Rhinoplasty has a long history dating back to ancient times, and has also been performed using modern techniques for decades. It is considered one of the safest cosmetic procedures you can undergo.
While nose plastic surgery is usually performed for cosmetic reasons, you might also need to undergo a rhinoplasty procedure to correct serious facial injuries, amend breathing problems or cure structural abnormalities such as a deviated septum. Patients undergoing rhinoplasty surgery to correct a deviated septum will need through assessment, and if they have deviated nasal bones also, it should be simultaneously corrected. The number of operations you will need depends on the severity of your nasal imperfections, which your surgeon will assess.
If you are considering the operation purely for cosmetic reasons, your surgeon will ask you about your expectations and evaluate the physical structure of your nose by dividing it into zones. Most patients want to correct one or more of the following:
- The bump in the bridge of the nose
- The width of the nose
- The amount the nose protrudes from the face
- The bulbous tip of the nose
- Wide or malformed nostrils
- The angle of the nose in relation to the lips
The surgeon will also examine the interior of the nose, as internal nasal structures have a direct relationship on its external appearance. Surgeons are rarely, if ever, able to make significant changes to the nose’s outside appearance without altering the insides as well.
Most times, the plastic surgeon will confine the necessary incisions to the interior of the nose, except for a small incision made across the flap of skin bridging the nostrils. The surgeon is then able to expose the internal structures of the nose and make the necessary changes using scalpels, chisels, hammers and files. The operation is performed with general or local anesthesia.
Narrowing nasal bones or the tip of the nose is accomplished using a wide range of techniques most of which are based around scraping away excess bone or cartilage. When the procedure is complete, the surgeon applies a specially designed metal splint to hold the nose in its new position. It is covered with tape and left to heal for one week.
Modern rhinoplasty surgery is considered very safe. However, all surgical procedures come with risks and the outcomes are never 100 percent predictable. Some of the possible complications, side effects and risks of nose surgery include:
- Reactions to the anesthesia
- Bleeding or burst blood vessels
- Permanent scarring
- Loss of smell
- Loss of nasal structural support
- Nerve damage
- Airway obstruction
- Unsatisfactory final results
Revision rhinoplasty is a special type of nose plastic surgery which corrects the undesirable results of a previous nose job. Also known as secondary rhinoplasty, these corrective procedures are necessary in about 5 to 20 percent of cases. Your surgeon cannot unconditionally guarantee that you will be satisfied with the final result of surgery on your nose.
Initially, your nose and face will be bruised and swollen. This should subside after a week or two, but many patients report some minor swelling and bruising even months afterwards. You will be asked to wear a nasal splint for the first seven to 10 days after your rhinoplasty during which you may have mild swelling and bruising around your eyes which would eventually subside. Avoid any strenuous exercise for at least four weeks after the surgery. In some cases, it may take as long as one year for all the side effects to subside. You will have to avoid blowing your nose for about a week after the operation even though you may be experiencing bleeding. You can moderate swelling by applying ice packs or cold compresses, and you should not bend over so your nose drops below the level of your heart because this can increase swelling.
Alternatives to surgery
Non-surgical rhinoplasty uses fillers to alter the appearance of the nose without invasive surgery. Angles can be altered, depressions can be corrected, and symmetry can be achieved with minimal bruising or swelling. However, the limitations of these relatively new procedures are significant as they can only be used to correct cosmetic deficiencies, and the fillers need to be reapplied every 5 to 12 months.