Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure which is usually performed by either an otolaryngologisthead and neck surgeon, maxillofacial surgeon, or plastic surgeon in order to improve the function (reconstructive surgery) or the appearance (cosmetic surgery) of a human nose. Rhinoplasty is also commonly called “nose reshaping” or “nose job”.

Candidates

Individuals who feel their nose is out of proportion with the rest of their facial features may wish to undergo nose reconstruction/rhinoplasty surgery. For example noses with a ‘hook’, crooked noses, an excessive ‘ski jump’ tip at the end of the nose, a flat nose and large nostrils are common complaints that can be rectified by nose reconstruction surgery, as well as individuals who suffer from breathing complaints.

Procedure

There are several different techniques that can be utilised when reshaping the nose. Depending on the chosen procedure, the operation may be performed under local or general anesthetic and take up to two hours. The two main techniques employed in nose reshaping/rhinoplasty is ‘open’ and ‘closed’. In open tip rhinoplasty, the incisions are made on the inside and outside of the nose, which some surgeons believe gives them greater control when reshaping the nose. In closed tip rhinoplasty, the incisions are made solely on the inside of the nose, avoiding any external scarring (which is minimal in open tip rhinoplasty). The operation usually involves separating the nasal tissue that lies over the bone and cartilage underneath. The bone may be broken and repositioned or the cartilage reshaped. In some cases, cartilage from another part of the body may be used to help restructure the nose. Dissolvable sutures are usually used to close the incisions.

Recovery period

You may need to wear a plaster over the nose for around seven days to protect and keep it in place following surgery. Temporary swelling, bruising and numbness are usual side effects following nose reconstruction/rhinoplasty. You should also avoid any rigorous exercise for several weeks and take up to two weeks off work.3 weeks with limited exposure to sunlight.

Risks

Risks associated with reconstruction/rhinoplasty include permanent, visible scarring, blood clotting, numbness, swelling, breathing problems, asymmetrical appearance, skin discoloration and burst blood vessels.