A rhinoplasty is surgery to change the shape and/or size of the nose. It can be done to correct an injury to the nose or a birth defect but it’s very often done for cosmetic reasons. That’s because many people don’t like the look of their nose. The nose might be too big for them, have a bump, have a shape that they don’t like or have a bulbous tip. Rhinoplasty or “nose job” surgery is one of the few cosmetic procedures our plastic surgeon, Mark Pinsky, MD, can perform that can completely change the look of a person’s face.
About the Rhinoplasty Procedure
Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure, which means that the patient can go home soon after the operation has been done. However, some people may need to stay in the hospital overnight. Depending on how extensive the operation is, the anesthesia used can be general or local with sedation. General anesthesia puts the patient to sleep, while local anesthesia and sedation allows them to be awake but numbs the area of the nose that’s being worked on.
A rhinoplasty can be a fairly complex procedure as the nose is a surprisingly complex structure. Resculpting a nose can take as much artistry as it can skill. Dr. Pinsky can operate from within the nose, which will hide any scarring or he or she can make an incision through the flesh that separates the nostrils. This can reduce the look of the scarring. Bone and cartilage are then resculpted and removed till the shape and size of the nose the patient wants has been acquired. The doctor may need to add grafts to the nose for it to be able to achieve the right shape and size. These grafts can come from the patient’s own body, so there’s no chance of rejection.
After the operation, the nose is sutured, packed and bandaged.
Candidates For a Nose Surgery
Candidates for a rhinoplasty are people whose noses have stopped growing. This means they should be at least 13 years old. They are generally in good health, have reasonable expectations for what the operation can achieve and don’t smoke. The doctor will take a medical history of the patient before it’s decided whether he or she is a good candidate for the operation. Some medical conditions like hemophilia and other blood disorders may rule out a person as a good candidate for rhinoplasty.
Preparing for a Rhinoplasty
Before the surgery, the patient will be told to give up smoking and to stay away from anticoagulant medications and supplements. These can keep the blood from clotting properly. It’s necessary for the blood to be able to clot during the healing process after the surgery. The patient will also discuss with the doctor what he or she should do the night before the surgery, what sort of anesthesia the patient will be given and what sort of post operative care he or she will need. The patient and doctor will also decide on where the surgery will take place. It could take place in a hospital or an outpatient clinic.
The doctor will also have photographs taken of the patient to compare the nose before the surgery and after the surgery. If the photographs can be manipulated digitally, they can also help both doctor and patient see what kind of results can be obtained through the surgery.
The patient should also have someone drive him or her home after the rhinoplasty and arrange for someone to stay with him or her for the first 24 hours or so after the operation.
Recovering from Nose Surgery
The patient should expect to feel some discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. The patient will also feel as if his or her nose is congested. However, Dr. Pinsky will prescribe pain medications to ease the patient’s discomfort. Another way to ease the discomfort and help in the healing after the surgery is for the patient to sleep with his or her head elevated for a while. There might be a drainage of blood and other fluid.
The packing that is applied after the rhinoplasty will then be removed after a few days, though the patient will notice that the bruising and swelling around his or her nose may last from two to three weeks. This might make it difficult for the patient to see any good results from the surgery. Though it might be tempting to do so, ice packs shouldn’t be placed on the nose to reduce the swelling.
During his or her recovery, the patients should not engage in any strenuous activity. He or she shouldn’t blow his or her nose and opt for baths instead of showers to keep the dressings on the surgical site dry. Sometimes it takes as much as a year for the nose to settle into its final shape. Despite all of this, most people who have rhinoplasty are very happy with the final results.