Nose Surgery (technically termed rhinoplasty) is one of the most common of all cosmetic surgery procedures. Rhinoplasty can be performed to meet aesthetic goals or to correct birth defects or breathing problems. Rhinoplasty can reduce or increase the size of your nose, change the shape of the tip or the bridge, narrow the span of the nostrils, or change the angle between your nose and your upper lip. It may also correct a birth defect or injury or help relieve some breathing problems.
Are you a candidate?
Rhinoplasty can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it will not necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.
The best candidates for rhinoplasty are people who are looking for improvement, not perfection, in the way they look. If you are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in your expectations, you may be a good candidate.
What is the procedure?
During surgery the skin of the nose is separated from its supporting framework of bone and cartilage, which is then sculpted to the desired shape. The nature of the sculpting will depend on your needs. Finally, the skin is redraped over the new framework.
Rhinoplasty is often performed through incisions made inside the nostrils, but sometimes in more complicated cases an “open” procedure is used. The open procedure uses a small incision across the columella, the vertical strip of tissue separating the nostrils.
When the surgery is complete, a splint will be applied to help your nose maintain its new shape. Nasal packs or soft plastic splints may be placed in your nostrils to stabilize the septum, the dividing wall between the air passages.
Can you have rhinoplasty and other procedures simultaneously?
A rhinoplasty can be performed alone, or often in combination with a Chin Augmentation.
Will incisions be visible?
When rhinoplasty is performed from inside the nose, there is no visible scarring; when an open technique is used, or when the procedure calls for the narrowing of flared nostrils, the small scars on the base of the nose are usually not visible.
What are the risks of rhinoplasty?
Complications from rhinoplasty are infrequent and usually minor. They may include infection, nosebleed, or a reaction to the anesthesia. You can reduce your risks by closely following your surgeon’s instructions before and after surgery. After surgery, small burst blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin’s surface; these are usually minor but may be permanent.
How do you prepare for surgery?
You will receive specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications, washing your face, and not smoking. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly.
Where is the procedure performed?
Rhinoplasty may be performed in a surgeon’s office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis for cost containment and convenience.
What will the recovery period be like after surgery?
After surgery-particularly during the first 24 hours-your face will feel puffy, your nose may ache, and you may have a dull headache. You can control the discomfort with prescribed pain medication. Plan on staying in bed with your head elevated (except for going to the bathroom) for the first day.
Swelling and bruising around your eyes will increase at first, reaching a peak after two or three days. Applying cold compresses will reduce this swelling and make you feel a bit better. In any case, you will feel a lot better than you look. Most of the swelling and bruising should disappear within two weeks or so. Subtle swelling may persist for several months but will be unnoticeable to others.
A little bleeding is common during the first few days following surgery. You may continue to feel some stuffiness for several weeks. You will be asked not to blow your nose during the first week or so while the tissues heal.
If nasal packing is used, it will be removed within a day and you will feel much more comfortable. By the end of one to two weeks, all dressings, splints, and stitches should be removed.
Most rhinoplasty patients are up and about within two days and are able to return to school or sedentary work approximately one week following surgery. You will be given more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. Avoid strenuous activity (jogging, swimming, bending, sexual relations-any activity that increases your blood pressure) for two to three weeks. Avoid hitting or rubbing your nose, or getting it sunburned. Be gentle when washing your face and hair or using cosmetics. You can wear contact lenses as soon as you feel like it, but glasses will have to be taped to your forehead or propped on your cheeks for another six to seven weeks, until your nose is completely healed.
Frequent follow-up visits are required to check on the progress of your healing in the months after surgery. If you have any unusual symptoms between visits, or any questions about what you can and can not do, do not hesitate to ask your surgeon.