Q – What is rhinoplasty?
A – Rhinoplasty, which is more commonly known as a ‘nose job’, is a surgical procedure used to refine and/or reshape the nose. Common changes include modifications in the size and shape of the bridge and/or the tip of the nose.
Q – Are there any age restrictions for undergoing rhinoplasty?
A – Typically, rhinoplasty can be performed on patients 15 years of age and older. There are, of course, exceptions, such as cases involving severe disfigurement, in which case surgery may be performed. Again, however, revision rhinoplasty will likely be required in the future. Another aspect to consider is the psychological impact of cosmetic surgery and whether or not a younger patients can handle this.
Q – Why do they say it takes a whole year before you see the results of rhinoplasty?
A – While you will certainly see positive results from your rhinoplasty procedure well before a year’s time, it typically takes a full year for all of the swelling to subside and the final, most refined results to be achieved. A noticeable difference in your nose should be immediately apparent after surgery. However, this is not fully representative of the final result due to post-surgical swelling and discoloration. The swelling should begin to fade within about a week after surgery, and 80% of the swelling and 100% of the discoloration should have faded within two to three weeks. By month three after your procedure, 90% of the swelling will be gone, with the remainder slowly fading throughout the rest of the year. This residual swelling is typically not apparent to the patient or other observers after the first few months.
Q – Is rhinoplasty very painful?
A – Though pain is a relative thing, most rhinoplasty patients experience more discomfort than pain. In addition, this discomfort is most often associated with nasal packing, or packing of the nose after surgery to prevent or control bleeding. The nasal packing is typically removed within a day or so after surgery, and patients typically feel a great deal of relief once this occurs. Patients may also feel congested after surgery.
Q – How long does the actual surgery last?
A – Surgical times will vary according to several factors. Primary rhinoplasty procedures tend to take between two and three hours to complete and revision rhinoplasty procedures typically take between three and four hours.
Q – What is nasal packing?
A – Nasal packing, in which gauze or cotton packs are applied to the nasal chambers, is used to control or prevent bleeding and sometimes to support the septum after rhinoplasty. The packing is typically removed within twenty-four to forty-eight hours after surgery. Not all patients require nasal packing, but it is still often used as a preventative measure. This is, unfortunately, one aspect of rhinoplasty that most patients find to be uncomfortable.
Q – What if you’re unhappy with the results of your rhinoplasty?
A – It’s important that you give the nose time to heal before determining that you’re unhappy with your rhinoplasty results. The final, most refined results can be disguised by post-surgical swelling and bruising. You should contact your surgeon if you’re still unhappy with your results after six months to a year. Revision rhinoplasty may be required.
Q – Is it true that the nose is more runny after rhinoplasty?
A – Though some patients do experience a more runny nose after rhinoplasty, this does not occur for everyone. In most cases, this clears up within nine months after surgery, though it can persist for two years or longer.
Q – What is the recovery like after rhinoplasty?
A – The amount of time it takes to recover after rhinoplasty will vary from patient to patient. You’ll likely want to remain in bed for the first day after surgery, but most patients find that they’re up and about within a day or two. Though swelling and bruising can remain visible for three weeks or more, patients are typically able to return to work or school within a week’s time. Sun exposure and any strenuous activity risking injury to the nose will need to be avoided for two to three weeks.
Q – Are there any complications or risks with rhinoplasty?
A – Rhinoplasty is generally considered a safe procedure, though every surgical procedure does carry some risk of complication. These risks may include adverse reactions to anesthesia, infection, nosebleeds, numbness of the skin, small bursting of blood vessels on the surface of the skin, assymetry, and other possible complications.
Q – Does rhinoplasty leave scars?
A – Rhinoplasty requires that incisions be made in the skin which will result in scars. With closed rhinoplasty procedures, however, the incisions are confined to the inside of the nose, thus resulting in no visible scarring. With open rhinoplasty, a small incision is made on the columella, or on the underside of the skin between the nostrils. This results in a small, fine-line scar that is well-concealed and barely noticeable in time.
