Rhinoplasty FAQs

Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures performed. During a rhinoplasty, the surgeon is able to reshape, reduce or augment a patient’s nose to improve appearance.

A Rhinoplasty may be performed as a reconstructive procedure to correct a birth defect, a repair surgery to remedy an injury like a broken nose, or simply for cosmetic reasons. Sometimes the procedure is performed in conjunction with endoscopic sinus surgery for patients with ongoing sinusitis or with a septoplasty, a procedure to correct a deviated septum. In these cases, the operation effectively treats health and breathing problems, as well as improving the patient’s appearance.

What are the benefits of a rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty has several specific goals. Some facilitate breathing as well as improve facial appearance. During a rhinoplasty, the surgeon may make your appearance more pleasing to you by:

  • Removing a hump on your nose
  • Modifying the bridge of your nose
  • Reshaping the tip of your nose
  • Reshaping or resizing your nostrils
  • Repairing your nose after an injury
  • Increasing or decreasing the size of your nose

Are you a good candidate for a Rhinoplasty?

In order to be a candidate for a Rhinoplasty procedure you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 15 years old so that facial growth is complete
  • Be in overall good health
  • Not be a smoker
  • Have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery

How is a rhinoplasty performed?

Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia. It usually takes from 1 to 2 hours to complete. 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. The surgeon 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.

What is the recovery from a rhinoplasty like?

Immediately after surgery, your nose and eyes are usually bruised and swollen. Splints and some thing support material will remain inside your nose for a few days. During this period, you may experience some nasal pain or a dull headache, as well as some bleeding and drainage from your nose. Most patients are comfortable enough to return to regular activities in about a week. Contact lenses can be worn immediately after the procedure, but glasses may need to be taped to your forehead or propped on your cheeks for up to seven weeks.

Are there any restrictions in the weeks following a Rhinoplasty?

While you will be able to resume normal activities about a week after surgery, you will have to protect your nose while it heals by observing the following directives during the post-operative period:

  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Take baths instead of showers
  • Avoid blowing your nose
  • Avoid constipation
  • Avoid making exaggerated facial expressions
  • Brush your teeth gently
  • Avoid pulling clothing over your head
  • Use sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher
  • Limit dietary sodium
  • Do not use ice packs

Are most patients pleased with the results of a Rhinoplasty?

Patients with realistic goals for Rhinoplasty are generally very happy with the new shape of their nose. The exact results depend on your nasal bone and cartilage structure, your facial shape, the thickness of your skin and your age. While you will look and feel fine within a week or two, you may have minimal swelling for as long as a year after the Rhinoplasty procedure. Although your appearance may not be absolutely optimal until a year or more has passed, you will more than likely be extremely pleased with the results of your nose surgery soon after the procedure.

What are the possible risks of Rhinoplasty?

Complications arising from a Rhinoplasty are rare and, when they do occur, usually minor. These may include infection, nosebleed, or a reaction to the anesthesia. Some few patients may experience recurring nosebleed or numbness in or around the nose. On rare occasions, the nasal septum may be perforated, but this rarely results in any significant symptoms. In general, a Rhinoplasty is considered a very safe surgical procedure.

What is revision rhinoplasty?

Revision, or secondary, Rhinoplasty corrects deformities caused by a previous operation on the nose. It is a more difficult procedure to perform than primary Rhinoplasty because there is less cartilage to work with and there may be scarring or tissue contracture. When performed by a highly skilled plastic surgeon, however, a revision Rhinoplasty can improve both the appearance and the function of the nose.

What is A Rib Graft?

The ribs contain a large amount of cartilage that can be used to rebuild the nose if it has been badly damaged by trauma or previous surgery.   Because of this, rib grafting is a very powerful tool in the field of revision rhinoplasty. Although these cases are always more challenging, the procedure can be performed safely by well-trained plastic surgeons who specialize in complex nasal surgery.  Talk to your surgeon about whether a rib graft is required for your surgery.

Am I a Candidate for Revision Rhinoplasty?

The decision about whether to do a revision rhinoplasty is carefully made by you and your surgeon.  There are many factors that help decide whether the procedure is right for you.  General medical health, reasons for undergoing surgery, details of prior surgeries, timing of prior surgeries, goals for the planned surgery, and techniques used by the surgeon are all important factors that influence whether a revision rhinoplasty is right for you.  This is one of the many reasons why an in-depth consultation is critical to making this important decision.

is the recovery different for Revision Rhinoplasty?

Revision rhinoplasty is different than the first surgery, known as the primary rhinoplasty, in many ways.  The swelling can take a little longer to resolve, but often this is insignificant if major improvements are made to the nasal shape or function.  If a rib graft or other surgical sites are used, there is also some added recovery due to these additional procedures.  Overall, however, patients recover well from revision rhinoplasty and are feeling well after the cast comes off in the first week.

What should i ask my surgeon about revision rhinoplasty?

Revision rhinoplasty is a challenging but very rewarding surgery for both the patient and the surgeon. The surgeon you choose should be dedicated to rhinoplasty and have a lot of experience with complex and revision cases.  He or she should be able to discuss their experience and qualifications with you in detail.  The surgeon should be able to show you what is possible with photographic imaging, but also be honest about the challenges specific to your case.  Make sure to be specific about the problems you have with your first rhinoplasty, whether aesthetic or functional.

Can revision rhinoplasty Fix my breathing?

Nasal breathing problems are a major reason why revision rhinoplasty is performed.  The surgeon first needs to obtain a proper diagnosis as to why your nasal breathing is compromised. If the breathing problem is likely caused by prior rhinoplasty, then in most cases this can be corrected with a revision rhinoplasty.   Remember that sometimes other problems, like sinus, allergy, or lung problems can also cause difficulty breathing and these should be explored in your consultation.


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