Cosmetic Nasal Surgery

Understanding Rhinoplasty…Surgery of the Nose

Every year, half a million people who are interested in improving the appearance of their noses seek consultation with facial plastic surgeons. Some are unhappy with the noses they were born with, and some with the way aging has changed their nose. For others, an injury may have distorted the nose, or the goal may be improved breathing. But one thing is clear: nothing has a greater impact on how a person looks than the size and shape of the nose. Because the nose is the most defining characteristic of the face, a slight alteration can greatly improve one’s appearance.  If you have wondered how nose surgery or rhinoplasty could improve your looks, self-confidence, or health, you need to know how rhinoplasty is performed and what you can expect.

Is Rhinoplasty for you?

As with all facial plastic surgery, good health and realistic expectations are prerequisites. Understanding nose surgery is also critical. The goal is to improve the nose aesthetically, making it harmonize better with other facial features.   Skin type, ethnic background, and age are important factors to be considered in discussions with your surgeon prior to surgery. Before the nose is altered, a young patient must reach full growth, usually around age fifteen or sixteen. Exceptions are cases in which breathing is severely impaired.

How do you make the decision for Rhinoplasty?

Whether the surgery is desired for functional or cosmetic reasons, your choice of a qualified facial plastic surgeon is of paramount importance. Many facial plastic surgeons are trained in both ear, nose and throat, and facial cosmetic surgery, which provides you, the patient, with the highest level of training and expertise. Your surgeon will examine the structure of your nose, both externally and internally, to evaluate what you can expect from rhinoplasty. Your surgeon will also discuss factors that may influence the outcome of the surgery, such as skin type, ethnic background, age, degree of deformity, and degree of function of nasal structures.

How is the surgery performed?

The definition of rhinoplasty is, literally, shaping the nose. First, incisions are made and the skin of the nose is lifted from its underlying bone and cartilage support system. The majority of incisions are made inside the nose, where they are invisible. 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 or rearranged to provide a newly shaped structure. For example, when the tip of the nose is too large, the surgeon can sculpt the cartilage in this area 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.

 What should you expect after surgery?

Immediately after surgery, a small splint will be placed on your nose to protect it and to keep the structure stable for at least five to eight days. If packing is placed inside the nose during surgery, it is removed the morning following the surgery. Your face will feel puffy,especially the first day after surgery. Pain medication may be required.  In the immediate days following surgery, you may experience bruising and minor swelling in the eye area. Nasal dressing and splints are usually removed six or seven days after surgery.

Probably no other physical characteristic cries out for facial plastic surgery more than protruding ears. Children, long the victims of cruel teasing are the most likely candidates for otoplasty, but this surgery can be performed at any age after the ears have reached full size, usually around five to six years of age. Even if the ears are only mildly distorted, the condition can lead to self-consciousness and poor adaptation to school. When it comes to otoplasty, conventional wisdom is the earlier the better.  Adults may also benefit from this procedure, which improves self-esteem with relative ease. Often, adults choose this surgery in conjunction with other facial plastic surgical procedures. Not only is it possible to “pin back” ears, but ears can also be reshaped, reduced in size, or made more symmetrical.