Q – What type of anesthesia is required for rhinoplasty?
A – Rhinoplasty typically involves either general anesthesia or a combination of local anesthesia and sedation.
Q – What is revision rhinoplasty?
A – Revision rhinoplasty, also referred to as secondary or tertiary rhinoplasty, is a rhinoplasty procedure used to revise or fix a past rhinoplasty procedure. Revision rhinoplasty is typically a more complex procedure than a first rhinoplasty procedure.
Read more about Revision Rhinoplasty questions.
Q – What are open and closed rhinoplasty?
A - Open rhinoplasty and closed rhinoplasty are the two types of rhinoplasty procedures available. Open rhinoplasty is used to achieve great symmetry when doing tip work, while closed rhinoplasty is generally done for hump reduction. Closed rhinoplasty involves incisions which are confined to the inside of the nose. Though this results in no visible scarring, the procedure offers less visibility of the inside of the nose and is typically not possible for more complex cases. With open rhinoplasty, a small incision is made on the columella, or the underside of the nose between the nostrils. This will result in a well-concealed, fine-line scar that fades with time. Because open rhinoplasty provides a better view of and easier access to the inside of the nose, it is often preferred, particularly with complex cases.
Q – Are x-rays taken before undergoing rhinoplasty?
A – X-rays are often not required before undergoing rhinoplasty. However, a CAT scan or other x-rays may be taken if there are breathing problems or to give the surgeon a better feel for the nose’s anatomy.
Q – What specifically can be achieved with rhinoplasty?
A – Rhinoplasty can refine and/or reshape the nose by making any of the following changes:
(1) a reduction or increase in the overall size;
(2) a change in the angle between the nose and upper lip;
(3) a narrowing of the span of the nostrils;
(4) the removal of a hump; and
(5) a change in the shape of the bridge or the tip. Rhinoplasty can also alleviate some breathing problems.
Q – Can anyone get rhinoplasty?
A – Anyone who is physically healthy, mentally stable and has realistic expectations can undergo rhinoplasty. It’s generally recommended that children not receive rhinoplasty until they have finished growing.
Q – What can I expect during a rhinoplasty consultation?
A – Though the consultation experience will be different with different doctors, you can generally expect the surgeon to discuss your goals and the realities of what rhinoplasty can achieve for you. The surgeon should examine your nose and face and should also discuss your medical history. He or she should provide you with details about the surgery itself, the anesthesia, the surgical facility, and any potential complications. A good surgeon will consider all of the features of your face and may recommend other procedures to further help you achieve your desired look.
Q – How is the actual rhinoplasty surgery performed?
A – Different surgeons will use different techniques. In general, however, you can expect the following: Once anesthesia is administered, incisions are made inside the nasal cavity and often at the base of the nose. The skin of the nose is then separated from the underlying cartilage and bone. The surgeon will sculpt the cartilage and bone into the desired shape and reshape the skin. The incisions are then sutured closed.
Q – How much time will I need to take off from work?
A – Most patients find that they can return to work within about a week after surgery. Keep in mind, however, that swelling and bruising can remain visible for three weeks or longer.
Q – Is rhinoplasty ever covered by insurance?
A – Insurance generally does not cover procedures that are purely cosmetic. However, in cases which involve breathing problems or deformities, insurance coverage may be available to some degree. Be sure to check with your own insurance company regarding the availability and degree of coverage.
Q – Where are the incisions made?
A – For closed rhinoplasty procedures, the incisions are confined to the inside of the nose. For open rhinoplasty procedures, an additional incision is made on the columella, or on the underside of the nose between the nostrils.
Q – Is it common to have black eyes after surgery?
A – Discoloration around the eyes does typically occur after surgery. The degree of this discoloration and the amount of time required for it to fade will vary from patient to patient. You can generally expect some amount of discoloration around the eyes for about seven to ten days, though in some patients this can last up to three weeks.
