Rhinoplasty: Cosmetic and Reconstructive Nasal Surgery

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Rhinoplasty is the surgery to reshape the nose and it is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures performed. With rhinoplasty, it is possible to increase or decrease the overall size of the nose, remove a hump, alter the tip of the nose or the bridge of the nose, decrease the nostril width, or change the angle between the nose and upper lip. These changes can create better balance between the facial features.

Summer is a common time for nose surgery for a variety of reasons. Younger patients have time off for the summer allowing elective procedures. Nasal trauma more often occurs with outdoor activities requiring correction.  Whether reconstructive or cosmetic, nasal surgery can not only improve your breathing, but also your appearance.

Rhinoplasty Candidates

Cosmetic rhinoplasty involves reshaping the nose to better fit the face.  This can involve making the nose larger or smaller, taking down a nasal hump, making the tip smaller, or changing the size and shape of the nostrils. What is done during the procedure depends on the patient’s anatomy and goals and your physician’s evaluation. Prospective patients should wait until they are fully grown to have surgery- typically around 17 for females, 18 for males. 

Repair of nasal trauma can involve correction of deformities of the nose due to trauma as well as straightening the inside and out to improve breathing. Some of the same techniques that are utilized in cosmetic nasal surgery are used for correction of nasal and septal fractures.

Lastly nasal surgery can be done to correct breathing. This may involve just straightening the septum (wall inside the nose that separates the two nostrils and their airways) or building up the structure and support of the nose (think internal breathe right strip) for better breathing. Like nasal trauma, insurance can often help with functional nasal surgery.

What to Expect During Rhinoplasty Surgery

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Surgery usually takes about two to three hours and is done on an outpatient basis.  Patients will have tape and a splint on the nose for the first week.  Most patients also have a small incision on the underside of the nose which requires suture removal at the one week point.

 

After Rhinoplasty

There are some restrictions after nasal surgery. Patients are required to refrain from strenuous activities for 2 weeks and heavy lifting for three weeks. In addition, patients should not be involved in any contact sports or activities which may involve trauma to the nose for 6 weeks. While much of what has been corrected can be visualized after a couple of weeks, the nose requires a full year before the final result can be appreciated.
Deciding if nasal surgery is right for you begins with a consultation. Video imaging (using computer photography to estimate the final result) can be very helpful for patients to understand their possible result and to make sure they are on the same page as their surgeon.  With successful nasal surgery, patients can both breathe better and achieve the look they’ve always wanted.

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