Nose surgery, Rhinoplasty,
(the most common of all plastic surgery
procedures) is intended to reduce or increase size of your nose, change
the shape of the tip or the bridge, narrow the span of the nostrils, or
change the angle between your nose and your upper lip. It may also correct
a birth defect or injury, or help relieve some breathing problems.
Frequently Asked Questions.
How is the surgery performed?
During a typical surgery the skin of
the nose is separated from its supporting framework of bone and cartilage,
which is then sculpted to the desired shape. The nature of the sculpting
will depend on your problem and your surgeon's preferred technique. The
skin is then re-draped over the new framework.
Many plastic surgeons perform rhinoplasty from within the nose, making their
incision inside the nostrils. Others prefer an "open" procedure, especially
in more complicated cases; they make a small incision across the columella,
the vertical strip of tissue separating the nostrils.
When the surgery is complete, a splint will be applied to help your nose
maintain its new shape. Nasal packs or soft plastic splints also may be
placed in your nostrils to stabilize the septum, the dividing wall between
the air passages.
Will the surgery result in permanent scarring?
Most of the incisions
are inside the nose and therefore not visible. Occasionally, small excisions
of skin are indicated at the base of the nostrils to shape the nostrils
and nasal tips. The scars from these are usually inconspicuous after a few
How long does the procedure take?
The operation ordinarily takes
one and a half to two and a half hours, depending on the complexity of the
How long is the recovery time?
The majority of the swelling subsides
in 10 to 12 days, and one can usually expect to return to full social activity
and work within two weeks after the operation. A small amount of swelling,
usually not evident to others, persists for several weeks or months.
Will I need Anesthesia?
Rhinoplasty can be performed under local
or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the procedure and on what
you and your surgeon prefer.
With local anesthesia, you'll usually be lightly sedated, your nose and
the surrounding area will be numbed and you'll be awake during the surgery,
but relaxed and insensitive to pain. With general anesthesia, you'll sleep
through the operation.
Am I a good candidate for Rhinoplasty?
The best candidates for rhinoplasty
are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in their expectations.
Rhinoplasty can be performed to meet aesthetic goals or for reconstructive
purposes to correct birth defects or breathing problems.
Many surgeons prefer not to operate on teenagers until after they've completed
their growth spurt, around 14 or 15 years old for girls, a bit later for
boys. It's important to consider teenagers' social and emotional adjustment,
too, and to make sure it's what they, and not their parents, really want.
Before your procedure.
During your initial consultation, you will be asked what you'd like your
nose to look like. The surgeon will evaluate the structure of your nose
and face, discuss the factors that can influence the procedure, surgical
techniques and the end results. Photographs are taken and used for operative
planning. Tracings are made on the photographs and used to outline the goals
of the operation. The tracings are a guideline and not a guarantee of results.
If there is sunburn on the nose or obvious infections, the operation will
need to be canceled and rescheduled.
Be sure to tell your surgeon if you've had any previous nose surgery or
an injury to your nose, even if it was many years ago. You should also inform
your surgeon if you have any allergies or breathing difficulties; if you're
taking any medications, vitamins, or recreational drugs; and if you smoke.
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery,
including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, taking or avoiding
certain vitamins and medications, and washing your face. Carefully following
these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly.
While you're making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive
you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days if needed.
After your procedure.
The nostrils and nasal passages may be packed with small dressings, which
are in place only a short time and will be removed by the surgeon. If a
submucous resection is performed in conjunction with the rhinoplasty, the
packing will remain longer.
Rest as much as possible when you return home. It is normal to feel drowsy
or sluggish the entire day. You may feel especially dizzy or uncomfortable
upon standing up or walking, so be sure that support from a person or object
Take pain medication as needed and as directed. *DO NOT take pain medication
on an empty stomach. Avoid alcoholic beverage.
You can expect to have nasal congestion with minimal bloody drainage for
the next two to three weeks after surgery. This congestion is caused by
crusts that form in the nose. The crusts will be removed during the following
office visits. Mouth breathing and sleeping on two pillows to facilitate
drainage will help. Chap Stick Lip Balm is ok for dry lips.
You may have temporary decrease in taste and smell.
Any yellow or green nasal discharge should be reported to your doctor as
this may signify an infection.
If a splint has been used, leave it on until your follow-up appointment
with your physician.
If you are a smoker, refrain from smoking for two weeks after surgery.
Although the nose usually looks quite good three weeks after the operation,
improvement may be expected for the next several months. The tip of the
nose will remain stiff and numb for several weeks, but this gradually returns
to normal as the healing progresses.