One of the most common plastic surgery procedures, rhinoplasty is performed to reshape, reduce or augment a person’s nose, remove a hump, narrow nostril width, change the angle between the nose and the mouth, or to correct injury, birth defects, or other problems that affect breathing. Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia and lasts one to two hours.
Before the nose is altered, a young patient must reach full growth, usually around age fifteen or sixteen. Many patients have chin augmentation in conjunction with rhinoplasty to create a better balance of features.
As rhinoplasty is very individualized, our doctors take into consideration multiple factors, including but not limited to skin type, facial dimensions, bone structure and your goals in determining the surgical approach. Generally however, incisions may be confined to the inside of the nose, referred to as closed rhinoplasty, or may involve an additional small incision under the tip of the nose, referred to as open rhinoplasty.
The majority of incisions are made inside the nose, where they are invisible. First, incisions are made and the bone and cartilage support system of the nose is accessed. In some cases, an incision is made in the area of skin separating the nostrils. Next, certain amounts of underlying bone and cartilage are removed, added to, or rearranged to provide a newly shaped structure. For example, when the tip of the nose is too large, cartilage in this area can be sculpted to reduce it in size. The angle of the nose in relation to the upper lip can be altered for a more youthful look or to correct a distortion.
The tissues are then redraped over the new frame and the incisions are closed. A splint is applied to the outside of the nose to help retain the new shape while the nose heals. Soft, absorbent material may be used inside the nose to maintain stability along the dividing wall of the air passages called the septum. Alternatively, soft nasal supports that permit nasal breathing post-operatively can be placed.
After The Surgery
Some discomfort can occur during the first couple of days after surgery but can be controlled with pain medication may be prescribed. A little bleeding is common during the first few days following surgery, and you may continue to feel some stuffiness for several weeks. Within six or seven days after surgery, the splint and stitches are usually removed. Bruising may also occur and should fade so that you feel comfortable enough in social situations by around the tenth day after surgery. Swelling is also common and can take months to fully fade. Patients are typically able to return to work within one to two weeks, though strenuous activities should be avoided for two to three weeks.