Rhinoplasty, also known as a “nose job,” is a surgical procedure performed to change the shape of the nose. Rhinoplasty may be performed for aesthetic reasons or for reconstructive purposes. This procedure is most frequently chosen for cosmetic reasons by patients who do not like the current shape or size of their nose. It is also performed to correct medical conditions affecting the nose or to reconstruct the nose following trauma. During most rhinoplasty procedures, the bone, cartilage, and other tissues in the nose are reshaped to create the desired appearance.
Are You a Good Candidate?
If you feel that your nose is not shaped “just right,” you may be a good candidate. Some of the most common complaints of those seeking rhinoplasty include:
- Nose is too thick
- Nose is too thin
- Tip is too pointy
- Tip is upturned
- Nostrils are too wide or flared
- A bump on the bridge
- Nose bends to the left or right or is not symmetrical
If you are undergoing rhinoplasty surgery for cosmetic reasons, be sure to weigh your decision carefully; just because you’re unhappy with your natural nose doesn’t mean you would be happy with a new one. In addition to these cosmetic conditions, rhinoplasty may also be used to correct a deviated septum, which often contributes to sleep apnea. Rhinoplasty surgery is also used to repair damage caused by an injury, accident, or birth defect.
Ideal patients must be at least 15 years old, because by this age the nose has reached its adult appearance. However, younger patients may undergo rhinoplasty surgery in the case of birth defects or structural damage. There is no upper age limit for rhinoplasty candidates, and it can be performed on both men and women of any ethnicity. One of the most important factors in the success of a rhinoplasty is the thickness of the skin covering the nose. In patients with thin skin, comparably minor corrections in the underlying bone or cartilage create significant visual changes. In patients with thicker skin, the same changes may have less noticeable results.
Types of Rhinoplasty Techniques
Rhinoplasty procedures can include the removal of bone or cartilage, or the addition of synthetic tissues, to increase or decrease the size of various elements of the nose. The visual affects may be subtle or dramatic, depending on your needs and desires. The exact techniques used for your procedure depends on the current shape and size of your nose and the desired results; no two rhinoplasty procedures are exactly the same.
Some rhinoplasty techniques include:
- Open Method: Involves removing the nose of the skin which allows the plastic surgeon to have full access to the underlying cartilage and tissue of the nose.
- Closed Method. Less invasive type of rhinoplasty that in involves making an incision on the inside the nose and working entirely beneath the skin of the nose with limited visual access.
- Non-Surgical: The term “non surgical” typically implies the use of an injectable or filler such as Botox to correct small imperfections.
- Nasal Implants: Involves the use of silicone implants to help alter the shape and size of nose.
While rhinoplasty is performed in the same manner regardless of the patient’s ethnic background, the aesthetic goals of the patient may differ. Today, more and more people are seeking rhinoplasty that is tailored to their specific facial features. It is particularly popular among those of Asian and African descent. Many of these patients feel that the bridge of their nose is too flat, or that their nostrils are too wide. Some of these patients seek to ‘Westernize’ their facial features through surgery, while others simply want a more defined nose to bring balance to their face.
Revision or Secondary Rhinoplasty Surgery
There is always a risk that the results of your initial rhinoplasty procedure will not look exactly as expected. In this situation, your surgeon may recommend revision or secondary rhinoplasty. This term refers to a rhinoplasty procedure performed on any patient who has previously undergone one or more nose procedures. The intention is to improve upon or modify the results of a previous operation. It can be a way of fixing a “botched” rhinoplasty or one that simply produced less than satisfactory aesthetic results.
Some common reasons why you might consider secondary rhinoplasty include, too much tissue was removed from the nostrils, the bridge of your nose was not narrowed enough, or the tip was upturned more than you wanted it to. Secondary rhinoplasty procedures are also recommended for those who have encountered complications such as difficulty breathing through the nose as a result of their first surgery.
It is recommended that patients wait at least two years after the initial surgery to consider revision rhinoplasty. Although it may only take a couple of months for the nose to appear healed, it could actually take several years for the nasal tissue to settle into a more permanent position. Once the nose has settled, meet with a plastic surgeon to determine whether or not another procedure would be an appropriate option for you.
What Are The Potential Risks?
As with most surgical procedures, there are risks associated with rhinoplasty procedures. A few of these include:
- Nose Asymmetry
- Nasal blockages
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Damage to your septum
- Temporary or permanent numbness
Rhinoplasty Recovery Time: What to Expect
The recovery process following rhinoplasty can differ between patients. Factors such as the extent of the procedure and how carefully the patient follows the surgeons post operative instructions will pay a role in how quickly one recovers.
Following surgery, as the general anesthesia wears off you will feel tired, groggy, or nauseous. Many patients feel some degree of pain, discomfort, or tenderness, which can be managed with pain medications. You may also be prescribed antibiotics; take these exactly as directed by your doctor.
Your nose will also be stuffy, causing you to breathe only from your mouth for the first few days. You may or may not have nasal packing, which is surgical gauze and other materials placed inside the nose to help reduce bruising or swelling. This can create some uncomfortable pressure as you recover from surgery.
