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What is Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty is a procedure that reshapes the nose. Patients may seek out rhinoplasty because they want a more symmetrical and harmonious facial appearance or a change in the overall shape and size of their nose. Some of the most common rhinoplasty requests include changing the size and position of nostrils, changing the shape of the nose tip or bridge and improving overall symmetry.

Nasal surgery also corrects common breathing problems or birth defects that affect the nose, face and nasal passages. Correcting a deviated septum is the most common medical reason for a rhinoplasty. This involves changing the structure of the nasal passages to allow for easier airflow and breathing. It also involves careful evaluation of the current problems to be sure the changes will result in significant airflow improvement.

About the Rhinoplasty Procedure

Rhinoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure, allowing patients to return home the day of surgery. General Anesthesia keeps patients safe and comfortable during the procedure.

Incisions made in the procedure may be made entirely inside the nose, entirely outside the nose, or some combination of the two depending on the goals of the procedure. External incisions are generally made only across the narrow strip of tissue between the nostrils. It is highly unlikely that even external incision marks will be noticeable.

The shape of the nose is altered by either removing or adding cartilage to the inside of the nose or reshaping the nasal bones. If cartilage must be added, the graft is most commonly taken from the middle of the nose (the septum), but it may also be taken from the ear if the nasal cartilage is not available. In rare cases, the cartilage may be taken from the rib. Taking these grafts may require separate incisions and anesthesia. The surgical plan is made in advance so that patients are aware of all the steps that will take place during the procedure.

After the interior sculpting of the nose structure is complete, the incisions are closed. All of these steps can be done in a single procedure.

About the rhinoplasty Procedure

Initial recovery from rhinoplasty involves supporting the new nose structure while it heals with packing, bandages or splints. These supports are generally removed after a few weeks. Specific recovery times vary depending on the patient and particulars of the procedure.

Swelling and minor discomfort are the most common side effects of the procedure. This swelling may come and go over time and tends to be more severe in the morning. There may be mild pain, including a dull headache and a feeling of stuffiness or nasal congestion.

Full recovery from the surgery generally takes a year, though the majority of healing only takes a few months. During this prolonged recovery time, you may notice gradual changes in the shape of your nose as swelling subsides. It is important to keep in mind that the initial appearance of the nose right after surgery will probably not be the final appearance.

It is important to keep the site clean, especially for the first few days after surgery. Patients should also be extremely careful and prevent bumping or damaging the nose for several weeks. Your nose will be very fragile while it recovers, and even a minor impact may alter the results of surgery. Overexertion after surgery can slow down healing or damage the nose. You may not be able to exercise normally or vigorously for a few weeks. You will also be prescribed various medications such as painkillers and antibiotics to help you recover and prevent infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are You the Right Candidate for Rhinoplasty?

People of various backgrounds can benefit from a rhinoplasty. Anyone who is dissatisfied with the appearance of their nose or who feels their facial balance is off may be able to improve their appearance with rhinoplasty. Anyone with breathing difficulties because of a deviated septum or nasal passage problem may also stand to benefit from rhinoplasty. Prospective patients should be in general good health and have realistic expectations for the outcome of the surgery before moving forward. Studying before and after photos is a good way to get an idea of what kind of improvement can be made with rhinoplasty.

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