Your Rhinoplasty Questions Answered

What is a rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty surgery, commonly called a “nose job” is performed to change the appearance of the nose and can also be done to improve breathing or other nasal complications. For some, a nose job is purely for cosmetic purposes and for others it can be sought to improve nasal issues, correct birth defects or repair injuries. Rhinoplasty can target cartilage in the lower portion of the nose and bone in the upper area, and it can also change the skin on the nose. Each surgery is unique and customized to meet the goals of the patient while taking into consideration the shape of the face and often ethnicity.

What is an ethnic rhinoplasty?

Patients of non-Caucasian descent may request an ethnic rhinoplasty, which is nasal surgery that changes the nose while preserving cultural features. As with all rhinoplasties, no two surgeries are the same, including those of the same ethnic groups. However, we’ve found that aesthetic preferences are often shared by patients of the same ethnicity, and we take that into consideration when we perform an African American rhinoplasty, a Hispanic rhinoplasty, Middle East rhinoplasty or Asian rhinoplasty.

What parts of the nose can you change during a rhinoplasty?

  • Redefining a dorsal hump – creating a straight nasal bridge or a curved nasal bridge.
  • Narrowing the nasal bridge – the nasal bridge is narrowed to improve improved nasal-facial balance.
  • Raising the nose ridge – gives height to a “flat” nose.
  • Narrowing the nostrils – for large or faired nostrils we decrease the base of the nose.
  • Resolving nasal breathing issues – enhance breathing by correcting a deviated septum and other nasal issues.
  • Enhancing the nasal tip – used to improve nasal tip projection.

How old do you have to be to have a rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty surgery is the most requested surgery for teenagers, and we see all ages for consultations. However, at PURE we accept patients who are 16 years of age and older because that’s when the nose is fully formed. There are exceptions to the rule, including repairing an injury or breathing issues and we will work with your primary care doctor to determine eligibility.  If the procedure is done on patients when they are too young, it could negatively impact the development of the nose and cause further complications.

Another reason we prefer patients 16 years of age or older is their maturity to be patient with recovery, which can take up to one year.  For young, active patients it may be difficult to avoid the activities that can cause severe issues for one-month post-op.

These are some of the activities to avoid 30 days after rhinoplasty surgery:

  • Blowing your nose
  • Sun exposure
  • Putting clothes on over your head
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Weightlifting
  • Aggressive toothbrushing
  • Smiling and laughing
  • Wearing glasses on the nose

While there is a lower age requirement, there is no age limit for a rhinoplasty after the age of 16 years old. Recovery may be more difficult for patients over 50 years of age, and this is something to consider when determining if rhinoplasty surgery is right for you.

What are risks associated with rhinoplasty surgery?

All surgery has risk factors. With a rhinoplasty, patients may experience infection, bleeding and a reaction to anesthesia. Other risks that are less common are scarring, numbness in the nasal area, a septal perforation (hole in the septum) and difficulty breathing.

How long is recovery after a rhinoplasty?

Rest with the head raised higher than the chest is the best way to recover after a rhinoplasty. The goal is to reduce swelling and bruising while allowing the nose to heal properly. It is common for the internal nasal dressing to remain in the nose and for a splint to the taped to the nose for one (1) week.

It is normal for patients to have a little bleeding and mucus draining from the nose for a few days after the procedure. The surgeon may place a piece of gauze loosely under the nose to catch the dripping. It is best to wear sunscreen every day after a rhinoplasty to reduce the risk of discoloration to the nose.

What is the difference between a rhinoplasty and a septoplasty?

A rhinoplasty is a cosmetic surgery performed to change the shape of the nose, but it can also be performed to correct nasal issues that cause breathing difficulties. Septoplasty straightens a crooked septum to improve breathing through the nose. Often the two procedures are combined to improve the way the nose looks and the way it functions.

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