The sutures used to close the incisions may be dissolvable, or they may need to be removed about a week following your rhinoplasty procedure.
Common side effects experienced during your rhinoplasty recovery time include bruising and swelling. The bruises may extend to the eye area, giving you the appearance of “black eyes.” Don’t be too frightened when you look at yourself in the mirror during the first few days. It usually takes about ten days for the bruising to disappear completely, although patients who are smokers may experience an extended recovery period of bruising for up to 3 weeks following surgery. Other side effects can include numbness, peeling skin, or bleeding.
Most patients return home the same day as their surgery, but you will need someone to drive you. Once you return home, plan to take several days to recuperate before trying to resume your daily activities.
Tips to Reduce Swelling
Many patients find that swelling is the side effect that lasts the longest. In fact, some residual swelling may persist for up to six months, obscuring the full results of your procedure. Although some degree of swelling to be expected during the rhinoplasty recovery period, there are a few steps you can take to minimize swelling:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially in the first few days after surgery.
- Eat a proper diet and watch your sodium intake.
- Get plenty of rest. Avoid returning to daily activities too quickly.
- Use ice or cold compresses, if your doctor recommends doing so.
- Avoid medications that may interfere with fluid balance, and make sure your doctor knows about any medications you are taking.
- Avoid bumping or disturbing your nose as it heals.
- Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated by at least two pillows. This helps to reduce swelling and bruising and also keeps you from disturbing the nose area in your sleep.
In addition to the tips above, during these first few weeks it is also important for patients to avoid wearing cosmetics on the face. Those who wear contacts can resume their use immediately, while those who wear glasses will need to avoid resting them on the nose for at least six weeks.
Splints or Tape for Your Nose
The splint or tape placed over the nose by the surgeon holds the new nose structure in place to help it heal in the correct position. The slight pressure exerted by the splint or tape also helps to relieve swelling and may result in a shorter rhinoplasty recovery period. Your doctor may instruct you to replace the tape as needed, or this may be done at a follow-up visit. The tape itself may cause some irritation or redness, but patients are advised not to remove the tape or splints too early.
Returning to Your Daily Routine
The initial recovery period lasts about two to three weeks, with most patients returning to work after about one week. For at least one to two months, avoid strenuous exercise or activities that may cause a blow to the nose. During the recovery period, be careful not to accidentally hit your nose. Doing so can cause pain, prolong the rhinoplasty recovery time, or even move your nose out of alignment. The nose is somewhat weaker than normal until it is fully healed.
What Does Rhinoplasty Cost?
Rhinoplasty is a popular among people who are unhappy with the appearance of their nose. The procedure can increase or decrease the size of the nose, change the shape of the tip, bridge or nostrils and even change the angle between your nose and upper lip. The cost of rhinoplasty will depend on several factors such as the extent of your procedure, choice of surgeon and where you are located. The following article will help clarify some of the most common fees involved with rhinoplasty procedures.
There are three fees that are associated with most rhinoplasty procedures. These include:
- Anesthesia fee
- Your surgeon’s fee
- Facility / hospital fee
On average, the surgeon’s fee for rhinoplasty is around $3,800. This amount does not include the facility or anesthesia fees, or additional expenses that may be required for patients undergoing rhinoplasty surgery. The anesthesia costs are usually between $600 and $1,000, and the facility fee between $700 and $1,100. The total cost of rhinoplasty usually averages between $4,000 and $9,000.
There are other pricing factors to consider as well such as the extent of your procedure, where you live, and the plastic surgeon you choose. For example, slight surgical reshaping of the nose requires less surgical time (and therefore has a lower price tag) than a complete change in shape. In general, a longer or more complicated procedure will be more expensive. This is especially true if your situation requires an overnight stay, although most rhinoplasty procedures are performed as outpatient procedures. Revision rhinoplasty (performed on patients who have had a nose surgery in the past) tends to be more complicated, and therefore costlier, than an initial procedure.
Your geographic location will impact the price of your surgery. The cost of rhinoplasty varies from city to city, and between large metropolitan areas and less populated regions. Even within the same area, two different facilities may charge different amounts for their services.
Finally, your surgeon’s skill and training can affect the cost. A highly qualified surgeon with many years of experience is able to command a higher fee than less experienced surgeons. This additional expense is well worth it, as they can ensure that the most appropriate techniques are used to achieve your desired results. Never choose a surgeon based on cost alone, or you may be disappointed with the results of your surgery.
Covered by Insurance?
As with most cosmetic surgery, the cost of rhinoplasty is not usually covered by insurance. However, if performed to correct structural defects, damage due to an accident, or birth defect, it may be covered. Consult your insurance policy if you think that your procedure may qualify for insurance coverage.
If you are undergoing rhinoplasty surgery for cosmetic reasons, you will need to come up with the payment yourself. However, don’t let the cost prevent you from achieving the nose of your dreams. Today, most plastic surgeons offer financing options such as flexible monthly payment plans. If cost is an issue, be sure to discuss this concern with your surgeon during the consultation. If your surgeon does not offer financing themselves, they should be able to direct you to available financing options. The results of rhinoplasty can be well worth the money, especially if the procedure is something that you have wanted for years.