ENT because I realized that I was getting almost no air through one of my nostrils.

The ENT thought a dual specialty plastic surgeon/ENT could best serve my breathing needs while also making sure my nose didn’t turn into a visual disaster.

And that is how the Frugal Girl ended up in a fancy plastic surgery office.

Insurance covered the whole thing because of it being a functional rhinoplasty, so it cost me very little out of pocket, mercifully.

Here’s a whole pre-surgery post about the details of me deciding to have the surgery. Photos of my crooked nose included!

More bent-nose photos here.

I liked my nose. It just wasn’t working.

My nose had gotten broken in a car accident long ago, and even though it was kind of crooked, I liked my former nose, and I didn’t want to change my looks.

Kristen as a teenager

My original teenage nose before the car accident

I just wanted to breathe!


My nose in 2010, post accident, pre surgery

But it’s hard to make a nose work properly without also changing the look of it.

How are the results, 3 years in?

My nose is still working great!

My breathing is so much better than it was before.

I used to always have to breathe through my mouth, and now I can keep my mouth shut and still get enough air in. 

So great!

At this point, I’ve mostly gotten used to the way my new nose looks.

It was really hard at first; I underestimated how disconcerting it is to have something change on your face and I felt sad about it for a while.

Plus, at first the new nose is awfully swollen and stiff, so you don’t really have a good idea of the final look for quite some time.

(Here’s how my nose looked after I got the splints out. Not gross; it’s all cleaned up.)

My nose basically felt like it was made of bone for a good six months or so, especially at the tip.

Kristen and Sonia

2017-super hard nose stage here!

I’d say that now, the tip is about 80% as flexible as a normal nose, and my nostrils feel completely normal.

I do still feel like my nose is a little bit more sensitive than it used to be; if it gets bumped hard, I experience more pain than I would have before.

But it’s not like I get punched in the nose on the regular, so this is not a huge deal.

What does your nose look like now?

First, here’s a photo from the day before my surgery.

Kristen before nose surgery

And here’s what my nose looks like now.

Kristen after nose surgery

And here’s a non-smiling view, because smiling does move my nose a lot.

Kristen after nose surgery

Do you think the surgery was worth it?


The recovery wasn’t really fun, but it was most certainly not the worst thing I’ve been through.

(Tonsil removal, I’m looking at you!)

And the long-term benefits from the surgery have been totally worth the short-term pain and adjustment.

This post has a link to pictures of me with a puffy face and a nasal cast, in case you are curious about what that looks like.

And this post gives a pretty thorough run-down of the the recovery was like along with lots of photos of my nose (I wrote it 5.5 months after the surgery.)

Can you get your nose pierced again after this surgery?

I used to have nose ring, which had to be taken out for surgery (my nostrils got quite rearranged during surgery.)

My nose surgeon did not recommend me ever getting any nose jewelry in the future because of the possibility of it messing up my cartilage grafts.

I trust him to know what’s what, so my post-surgery nose will remain unadorned.

Breathing is what is most important!

Any advice for someone considering the surgery?

Consider a plastic surgeon

I am really, really grateful that my ENT sent me to an ENT/plastic surgeon, and I’d definitely suggest that you ask about this option.

If your surgery is pretty simple (just fixing a septum), then I could see an ENT being fine. But my surgery involved bone-breaking plus reshaping of my nostrils, using cartilage grafts. 

Obviously, that changes the look of the nose, and it’s nice to be in the hands of someone who works on making good-looking noses. 

Try breathing strips to see what proper breathing is like

I did not even realize how poor my breathing was until I tried using breathing strips at night.

They’re just adhesive strips that you apply to the outside of your nose, and for me, they mimicked what would happen if my nose bones were straight enough to allow air to get through.

Once I tried the strips, I made an appointment with the ENT right away because I wanted to breathe like that every night!

In summation:

My experience with functional rhinoplasty has been very good, and the upsides far outweigh the downsides.

Kristen before and after functional rhinoplasty

I give it a big thumbs up, and if you are having breathing issues like me, I’d definitely recommend getting in to see an ENT. 

I wish I’d gone to get my nose looked at much earlier because I spent 18 years with poor breathing and I did not need to do that!

Any other nose questions?

Drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Monday 31st of May 2021

Hi, thank you for sharing. I just had a septorhinoplasty and I have been feeling so sad because I miss the appearance of my old nose. No one really notices a difference but I feel it so it’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling weirded out by a shift in my appearance. And it makes me hopeful that I will get used to it too.


Tuesday 1st of June 2021

Yep, if you are like me, you will adjust in time. I pretty much never think about my new nose now!


Friday 30th of April 2021

When do you think the tip of your nose became soft again? I’m 6 months post op, and my tip is still very stiff. Thank you!


Friday 30th of April 2021

My nose was definitely still stiff six months in! I'd say it took a whole year to become fairly soft again.

Tracey Hand

Friday 14th of February 2020

How? How is it three whole years since this happened? Feels like only months ago

Anyway, I’m glad the long term has been good for you. That’s all anyone can hope for xx


Thursday 13th of February 2020

I have a similar story. Do you have any trouble with the incision sites in the nasal cavities? That they are more likely to get irritated, or bleed/scab? My surgery was decades ago, and I still have this issue occasionally. Wondered whether it is just me.


Tuesday 18th of February 2020

I had a septoplasty with a nasal (bone) spur removal in 2015. Where they removed the spur still gets wildly out of sorts in the winter with cold, dry air. Saline spray helps. When it’s really bad I put a dab of Neosporin in my nose.


Friday 14th of February 2020

I don't know how much of an incision I had inside in my cavities. I know my nose was mainly cut at the bottom in the middle of my nostrils and then kind of...peeled back? to access the upper nasal bones.

The inside of my nose does still feel slightly more sensitive to cold air, though.


Wednesday 12th of February 2020

It's funny I was just thinking about your nose and whether you were going to re pierce your nose. I am glad your nose is working well.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.