A rhinoplasty is commonly known as a nose job, which is a type of cosmetic surgery which is done by a plastic surgeon in order to change and alter the shape of the nose. This surgery can be requested by people who are unhappy with the appearance of their nose or if they have had their nose broken and would like it to be straightened but is also used to help improve breathing issues that people have or congenital disfigurements. The outcomes which one may expect from rhinoplasty include:
- Reduce the projection of the tip
- Remove any hump
- Narrow the sidewalls
- Refine any tip cartilages that may be overly excessive
- Straighten a septum
- Improve breathing
- Increases self-confidence and helps to boost self-esteem
Before deciding whether you would like to have a facelift procedure, it is important to understand the composition of the nose and how it is affected by age and how the procedure is carried out.
What is the nose made of?
The nose may look like a structure that is completely continuous, however, it is actually made up of a lot of different components that fit together to make a structure that enables breathing and smell. Because the nose is made up of different components, there is the possibility that these may fit poorly or be out of proportion.
The nose is a hollow organ that allows for the passage of air. It is made up of boney parts and cartilage. These two parts are covered by skin which helps to hold the different components together. The bridge of the nose is made up of nasal bones. These are the bones that are broken when someone has a traumatic nasal injury. This is one of the components that can be altered during a rhinoplasty procedure. The nasal septum, which is inside the nose, separates the nose down the middle into right and left. It is made of cartilage and can often be deviated of crooked. This affects the way air flows in the nose and can cause breathing difficulties and a constantly blocked nose.
The rest of the outside of the nose is made up of cartilage and can take many different shapes and sizes, which can easily be altered during a rhinoplasty surgery.
Who is eligible to have rhinoplasty?
There is no suitable age for a rhinoplasty surgery, however, it is advisable to wait for the complete maturation of the nose if it is purely for cosmetic purposes, i.e. not for improvement of breathing difficulties. With any cosmetic surgery, it is important to make sure that the decision to get the surgery is done out of your own will and desire to change your appearance, rather than at the request of someone else. Having said this, there may be some patients who do NOT qualify to receive the surgery, for one or other reason. The following would make one a good candidate for rhinoplasty surgery:
- Being physically fit and healthy to undergo surgery
- Dissatisfaction with the shape or look of the nose
- If there is breathing difficulties
Before having the surgery, it is imperative to have a conversation with your surgeon regarding all your medical conditions and relevant medical history because certain health conditions may affect the type of anesthetic or your eligibility to have the surgery.
Details of the rhinoplasty procedure
After speaking to your surgeon about the concerns you have regarding your face and where you would like changes to be made, the surgeon will decide how best to achieve the result you are looking for. It is important to understand that there is no such thing as a perfect nose, but cosmetic surgery can be used to enhance facial features. Once this has been decided, you will be given anesthetics for the procedure to ensure that you are comfortable and do not feel pain. There are different anesthetic options which can either be local anesthetic (where the patient is awake or a little drowsy for the procedure) or a general anesthetic (where the person is completely asleep and unaware). This decision is made based on the extent of the surgery and what is going to be done. A nose job is an outpatient procedure which means that it does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.
The types of incisions can vary depending on the choice of the surgeon. The incisions can either be inside the nose, or an open procedure where the incision is made on the bottom of the nose. The skin covering the nose is then gentle raised to reveal the underlying structures of the nose. This allows the surgeon access to reshape the structure. This is done by the removal of excess cartilage and by the chiseling of the bones.
Once this is all done, the nose is protected with something called a nose splint. This is to hold the new bone shape in place, similar to a cast which is places on a broken limb. The splint is kept on the nose for approximately one week. A nose job will typically take between 1 and 4 hours long, after which point most patients can go home on the same day.
After the rhinoplasty surgery
Most people will experience minimal pain following a nose job but your surgeon will still prescribe medication for you to combat any pain that you may experience. Like most surgeries, there will be some degree of bruising and swelling, which is normal and unavoidable, but will resolve after some time. The only thing to take note with rhinoplasty is that is causes bruising around the eyes which typically go away after 3-4 days. You may have a bloody nasal discharge for a few days, but this is normal.
For the first few days following your nose job, it is advisable to do the following:
- Use cold compresses to minimize the swelling, this may last up to 6 months but is commonly unnoticed
- Keep your head elevated when resting
- Take pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon
- Avoid exposing the incisions to pressure
Your surgeon will give you instructions regarding the continuation of daily activities, such as bathing, washing your face and other physical activities. You will return to your surgeon after a few days. Here they will remove the bandages and assess the healing of the wound and the level of swelling and bruising.
Like all surgeries, there are risks that are involved. It is uncommon to get complications from a nose job surgery if it performed properly. Most facial cosmetic procedures are safe and carry low risk of complications. Some complications that may occur include:
- Infection after surgery
- Bruising and swelling
- Nasal stuffiness
- Hematoma or seroma
- Unsatisfied with the outcome
- Delayed wound healing
If you are interested in feeling more comfortable with your body and having improved self-esteem, contact your plastic surgeon in order to discuss whether you are eligible for rhinoplasty surgery and which option would best suit what you are looking for.