Q – What is septoplasty?
A – Septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct the shape of the septum due to defects or deformities. The nasal septum is the separation between the nostrils. Septoplasty may be performed during a rhinoplasty procedure. When performed together, this may be referred to septorhinoplasty.
Q – What is septorhinoplasty?
A – Septorhinoplasty is a term used to describe surgery involving rhinoplasty and septoplasty performed at the same time.
Q – Is it possible to get financing for rhinoplasty?
A – Financing is available for plastic surgery procedures. Your plastic surgeon should be able to provide you with further information about financing.
Q – Where is rhinoplasty usually performed?
A – Rhinoplasty may be performed in a surgeon’s office, in a hospital, or in a surgical facility. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 62% of cosmetic surgery procedures performed by their member doctors in 2004 took place in an office, 21% in a hospital, and 17% in a free-standing ambulatory surgical facility.
Q – Is the patient asleep during the rhinoplasty surgery?
A – Many patients receive a combination of local anesthesia and sedation, in which case they do not sleep throughout the procedure. However, it is possible for patients to be totally asleep during surgery if they prefer.
Q – Is it okay to eat breakfast on the morning of your surgery?
A – Patients are generally instructed not to eat anything after midnight on the day of surgery, and not to eat or drink anything on the morning of surgery. However, your surgeon should give specific instructions regarding food consumption.
Q – If you can’t eat anything before surgery, how soon afterward can you eat?
A – Patients are generally encouraged to begin drinking small amounts of clear liquid and even eat something small like crackers once they have awoken after surgery and are stabilized. It’s typically all right to begin eating as soon as you feel hungry, though it’s often best to start slowly and begin with soft foods or liquids.
Q – Will I be able to drive myself home after my rhinoplasty procedure?
A – You should not drive yourself home after your rhinoplasty procedure but should have someone drive you instead.
Q – Will I need to have someone help me out at home after my surgery?
A – You should have someone stay with you for at least the first night after your rhinoplasty surgery. It’s best if this is the same person who picks you up after surgery so they can be given necessary information about your discharge and recovery.
Q – How many follow-up visits are needed after rhinoplasty surgery?
A – The number of follow-up visits required after your rhinoplasty surgery will vary from surgeon to surgeon. In many cases, your surgeon will require a follow-up visit on the first and second days after your surgery. Three to four more follow-up visits may be required during the first two weeks after surgery. After that, your surgeon may wish to see you anywhere from monthly to quarterly during the first year.
Q – When are the splints removed after rhinoplasty surgery?
A – The splints are typically removed within a week after rhinoplasty surgery.
Q – When are the stitches removed after rhinoplasty surgery?
A – The sutures are typically removed within a week after rhinoplasty surgery
Q – Is it okay to wear glasses after rhinoplasty surgery?
A - Glasses can be worn while the splint is in place. After that, care must be taken when wearing your glasses to keep them from resting on your nose. Supports or stilts can be used on the lower portion of the glasses to keep them off of the nose. It’s generally advised that glasses not be worn directly on the nose for six to eight weeks after the procedure.
Q – When is it okay after rhinoplasty surgery to run or lift weights?
A – You should not exercise (running, cycling, or aerobics) for at least four weeks. Also, you should avoid any contact sports for six weeks because it takes that long for the bones to completely heal.
Q – Is it possible for the nose to grow after rhinoplasty surgery?
A – If rhinoplasty is performed on a child who is still growing, the nose will continue to grow and can negatively impact the results of surgery. As such, it’s typically recommended that rhinoplasty only before performed on children after they have stopped growing. With adults, the nose does tend to elongate during the middle years and the tip may droop in the later years.
Q – What kind of material is used when grafts are needed to rebuild the nose?
A – There are a variety of materials that can be used for grafts. In most cases, however, the patient’s own cartilage is used, either from the inside of the nose, the ear or, less commonly, the rib.