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What is Rhinoplasty?



A rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure meant to either correct some medical problems such as a deviated septum or just improve the features of your nose. It is a low-risk surgery, extremely popular in this day and age, easy to perform and allowing you to go back to work a few days after you had it. Side-effects such as bruising and swelling are gone after the first week and results are noticeable in the second one.

before and after the surgery - model

Before moving forward you must be well informed of all its characteristics in order to make a sound decision.

Different Techniques

The rhinoplasty procedure falls into two important categories: surgical and non-surgical. While the first one (and the most popular) involves incisions in order to shape the nose, the latter is non-invasive and relies on injectables. One method is not necessarily better than another, and your plastic surgeon will help you decide which procedure is best suited to your circumstances. Follow the links for more in-depth information about the different techniques.

anatomy of the nasal bones and cartilage

Locations of the nasal bone and cartilage

a) Nasal Bone, b) Upper Lateral Cartilage, c) Lower Lateral Cartilage

Surgical Rhinoplasty

  • Closed Rhinoplasty - Your surgeon makes several incisions in the inside of your nose and makes the necessary revisions without creating scars on the exterior of the nose. This technique is often preferred when there are minor imperfections to be corrected.
  • Open Rhinoplasty - An additional small incision is made in the skin that separates the nostrils at the base of the nose to expose the cartilage. Depending on your unique needs, open rhinoplasty may give the surgeon better access to the anatomy of your nose to make more precise corrections. Your surgeon may prefer open surgery if there is grafting to be done, or in the case of ethnic rhinoplasty.
  • Revision Rhinoplasty - Noses that have already undergone a previous surgery may present some additional challenges. A significant amount of the nasal support structure may have been lost, grafts may have been misplaced, or scar tissue may have built up. The correction of these problems can often be more difficult and require different techniques.

nose hump surgery, edge refinement and protection splint

a) Hump removal, b) Edge refinement, c) Immobilization and splint

Non-surgical Alternatives

  • Injectible Fillers - A common method of non-surgical rhinoplasty uses injectible substances, known as dermal “fillers”, to camouflage mild to moderate flaws such as minor bumps and droopy nasal tips. This type of “nose job without surgery” may also make a crooked nose appear straighter. This method usually requires nothing more than a topical anesthetic, if any. As with the other forms of non-surgical procedures described below, the results are not permanent.
  • Botox® - Injections of Botox® like substances may be used to alleviate nasolabial creases, wrinkles, crookedness, scars or bony crests.
  • Inserts and Splints - In this method, splints can be inserted into the nose to modify its shape. They will only help while you are wearing them and they cannot be worn while sleeping, swimming or exercising.

using injectables to correct nose problems

The injectable filler used in non-surgical rhinoplasty is injected in small amounts and in precise locations so that there is total control over the shape and contours created by the procedure

Steps Involved in Rhinoplasty Surgery

Rhinoplasty is typically performed on an outpatient basis and here are some of the things you can expect.

  • Consultation - To find the right plastic surgeon, do your research, ask for recommendations, and visit each of the doctors at the top of your list for a thorough (and usually free) consultation to answer all of your questions.
  • Before Surgery - Your surgeon may ask you to take vitamins, stop smoking and fast before surgery.
  • During Surgery - The procedure will be done under some type of anesthesia which your doctor will discuss with you before surgery. With no complications, you can expect the procedure to take between one and three hours.
  • After Surgery - A splint will be applied to maintain the shape of the nose and nasal packing is sometimes used to stabilize it. Although you will generally go home on the same day as your surgery, you will need someone to drive you and be with you for the first 24 hours.
  • Recovering from Surgery - The surgery does not usually cause any major complications beyond the expected risks of bruising, bleeding and swelling. The splint will usually come off after two weeks and the packing after a few days. You can expect to make a gradual recovery for up to 6 months after surgery.

For more detailed descriptions of the steps involved to make your procedure a complete success visit the The Surgery page.

How much does Rhinoplasty Cost?

In general, you can expect the total cost of rhinoplasty to range between $4,500 and $20,000, depending on whether this is your first procedure or a revision (revisions are more expensive). Your costs will be affected by how much reconstruction needs to be done, your geographic location, the expertise and training of your plastic surgeon, and a variety of other factors. Read RhinoplastyGuide.com’s thorough discussion about rhinoplasty cost and financing solutions that may be available to assist you.

nose job before and after - patient images

Possible Risks

Rhinoplasty is usually a successful procedure, with very rare cases of extreme complications. However, just like any surgery it does have its risks. What you can do in order to diminish them is consult your doctor for the best strategies pre and post-operative and permanently stick to them.

The most common risks you are exposed to when undergoing the surgery are bruising and swelling, present to varying degrees. A bit more serious can be blood clots, infections or scars that stretch across the entire nostril. Nasal obstructions that lead to breathing problems can also occur. If this is the case, the plastic surgeon must be informed immediately and establish a treatment.

A less common risk in the rhinoplasty procedure is perforating the wall between the nostrils, also called the septum. This will cause nosebleeds, breathing difficulties and a whistling noise while inhaling. There is also the risk of making the nose look unusual by removing too much bone or cartilage. Left without the proper support, it results in a deformity called "polly beak".

It is rarely the case that a surgery with the goal of rotating the nose upward can overdo it, making the nostrils overly prominent and visible. On the other hand, if too much of the tip cartilage is removed (during a tip rhinoplasty), a quite pinched appearance can emerge.

Apart from cosmetic risks, there is also the slight possibility for nasal numbness. This is due to cuts that are not made properly and can extend for months or even be permanent.

nose hump correction surgery - male patient images

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