One of the most common plastic surgery procedures, rhinoplasty is performed to reshape, reduce or augment a person's nose, remove a hump, narrow nostril width, change the angle between the nose and the mouth, or to correct injury, birth defects, or other problems that affect breathing. Results depend on the patient's nasal bone and cartilage structure, facial shape, skin thickness and age (teenagers should have had their growth spurt). Insurance may cover rhinoplasty if it is done for reconstructive or medical reasons, but likely not for cosmetic purposes.
Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure performed under either local or general anesthesia and lasts one to two hours unless more extensive work needs to be done.
Surgeons use one of two techniques: the incision is either made within the nostrils, thus hiding scars after surgery, or across the columella (the vertical strip of tissue separating the nostrils) in an "open" procedure, where scars are small and hidden on the underside of the base. In both procedures the skin is lifted, the bone and cartilage sculpted, and the skin replaced and stitched closed.
For a short time after surgery you may experience puffiness, nose ache or a dull headache, some swelling and bruising, bleeding or stuffiness. Most patients feel like themselves within two days and return to work in about a week. Contact lenses can be worn immediately but glasses will have to be taped to your forehead or propped on your cheeks for up to seven weeks.
What can rhinoplasty do for me?
Rhinoplasty is an excellent procedure for achieving the following:
- Balance the size of the nose with the other facial features
- Modify the width of the nose at the bridge
- Improve the nasal profile, including removing humps or depressions
- Contour a nasal tip that is too large, "boxy," drooping or upturned
- Change the angle between the nose and the mouth
- Narrow and reshape the nostrils
- Correct asymmetry or deviation
Am I a good candidate for rhinoplasty?
The best candidates for rhinoplasty:
- Have finished facial growth
- Are generally healthy
- Do not smoke
- Are seeking rhinoplasty for personal reasons, not pressure from others
- Have realistic goals for the procedure
How is the procedure performed?
Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia.
Surgeons use one of two techniques when performing nose surgery. In a closed rhinoplasty, incisions are made within the nostrils. In an open rhinoplasty, the incision is made across the columella, the tissue between the nostrils. With both methods, the surgeon gently lifts the soft tissues covering the nose. He or she sculpts the bone and cartilage to the desired shape. Any additional cartilage needed to augment the nose can often be taken from the septum.
If the patient has a deviated septum, the surgeon will adjust the septum and the inner structures of the nose to improve breathing. Then the tissues are re-draped and stitched closed. If the patient desires nostril reshaping, this is done as the final stage of rhinoplasty.
The entire procedure generally lasts one to two hours.
What is the recovery from nose surgery like?
For a short time after surgery, patients may experience puffiness, nose ache or a dull headache, some swelling and bruising, bleeding or stuffiness. Most patients feel like themselves within two days and return to work in about a week.
The results of rhinoplasty become gradually apparent as the days pass after surgery and swelling recedes. Swelling may reappear from time to time in the first year after the procedure. It is typically more noticeable in the morning and fades during the day.
Contact lenses can be worn immediately, but glasses may need to be taped to your forehead or propped on your cheeks for up to seven weeks.
What are the possible risks of rhinoplasty?
Complications are rare and, when they occur, minor. These may include infection, nosebleed, or a reaction to the anesthesia.