Rhinoplasty, or nasal surgery, is one of the oldest and most popular forms of plastic
surgery. First performed in the 19th century, rhinoplasty is now commonly referred to as
a “nose job” and can be for cosmetic or medical purposes. Medical purposes can include
reconstruction needed from birth defects, injuries or breathing problems. Cosmetic
purposes can help improve self-confidence. Regardless of the reason, nasal surgery can
change the size of the nose, change the shape or size of the bridge and tip, change the
shape of the profile, change the size or space between the nostrils or change the angle of
the nose in relation to the rest of the face.
When planning a rhinoplasty, the patient and surgeon will communicate both visually and
verbally to identify target areas and design the new shape of the nose. Photographs and
measurements are frequently used. Many surgeons have digital imaging capabilities that
allow the patient to see what he/she will look like after the procedure. With a realistic
shared goal, most patients will experience no problems with this procedure and achieve
the results they desire. The surgeon and patient will also discuss and plan the specifics of
A patient will be placed under local or general anesthesia, depended on the complexity of
the procedure, and the preference of the surgeon and patient. The surgery itself usually
lasts an hour or two. Many procedures are done through an incision inside the nostril,
which results in no visible scars. Others are done in an “open” method where the incision
is made at the bottom of the nose, across the columella, which is the tissue separating the
nostrils. The scars from this incision are usually not visible either.
During the actual surgery, the soft tissue of the nose is separated from the cartilage and
bone so that the surgeon can reshape, resize or reposition the latter. The tissue is then
placed back onto the reworked frame. After surgery, a splint is placed on the outside of
the nose to maintain its new shape and/or position. Nasal packs may also be placed
inside the nostrils, especially if work was done to the septum, but are usually removed
before the patient is sent home.
After the patient is released, it is recommended that they spend the first day home lying
down. Usually they are up and moving about by the next day and can return to school or
work within a week. Physical exertion should be avoided for several weeks. The
surgeon will assess patients individually during their follow up visits. The splint is worn
for 7-10 days following surgery. Bruising may appear around the eyes, but should only
last for a few days. Slight swelling may occur for a few months and gradual changes to
your nose may not stop until a year after surgery. However, these changes will most
likely only be visible to patient and doctor.
Patients that set out with realistic expectations are usually satisfied with the final results
of their surgery.