In a nutshell, patients engage in Rhinoplasty with the aim of changing the shape of their nose. In some cases it can be for cosmetic reasons – for example patients are not happy with the appearance of their nose as it is. In other cases, the motivating factor can be because the patient has issues with their breathing and as such, requires Rhinoplasty surgery to alleviate the problem.
Essentially, in order to proceed with Rhinoplasty, the surgeon will need to modify the skin, bone or cartilage (or a combination of two or three) within your nose. To clarify, the cartilage and bone can be found in the lower and upper portion of your nose respectively.
When you first get in touch with your surgeon, they will make a range of considerations prior to ascertaining whether you are a suitable candidate for surgery. Depending on what you are looking to achieve, the surgeon will analyse the skin on your nose, as well as other facial features.
A rhinoplasty is a highly customized procedure, depending on your personal motivations
About the procedure
The Rhinoplasty procedure depends on the type of results that the patient is looking to achieve, meaning that there is no hard and fast rule as to what steps the surgeon is likely to take. Essentially, each procedure is unique, as it is tailored to the specific needs and goals of the individual undergoing the surgery. For example, whilst some procedures will require a small incision at the base of your nose, others might be done inside the nose.
Nevertheless, it is highly likely that you will have the cartilage and bone underneath your skin readjusted. Moreover, you might also need to have your cartilage or nasal bone augmented. This will depend on the structure of your nose, as well as how much needs adding. The Rhinoplasty procedure will also be determined by the breadth of your requirements.
For more extensive operations, cartilage can be taken from your bone, rib or even implants. On the contrary, smaller requirements might enable the surgeon to take cartilage from the inside of your nose or ear.
Prior to starting the procedure, the surgeon will need to proceed with the anaesthesia process. There are number of different types of anaesthesia, however, for rhinoplasty general anaesthesia will be used primarily. In most cases this will be administered through a small tube inserted in a vein, or by inhaling it. Due to the effects of the anaesthesia, after the surgery you might feel somewhat groggy.
As a result, it is highly advisable to pre-arrange transportation prior to surgery, as you will not be in a conducive condition to drive.
Once the anaesthesia has been applied, the surgeon will then proceed with placement of the incisions. If your Rhinoplasty surgery is a closed procedure, then the incisions will be hidden within your nose. Alternatively, if it is an open procedure, then it will likely be made across the columella.
This is where the nostrils are separated by a small strip of tissue. Upon making the incisions, it will allow the surgeon to restructure the shape of the nose. The skin covering the cartilage and nasal bones will also likely be raised.
Nose structure reshaping
Nose structure reshaping
Once again, this part of the Rhinoplasty procedure will differ depending on the patient’s expectations and goals. For example, if the patient is looking to reduce the size of their nose, then this might be achieved by removing cartilage or bone. However, other goals might require cartilage to be added.
If this is the case, then the surgeon will more than likely take the cartilage from the middle of the nose (known as the septum). In rarer instances, the cartilage can also be removed from the ear or rib.
Furthermore, if deviation of the septum is required, then breathing can be improved by straightening the inside of the nose.
At this point of the Rhinoplasty procedure, the restructuring of your nose should be in its desired shape – as per the goals and expectations discussed. As a result, the surgeon will now proceed to close the incisions. In some cases, further incisions might be made to alter the size of the nostrils, which will be placed in the natural creases.
Recovery & Aftercare
Once surgery is complete and you have arranged transportation to take you home, you will need to begin the recovery process. First and foremost, you might experience congestion within your nose due to packaging inside both nose pathways and also with some swelling of the tissue inside your nose. As a result, to reduce the risks of swelling and bleeding, it is best to rest in bed. Try to raise your head higher than your chest to reduce strain. It is encouraged to sleep in a propped up position to reduce swelling, ideally 3 / 4 pillows to be used during sleep.
Although it can depend on the patient’s individual circumstances, you will have your internal dressings in place for between 1-7 days. You will have your internal dressing as explained above which will be removed 24hrs after. Most of time you will also have an aluminium splint around your nose from the outside. This will be removed a week after. Moreover, in order to give your nose additional support and protection, a splint will be attached for approximately 1 week. For the first few days that follow surgery, you might suffer from a drainage of mucus or slight bleeding.
If this is the case, a drip pad may be attached by the surgeon. There are some additional steps that you can take to prevent the risks of swelling and bleeding, which we have listed below.
- Do not attempt to perform any demanding exercise activities such as running or weight lifting for at least 2 weeks.
- If your nose is in receipt of a bandage, if possible take a bath rather than a shower.
- Circumvent blowing your nose
- Extended periods of extreme facial expressions (for example laughing) should also be avoided.
- In terms of diet, it would be a good idea to eat sufficient quantities of fruit and vegetables, as these contain good amounts of fibre. This will ensure that you avoid constipation, which would ultimately lead to strain.
- When it comes to brushing your teeth, gentle movements will ensure that your upper lip does not experience rapid movements
- Don’t wear clothing that needs to be put over your head (for example a jumper).
Common Concerns (Risks)
Although Rhinoplasty surgery is an extremely common procedure, there will also be some potential risks to consider. The surgeon will of course go through these risks with you during your consultation. These risks include:
- Possible infection of the affected area
- Delays in healing of the wound
- Slight numbness or pain of the skin
- Discoloration or swelling of the skin
- Issues pertaining to breathing
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the costs associated with Rhinoplasty surgery?
There are a range of factors that will determine how much Rhinoplasty surgery costs. In a nutshell, costings are based your goals, expectations and the complexity of the required surgery.
How long does it take to recover from Rhinoplasty?
Although there is no hard and fast rule as to how long it will take you to fully recover from Rhinoplasty, it is best to reserve a week from your usual commitments (for example employment). Each day of resting will make you feel somewhat better, with most people claiming to be fully operational after a week. However, it might take some months before the swelling around the nose is fully reduced.
Is Septoplasty the same as Rhinoplasty?
No. Whilst Rhinoplasty is typically concerned with changing the shape of the nose, it might also be performed to improve nasal breathing. On the contrary, Septoplasty is purely utilized with the aim of improving breathing. It is most commonly achieved by straightening the wall in the nose.
Will I need to remain in surgery overnight?
When a full Rhinoplasty or Septoplasty is performed, clients are asked to stay overnight just for observation. In the morning of the following day, you will be able to go home.
Is Rhinoplasty painful?
In terms of the operation itself, you should not feel any pain due to the anaesthesia that is administered. However, during your immediate recovery, there will be a period of discomfort which will be well controlled with minimal painkiller tablets. This is mostly due to swelling and bruising around the affected area. In most cases, you should experience a full recover after about a week.
How long does Rhinoplasty surgery take?
The amount of time it takes to complete Rhinoplasty surgery will depend on a number of factors- notably the complexity of the operation. If small changes are required, then this generally takes between 1-2 hours. However, if more extensive changes are needed, then this can take up to 3 hours.
*The final price for your surgery will be given to you during your Plastic Surgeon consultation, and before you confirm the surgery, to ensure the maximum transparency.