What is Rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty, also known as nose surgery, is a common procedure to improve the appearance and proportion of the nose. It can also be performed to correct congenital defects, breathing difficulties, or to repair deformities caused by injury. Changing the size, shape, or proportions of the nose can often help improve self-confidence.
A rhinoplasty procedure can change a variety of exterior nasal characteristics, including:
- The size of the nose in relation to other facial features
- The width of the nose at the bridge
- The nose profile, including any humps or depressions in the nose bridge
- The tip of the nose
- Asymmetrical nostrils that might be considered large or upturned
- Overall nasal deviationWhen there is an imbalance with any one, or a combination of these particular characteristics in relation to facial symmetry or proportion, it can cause self-consciousness and issues with self esteem. A rhinoplasty can permanently correct these imbalances.
Boulder Plastic Surgery takes extensive steps to ensure each rhinoplasty procedure produces long-lasting results. While each rhinoplasty case is slightly different from the next, the following details will give you a good idea of what to expect from yours.
- Length: 2 – 3 hours
- Anesthesia: Light general anesthesia, usually outpatient. Some patients may require short inpatient stay.
- Side Effects: Temporary swelling, bruising around the eyes and nose. Headaches. Bleeding.
- Recovery: Patients may go back to work after 7 – 10 days, and the appearance of the nose will improve in the first 2-4 weeks. Subtle improvement in the appearance of the nose can be seen in the first 6 months.
- Exercise: A patient may resume low-intensity exercise in 3 weeks and moderate-intensity activity around 6 weeks. Patients may start full-intensity exercise closer to 8 weeks.
- Swelling: Moderate swelling within the first 4 weeks. Mild swelling 2 – 3 months. Final results at 1 year.
- Dressings: Nasal splints or tape for 5 – 7 days.
- Duration of Results: Permanent
- Office Visits: The first office visit 3 – 5 days after the procedure. The second visit should be within five days of the procedure. In total, there should be 7-10 appointments in the first 3 months, and then six months to yearly.
- Pain Meds: Take ibuprofen or sedatives as directed.
The best candidates for rhinoplasty have realistic expectations and are interested in improving the appearance and/or function of the nose. Before you decide to have rhinoplasty carefully think about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon. The following conditions could indicate that rhinoplasty surgery is right for you:
- Nose is not in proportion to the rest of the face.
- Nasal tip is drooping, upturned, hooked, or enlarged.
- Nose bridge has humps or depressions.
- Nostrils are too large or wide.
- A history of nasal obstructions or breathing problems.
Rhinoplasty is often postponed on younger patients until the nose has completed its growth, typically around 15 or 16 years of age.
Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty:
There are two different techniques, or surgical approaches, used for rhinoplasty. These include open and closed rhinoplasty. Patients considering nose surgery should be aware of the differences. The open rhinoplasty approach, also called external rhinoplasty, uses a few hidden incisions made inside the nostrils and adds a small bridging incision, called a trans-columellar incision, to connect the right and left nostril incisions. With the addition of this tiny visible incision, the nasal skin can be folded upward (much like opening the hood of a car) giving the surgeon more access to the internal structures of the nose. This allows for more precision and ease while sculpting the nose. When properly performed, the open rhinoplasty incision heals remarkably well and becomes nearly invisible. The closed rhinoplasty approach, also called endonasal rhinoplasty, use surgical incisions that are only positioned inside the nostrils, avoiding visible scars. The endonasal approach may reduce swelling, numbness, and recovery time. However, this approach limits surgical access to the internal structure of the nose making it more difficult to perform more complex rhinoplasty maneuvers and repositioning of the nasal skin. The approach you choose greatly depends on your needs and desired results. Your surgeon will recommend the approach they feel is most appropriate to the goals established during the rhinoplasty consultation.
Depending on the desired result, some bone and cartilage may be removed, or tissue may be added during surgery. After the surgeon has rearranged and reshaped the bone and cartilage, the skin and tissue is re-draped over the structure of the nose, and the incisions are closed. To support and protect the structure of your new nose as it heals, a splint and packing may be placed inside your nose, along with a splint and/or bandages placed on the outside.