Purpose of Rhinoplasty
Rhinoplasty may be done for cosmetic purposes to alter your nose’s appearance in shape, size or proportion; this is also known as a “nose job,” second only to breast augmentation as the most popular plastic surgery in the United States.
Rhinoplasty is also performed to correct breathing problems and ongoing congestion by addressing your nose’s structural complications.
Both cosmetic and breathing corrections are achieved by modifications of bone, skin, cartilage, or all three.
Determining the Need for Rhinoplasty
Before rhinoplasty, your physician will talk with you about the benefits and risks of the surgery.
Benefits of rhinoplasty may include improved appearance and/or breathing and a lessening of chronic congestion.
As with any major surgery, risks include infection, bleeding and possible adverse reaction to the anesthetic. In addition, the following may occur:
- Chronic nosebleeds
- Long-term numbness in and around your nose
- Trouble breathing through your nose
- Bruising and swelling around your eyes and nose
- Chance of nose appearing imbalanced
- Skin problems/irritation due to bandaging
- Persistent pain, swelling, or discoloration
- Septal perforation (injury or holes to your septum)
- If cosmetic, possibility that the results will not meet your expectations
In evaluating your suitability for rhinoplasty, your surgeon will a take a detailed medical history, and conduct a physical exam, including both inside and outside of your nose, to clarify how your physical features might affect the cosmetic results, as well as the impact on your breathing.
Photographs from different angles may be taken.
It is important that you and your doctor discuss your motivations for having rhinoplasty, your expectations of what it will accomplish and how those correspond to what is possible.
If you and your physician determine that you are a good candidate for rhinoplasty, local or general anesthesia will be used, depending on your and your surgeon’s preferences and on the complexity of the surgery.
Local anesthesia means that a pain-numbing medication is injected directly into your nasal tissues; this often includes a drug for sedation injected through an IV (intravenous line) during the procedure, making you groggy, but not unconscious.
If general anesthesia is used, you will either inhale a painkilling agent or receive one through an IV; this will affect your entire body and induce a temporary state of unconsciousness.
Discuss with your doctor beforehand which kind of anesthesia is best for your case.
What Happens During Rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure, but in some cases, an overnight stay may be required.
Rhinoplasty, unlike many procedures, does not follow a specific protocol; your operation is instead adapted to fit your distinct anatomy and goals.
To gain access to the cartilage and bones to be adjusted, your surgeon will work either inside your nose or through a small incision at the base. After the reshaping and readjustment, your skin and tissue will be wrapped over your nose with a splint taped to it for support and protection. The internal dressing will remain in place for up to a week.
You can expect minor bleeding and the draining of old blood and mucus to occur for a few days, and will likely have a piece of gauze taped in place to absorb it.
Before you go home, your physician will provide you with instructions concerning physical and daily activities, diet, and even the wearing of glasses and limiting your facial expressions. To minimize the chances of bleeding and swelling and to help assure the most positive outcome, make certain that you follow these to avoid complications.