Your top 5 questions about rhinoplasty answered
Rhinoplasty, or nose reshaping surgery (commonly referred to as “nose job”), is a popular cosmetic surgical procedure. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, rhinoplasty was one of the top five surgical procedures performed in 2013, with over 147,000 procedures performed.
Because it addresses the basic structure of a facial feature, rhinoplasty offers powerful and long-lasting results. It has one of the highest levels of patient satisfaction out of any cosmetic procedure; when well executed, the procedure can completely rebalance the face. Unlike procedures like facelifts, which turn back the clock but don’t stop it, the effects of nose surgery are essentially permanent.
For those curious about the procedure, below are answers to some of the most common questions I am asked by patients.
1. Who is a good candidate for rhinoplasty?
Like any surgical procedure, rhinoplasty should be individualized to the patient, bringing the nose into balance with the rest of their facial structure. For some, it is purely an aesthetic decision for those wishing to change the size, shape and/or angles of their nose; others may have congenital or post-traumatic deformities with breathing issues that they wish to correct through the surgery. As with any facial procedure, successful surgery is dependent on both physical and emotional maturity and development - younger patients should generally be in their late teens to have this surgery.
2. How do I decide on a rhinoplasty surgeon?
As a first step, it is important to find a surgeon whose results and style you like. Verify a surgeon’s credentials – members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are required to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery for entry. You will want to spend time together with your surgeon discussing what you envision before the procedure to make sure you are both confident that the expectations and understanding of what will change after the procedure is the same.
3. Are there different options for rhinoplasty surgery? I’ve read about open and closed.
Rhinoplasty, both primary (first-time surgery) and secondary (revisional surgery of a first rhinoplasty), is a large component of my practice. In closed rhinoplasties, all incisions are made on the inside of the nose. Open rhinoplasties also include a small incision (less than ¼ inch) in the skin at the base of the nose. It allows the surgeon better exposure to the nasal anatomy. The resultant scar is usually imperceptible. It all depends on the patient’s individual needs during consultation; your surgeon should be able to advise you on the best option for your needs. In general, revisional surgery or surgery performed after complex trauma are usually performed using an open technique.
4. How (and when) will I look different?
Many surgeons can alter (morph) digital images of the patient’s nose using 3D technology to give you a basic idea of the finished result. This can be a useful adjunct for both you and your surgeon to manage goals and expectations; however, while the altered photographic image is helpful, it’s not a guarantee. The changes to your nose will be obvious once the nasal splint is removed one week after your surgery, but expect to have swelling and bruising around the nose and eyes. The true and final result of your surgery will come around the one year mark, when all the swelling has gone down.
5. What are the risks?
Generally speaking, rhinoplasty is a safe surgical procedure that yields excellent results for a patient. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks – in this case, bleeding, adverse reaction to the anesthesia and injury to the septum. Patients should avoid any trauma to the area for at least the first three months after this surgery. Appropriate protective measures should be taken when engaged in any contact sports or activities that expose the area to blunt trauma.
There is also the slight possibility that you will need additional surgery in the future – plastic surgeons regularly perform revisional rhinoplasty for patients looking for further improvement.
The best way to get your questions answered and to mitigate risks is to ensure that your rhinoplasty is performed by a well-trained, experienced plastic surgeon competent in evaluation, judgment and surgical technique.