Rhinoplasty surgery is a type of plastic surgery focused on altering the shape of a patients nose. It is performed for both cosmetic and medical reasons, and in some cases, both. The procedure might include the removal of cartilage and bone, or the addition of tissue, depending on the desired result. Surgical alterations to the nose include increasing or decreasing the overall size, re-aligning the angle in relation to the upper lip, correcting indentations or bumps, reshaping the tip of the nose, and removing blockages that cause breathing troubles.

Surgical incisions are usually made inside of the nose to prevent visible scars following the procedure. The bones and cartilage are rearranged to achieve the desired result and then the tissue is draped back over the new structure. Post-surgery, the nose is supported by a splint and possibly with internal packing to maintain the shape during healing. The packing is typically removed within 48 hours of surgery and the splint is removed within a week. Most patients are released from the hospital the same day as the surgery, but complicated procedures might require an overnight stay. Rhinoplasty is performed under local or general anaesthesia. Patients choosing local anaesthesia will be awake during the surgery and will hear the procedure as it is performed.

Side Effects and Aftercare

Most patients experience mild side effects following surgery, though the aftermath typically looks severe for a few days. Reactions include bruising and swelling around the eyes and nose, which might also include mild to moderate pain. Swelling and bruising fade in approximately two weeks. Patients are encouraged to keep their heads elevated and to avoid excess movement for a few days after surgery. On average, patients return to work and public activities once the swelling and bruising has faded. Most patients are able to return to a completely normal routine, including strenuous activity, after two months.

Rhinoplasty is considered one of the safest and most effective plastic surgeries. Patients should have a thorough consultation with their doctors prior to the procedure to determine goals for the procedure. Like all cosmetic surgery procedures, patients should not expect life-altering results, though a change in appearance can mean a change in life for many. Patients should listen carefully to the recommendations and expectations from their doctors and set their expectations in accordingly.

General Information

Patients are encouraged to wait until their bodies are fully developed to undergo rhinoplasty. This is typically between the ages of 15 and 18. It is a permanent procedure, though the shape of the nose can change based on injuries and other life events occurring after surgery. Rhinoplasty features limited risks, but includes bleeding, skin problems, infection, damage to the septum, nasal blockage from swelling, and any complications related to surgical procedures requiring anaesthesia.

Like most plastic surgery, rhinoplasty is only covered by health insurance if it is performed to correct breathing issues or if the aesthetic problems were caused by injury. Even then, patients should check with their insurance provider to determine the extent of coverage.