Nose surgery (Rhinoplasty) is a procedure to reshape the nose in order to create a more pleasing look and, in some instances, to correct severe breathing problems. With approximately 400,000 operations performed each year, rhinoplasty is considered the most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States.
Rhinoplasty usually involves reducing the size of the nose by removing and sculpting the nasal tissues in order to enhance the facial appearance. The results are unique to each individual, and depend upon such factors as skin condition and thickness, nasal and facial structure, genetic contributions, and age. Traditionally, a “nose job” was performed only to correct major problems. However, recent surgical innovations allow for individuals to benefit from more moderate improvements from the procedure as well. In general, having nose surgery provides the patient with a better facial balance and overall appearance.
Reasons for Considering Nose Surgery:
- Bring a better proportion to the nose and facial features.
- Reduce the size of the nose that is too large or too wide.
- Correct an overly arched or “Roman” nose.
- Re-form a crooked or elongated nose tip.
- Restore the nose if damaged from an accident or sports injury.
- Help with breathing problems by rebuilding the nasal passage.
- Treat nasal deformities caused at birth.
Note: If rhinoplasty is being utilized to correct a breathing problem or nose deformity, the procedure may be covered under the patient’s insurance policy.
The rhinoplasty procedure lasts from one to three hours. The surgeon may elect to utilize either local or general anesthesia, depending upon the complexity of the operation.
To begin the surgery, tiny incisions are made which allow the surgeon to access the underlying nasal structure. Once the skin is opened, the cartilage and bone are reshaped to form the basis for the new look. Two basic methods are utilized for performing nose surgery. These methods are referred to as the ‘open’ and the ‘closed’ techniques. The open technique allows for maximum visibility and control over the procedure. The incision used in the open technique is placed in-between the nostrils on the columella (the medial nostril strip). In the closed technique, the incisions are internal and heal faster; however, there is less surgical control over the outcome. The physician can discuss which technique is best when the patient arrives for the initial consultation visit.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and to reduce the recovery time. Some swelling may be noticed and may persist for up to one year. A splint, bandages, and/or gauze are applied immediately following surgery to aid in the healing process and to minimize movement of the nose. Patients must refrain from smoking for several weeks before and after the surgery. In addition, any corrective glasses that are worn must be taped up and off the nose. The nose will need to be well-protected from the sun for the first year after the procedure while the body is adjusting to the new look. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with the surgery. Pain can be effectively treated with oral medication and/or cold compresses. While complications are rare, patients can minimize the risk of potential problems by carefully following the post-surgical directions given by the surgeon.