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Rhinoplasty

Surgery Overview

Rhinoplasty is surgery to reshape your nose. It can be done to improve your appearance, fix a birth defect, or help you breathe better.

The doctor will make a cut inside your nostrils. This cut is called an incision. You might also get one across the skin between the nostrils. Then the doctor will pull back the skin. Parts of the bones and cartilage under the skin will be removed or reshaped. Then the doctor will put the skin back in place and close the incisions with stitches. You will have thin scars that will fade with time. You won't even see the scars inside the nostrils.

Rhinoplasty may be done using general or local anesthesia. It's usually done as an outpatient procedure. But some people may need to stay overnight in the hospital or surgery center.

What To Expect

The splint and bandaging around your nose will be removed in about a week.

Your face will feel puffy and the area around your eyes and nose will be bruised and swollen for several days. Cold compresses can help minimize the swelling and reduce pain. Your doctor may also recommend pain medicine. It takes about 10 to 14 days before most of the swelling and bruising improves.

You may need to keep your head elevated and relatively still for the first few days after surgery. It may be several weeks before you can return to strenuous activities.

Why It Is Done

Rhinoplasty can change the size, shape, and angle of your nose and bring it into better proportion with the rest of your face. It may also correct structural problems with the nose that cause chronic congestion and breathing problems.

Cosmetic surgery should only be done on a fully developed nose. This has usually occurred by age 15 or 16 in females and by age 17 or 18 in males. If surgery is done sooner, continued growth of the nose can change the results of the surgery. And it could cause complications.

How Well It Works

If your expectations are realistic and your plastic surgeon shares them, the surgeon will probably be able to give you the results you want. That's why it's important that you and your plastic surgeon agree on the goals of the surgery.

The results of rhinoplasty may be minor or significant, depending on what kind of correction you want.

Risks

You can always expect temporary swelling and bruising around the eyes and nose after rhinoplasty. Other problems that may occur include:

  • Bleeding.
  • Injury or holes to your septum (the wall that separates your nostrils).
  • Skin problems, including breakdown of skin tissue (skin necrosis) and irritation from the tape and bandaging.
  • Infection. Preventive antibiotics may be given after surgery to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Serious nasal blockage caused by swelling inside the nose.
  • Complications of anesthesia.

It is also possible that the cosmetic results of the surgery will not be what you wanted.

Credits

Current as of: November 11, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Keith A. Denkler MD - Plastic Surgery