Rhinoplasty is surgery to reshape the nose. It can make the nose
larger or smaller; change the angle of the nose in relation to the upper lip;
alter the tip of the nose; or correct bumps, indentations, or other defects in
During rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes incisions to access the bones
cartilage that support the nose. The incisions are
usually made inside the nose so that they are invisible after the surgery.
Depending on the desired result, some bone and cartilage may be removed, or
tissue may be added (either from another part of the body or using a synthetic
filler). After the surgeon has rearranged and reshaped the bone and cartilage,
the skin and tissue is redraped over the structure of the nose. A splint is
placed outside the nose to support the new shape of the nose as it heals.
Rhinoplasty may be done using
local anesthesia. It is usually done as an
outpatient procedure but sometimes requires a 1-night
stay in the hospital or surgery center.
Surgeons who do rhinoplasties typically have training in
otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat specialty), or
The splint and bandaging around your nose will be removed
in about a week.
Your face will feel puffy and the area around your eyes and nose
will be bruised and swollen for several days. Cold compresses can help minimize
the swelling and reduce pain. Your doctor may also recommend pain medicine.
It takes about 10 to 14 days before most of the swelling and bruising
You may need to keep your head elevated and relatively still for
the first few days after surgery. It may be several weeks before you can return
to strenuous activities.
Rhinoplasty can change the size, shape, and angle of your nose and
bring it into better proportion with the rest of your face.
Rhinoplasty may also correct structural problems with the nose that
cause chronic congestion and breathing problems.
The results of rhinoplasty may be minor or significant, depending
on what kind of correction you want. It is important that you and your plastic
surgeon agree on the goals of the surgery. If your expectations are realistic
and your plastic surgeon shares them, he or she will probably be able to give
you the results you want.
The results of rhinoplasty are permanent, although subsequent
injury or other factors can alter the nose's appearance. Cosmetic surgery
should only be done on a fully developed nose. Complete development has usually
occurred by age 15 or 16 in females and by age 17 or 18 in males. If surgery is
done before this time, continued development of the nose can alter the surgical
results and possibly cause complications.
You can always expect temporary swelling and bruising around the
eyes and nose after rhinoplasty. Other problems that may occur include:
It is also possible that the cosmetic results of the surgery will
not be what you wanted.
If you choose to have local anesthesia, be prepared for the sounds of your doctor working on the bones and cartilage of your nose.
One of the prominent features of the face, the nose can have a big
impact on your self-image and appearance. If you're unhappy with your nose and
have been so for a long time, rhinoplasty is a reasonable option to consider.
As with other cosmetic procedures, you are more likely to be happy with the
results of rhinoplasty if you have clear, realistic expectations about what the
surgery can achieve and if you share these with your plastic surgeon.
Most insurance companies will not cover the costs of rhinoplasty
unless it is being done to correct a functional problem or a defect caused by
disease or injury. Even in these cases, be sure to check with your insurance
company to find out what portion of the costs it will cover. Costs of surgery
include not only the surgeon's fee but fees for the operating facility, the
anesthesiologist, medicines, splints, and other services and
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
July 31, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Keith A. Denkler, MD - Plastic Surgery
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