Maybe you call it a “nose job”. We call it Rhinoplasty. And it’s the kind of cosmetic surgery that makes a big impact in a small way.
As one of the oldest, most established cosmetic procedures, it is performed sometimes for aesthetic reasons, sometimes for health reasons, and sometimes…a little of both.
Rhinoplasty patients may want a more symmetrical or harmonious facial appearance or a change in the overall shape or size of the nose, perhaps shaving down a bump or narrowing the bridge. 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.
Patients who undergo a successful cosmetic rhinoplasty procedure are typically thrilled with the improvements and experience significant gains in self-esteem and confidence. Patients who undergo rhinoplasty for medical reasons see an overall increase in health, quality of life and sense of well-being.
It is important to fully discuss your reasons for seeking rhinoplasty with your physician before you move forward with the surgery. Both you and your doctor should be fully aware of your goals for the procedure and the expected outcomes. A good cosmetic surgeon will take the time to discuss how the surgery is likely to affect the overall appearance of your face. Because again, any change in that one little feature can make a big difference in your appearance.
Rhinoplasty is one of the most customizable procedures in cosmetic surgery, since the nose must be in harmony with the rest of the patient’s facial features. Finding the right balance is critical, so it’s important you and your surgeon are on the same page. Once you decide to move forward with a rhinoplasty, you will meet with our Medical Director Sergio Alvarez or one of his elite surgeons to discuss your goals for the procedure. Your mia Aesthetics doctor will discuss different techniques that could be used and ensure you’re a good candidate for rhinoplasty. This is your opportunity to ask questions about everything from how to prepare for surgery to what your recovery might be like and even what emotional impact your surgery may have on you and your loved ones. The consultation is a very important step in the success of your procedure.
People of various backgrounds can benefit from a rhinoplasty. Anyone dissatisfied with the appearance of their nose or feels their facial balance is off may be able to improve their appearance with the surgery. Anyone with breathing difficulties because of a deviated septum or nasal passage problem may also stand to benefit. 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 the kind of improvement that can be made with rhinoplasty.
Rhinoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure, allowing patients to return home the day of surgery. Anesthesia keeps patients safe and comfortable during Rhinoplasty and may be either general or local with sedation. The choice of anesthesia often depends on the patient’s preferences but may also depend on the specifics of the procedure and other aspects of the patient’s health.
The incisions made in the procedure may be made entirely inside the nose, entirely outside the nose or some combination of the two. This depends on the precise 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 will be altered by either removing or adding cartilage to the inside of the nose and/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 patients will be 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.
Initial recovery from rhinoplasty involves supporting the new nose structure while it heals. This may be done with packing placed inside the nose and bandages on the outside, but this is often no longer necessary. Splints may be placed both inside and outside the nose. These supports are generally removed after a few weeks. Specific recovery times vary depending on the patient and particulars of the procedure. Your surgeon will discuss all of this with you prior to surgery.
Swelling and minor discomfort are the most common side effects of the procedure. This swelling may come and go over time. An increase in swelling is not necessarily the sign of anything unusual. It 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. As the structures in the nose heal and set, there will be small changes. It is important to keep in mind that the initial appearance of the nose right after surgery will probably not be the final appearance. If initial results do not meet expectations, they will probably improve over time.
Your mia Aesthetics surgeon will show you how to care for the surgical site during recovery. It is important to keep the site clean, especially for the first few days after surgery. It will also be important to be extremely careful and prevent bumping or damaging the nose for several weeks at least. 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 minor painkillers and antibiotics, to help you recover and prevent infection.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
Rhinoplasty is somewhat notorious for being one of the most difficult cosmetic surgeries to perform. Because of this, it is extremely important to choose your surgeon carefully and only consider plastic surgeons with the experience, skill, and reputation to give you a beautiful, customized results.
Before scheduling your consultations with prospective surgeons, you should do extensive research and choose only the best surgeons to consult. Use your consultations as an opportunity to learn more about the procedure, build rapport, and see different interpretations of your goal. You should choose a surgeon you feel you can trust to bring your vision to life.
Nose Surgery FAQs
How long will the procedure last?
As an outpatient procedure, the surgery will be completed in a single day. The procedure itself generally lasts one to two hours. Patients will be released later in the day but should have someone to drive them home for safety reasons.
How soon can I return to work?
Most patients feel well enough to return to work in about a week.
Are there risks?
Although rhinoplasty is a generally safe procedure, there are risks associated with every surgery. Some of these risks are common to all surgical procedures, and some are unique to rhinoplasty. It is important to have a thorough discussion and understanding of these risks with your surgeon before moving forward with rhinoplasty.
The most common risks are surgical complications due to anesthesia, and bleeding. There are also risks of infection both during and after surgery. There may also be skin discoloration, which can become permanent.
It is important you know that while cosmetic surgeons are skilled and results are generally predictable, they are not absolute or guaranteed. There is the potential for poor healing and noticeable scarring or an unsatisfactory nasal appearance. Although rare, follow up procedures may be necessary to achieve the final desired result. Patients can encourage good results by faithfully following their surgeons’ pre- and post-operative care instructions.
Will the bones in my nose have to be broken?
Breaking or cutting the nasal bones during rhinoplasty is called osteotomy, and it’s not as scary as it sounds. In some cases, osteotomy is necessary to create the patient’s desired results. However, the breakage is highly controlled, and does not affect recovery too much, so patients should not be worried about the osteotomy process.
What happens if I don’t like my new nose?
While most patients who choose a reputable surgeon and have clearly defined goals end up happy with their results, some patients are not satisfied with their rhinoplasty. This may be due to poor healing, complications or unrealistic expectations, but whatever the reason, it’s disappointing. Rhinoplasty results are not considered final for 6-12 months following surgery.
If you are dissatisfied with your results, revision surgery can take place 6 months to a year following the initial surgery. This surgery is extremely difficult and should only be performed by a specialist.
You can optimize your chances for success by choosing the right surgeon, following all surgeon instructions, having realistic expectations, and giving yourself time to adjust to a new look.