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Nose surgery or rhinoplasty has a long history and has improved in style and technique over time. The “look” of rhinoplasty has also changed with the times. In the sixties, people often wanted a “ski slope” nose with a scooped out look and a very thin tip. Today, people seek out surgeons that can create a nose that looks natural and does not stand out. In fact, an ideal nose should blend with the face and “bring out” the eyes. In addition to more functional purposes, a rhinoplasty can also be done for functional purposes.

Is Rhinoplasty Surgery for You?

The ideal candidate for rhinoplasty is any person who is not content with their nose and would like to have it improved. Of course, the person should be in a state of good health and able to go through the surgery. There is no ideal age for rhinoplasty, as patients from ages sixteen and older can undergo the surgery. Any functional problems should be discussed at this time. For example, whether there is any nasal obstruction, allergic nasal symptoms, or sinusitis. Theses may require further workup. It might be possible to address these issues at the same time as the cosmetic rhinoplasty is performed. It is important for the surgeon to fully understands what the patient expects out of his/her rhinoplasty surgery, and just as important for the patient to fully understand the limitations of the operation.

Understanding the Surgery

The rhinoplasty operation can be performed with either local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia. The decision should be determined together with the surgeon, the patient, and the anesthesiologist. Occasionally, grafts may be required to achieve the desired result. Grafts are structural elements, typically made from cartilage. For example, they can be used to define a tip or to fill in depressions. They can easily be acquired from the cartilage in the septum. If work needs to be done on the nasal bones, for example, to narrow the width of the nose, an osteotomy of cut in the bone is performed. If the width of the nose is excessive, sometimes a small amount of the tissue is removed from the base of the nose in order to narrow the dimension at this point. Although this can result in small scars, they are usually very well concealed.

What to Expect After Surgery

The head should be kept elevated using two pillows. This helps to reduce swelling. Ice compresses should be applied to the eyes for the first forty-eight hours. This is done to help reduce swelling and bruising around the eyes, which typically resolves in five to seven days. Some surgeons may place a small gauze in the nose, which may be removed on the first or second day after the surgery. There is typically some swelling inside the nose, which may not allow the patient to breathe through the nose for several days; however, it is typically resolved in five to seven days. A small cast is applied to the bridge of the nose that will be removed on the sixth or seventh post-operative day. About seventy percent of the swelling resolves in the first three weeks. The remainder of the swelling can take up to four to six months to completely resolve. Swelling at the tip of the nose is particularly resistant and can last for a long time. Most surgeons advise the patient that the final result of the procedure cannot be truly appreciated for six months to a year, the amount of time for all the swelling to resolve.

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The New You

While the final results of the surgery may not be completely evident until several months after the surgery, most patients look better than before surgery right when the cast comes off. Patients that undergo rhinoplasty are, by and large, extremely happy. A personal consultation with your plastic surgeon is the best way to gain information about your particular complaint, and about potential treatment options to address the same.


Frequently Asked Questions about Rhinoplasty

Can I wear glasses after rhinoplasty?

It’s best to avoid wearing glasses when recovering from rhinoplasty. However, you can wear very light glasses that do not cause pressure on your nasal septum if necessary.

What is an open rhinoplasty?

An open, or external, rhinoplasty uses a small incision on the soft tissue that separates the nostrils. This allows for increased access to the underlying bone and cartilage.

What is a closed rhinoplasty?

A closed rhinoplasty is performed using small incisions made inside the nose. This procedure is usually chosen for those who seek nasal bridge alteration.

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