One of the most common plastic surgery procedures, rhinoplasty is performed to reshape the nose to achieve facial harmony and boost self-confidence. Many different things can be done, depending on the patient’s desires and needs. The nasal profile can be improved by removing humps or depressions. A tip that is too large, bulbous, droopy or upturned can be recontoured. The shape and size of the nostrils can be altered as well as the width of the nose. A crooked nose can be made straighter and even breathing can be improved by correction of a deviated septum.
Candidates for rhinoplasty should be at least 16 years old, finished facial growth and be in good general health. Expectations of the surgery should be realistic as well: while significant changes can often be made, much depends on the anatomy of the patient and the thickness and quality of the nasal skin and tissue.
The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. There are generally two types of techniques – the “open” and “closed” approaches. In a closed rhinoplasty, the incisions are all made within the nostrils but the technique is generally more limited. In an open rhinoplasty, a small incision is also made across the thin column of tissue between the nostrils that typically heals inconspicuously. The advantage of an open approach is better visibility and exposure of the nasal structures that allows the surgeon to more precisely contour the nose.
After surgery, there will be some swelling and bruising and a feeling of nasal stuffiness. Most patients are able to return to work in about a week. The results of rhinoplasty become gradually apparent as the days pass after surgery and swelling recedes, although it will take about a year for all trace amounts of swelling to resolve.