or surgery to reshape the nose, is one of the most common of all plastic
Rhinoplasty can reduce or increase the size of your nose, change
the shape of the tip or the bridge, narrow the span of the nostrils, or
change the angle between your nose and your upper lip. It may also correct a birth
defect or injury, or help relieve some breathing problems.
If you're considering rhinoplasty, this information will
give you a basic understanding of the procedure-when it can help, how
it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your
questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the
surgeon. Please ask
your surgeon about anything you don't understand.
THE BEST CANDIDATES FOR RHINOPLASTY
Rhinoplasty can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it
won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other
people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery,
think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your
The best candidates for rhinoplasty are people who are
looking for improvement, not perfection, in the way they look. If you're physically
healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in your expectations, you
may be a good candidate.
can be performed to meet aesthetic goals or for reconstructive
purposes-to correct birth defects or breathing problems.
Age may also be a consideration. Many surgeons prefer not to
operate on teenagers until after they've completed their growth
spurt-around 14 or 15 for girls, a bit later for boys. It's important to consider
teenagers' social and emotional adjustment, too, and to make sure it's
what they, and not their parents, really want.
ALL SURGERY CARRIES SOME UNCERTAINTY
When rhinoplasty is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon,
complications are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, there is
always a possibility of complications, including infection, nosebleed, or
a reaction to the anesthesia.
You can reduce your risks by closely following your surgeon's
instructions both before and after surgery. After surgery, small burst
blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin's surface; these
are usually minor but may be permanent. As for scarring, when
rhinoplasty is performed from inside the nose, there is no visible
scarring at all; when an "open" technique is used, or when the
procedure calls for the narrowing of flared nostrils, the small scars on
the base of the nose are usually not visible.
one case out of ten, a second procedure may be required-for example, to
correct a minor deformity.
Such cases are unpredictable and happen even to patients of the
most skilled surgeons. The
corrective surgery is usually minor.
PLANNING YOUR SURGERY
Good communication between you and your physician is essential. In your initial
consultation, the surgeon will ask what you'd like your nose to look
like, evaluate the structure of your nose and face, and discuss the possibilities
with you. He or she
will also explain the factors that can influence the procedure and the
results. These factors
include the structure of your nasal bones and cartilage, the shape of
your face, the thickness of your skin, your age, and your
Your surgeon will also explain the
techniques and anesthesia he or she will use, the type of facility where
the surgery will be performed, the risks and costs involved, and any
options you may have.
Most insurance policies don't cover
purely cosmetic surgery; however, if the procedure is performed for
reconstructive purposes, to correct a breathing problem or a marked
deformity, the procedure may be covered. Check with your insurer, and
obtain pre-authorization for your surgery.
Be sure to tell your surgeon if you've
had any previous nose surgery or an injury to your nose, even if it was
many years ago. You
should also inform your surgeon if you have any allergies or breathing difficulties;
if you're taking any medications, vitamins, or recreational drugs; and if
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor any
questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and
concerns about the results.
PREPARING FOR YOUR SURGERY
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for
surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, taking or
avoiding certain vitamins and medications, and washing your face. Carefully following these
instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly.
you're making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you
home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days if
TYPES OF ANESTHESIA
can be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the
extent of the procedure and on what you and your surgeon prefer.
local anesthesia, you'll usually be lightly sedated, and your nose and
the surrounding area will be numbed; you'll be awake during the surgery,
but relaxed and insensitive to pain. With general anesthesia,
you'll sleep through the operation.