Incidence and Preoperative Risk Factors for Major Complications in Aesthetic Rhinoplasty: Analysis of 4978 Patients

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Rhinoplasty remains one of the most common aesthetic procedures performed in the United States. Current literature on rhinoplasty complications is inconclusive and is based on retrospective reviews and small cohorts.


The purpose of this study was to examine the incidence and identify predictive risk factors for major complications following rhinoplasty alone or in combination with other aesthetic operations in a large, prospective, multicenter database study.


A prospective cohort of patients undergoing rhinoplasty between May 2008 and May 2013 was identified from the CosmetAssure database. Primary outcome was occurrence of major complications, defined as complications requiring an emergency room visit, hospital admission, or a reoperation within 30 days of the index operation. Univariate and multivariate analysis evaluated potential risk factors for major complications including age, gender, body mass index (BMI), smoking, diabetes, type of surgical facility, and combined procedures.


A total of 129,007 patients were identified, of which 4978 (3.9%) underwent a rhinoplasty. The overall complication rate was 0.7% (n = 37). Hematoma was the most common complication (0.2%), followed by infection (0.2%), and pulmonary complications (0.1%). Age ≥40 years was found to be an independent risk factor for developing complications. Age ≥40 years was found to have a relative risk of 2.05 (P = 0.04) for any major complication. Complications increased from 0.58% in rhinoplasty alone cases to 1.02% (P < 0.05) with the addition of 1 other body region to 2.09% with the addition of 2 other body regions (P < 0.05). The risk of pulmonary complications increased from 0.1% to 1% (P < 0.05) with the addition of rhinoplasty with 2 other body regions. Gender, type of facility, smoking status, and BMI ≥25 did not appear to significantly impact the risk for major complications.


The major complication rate following rhinoplasty remains low. The risk is increased with age ≥40 years and with the addition of other cosmetic procedures. Pulmonary complications, although rare, do occur, and also increase when combining rhinoplasty with other aesthetic surgery. These findings are important to consider when planning rhinoplasty and educating patients on the safety of combined aesthetic surgeries.

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