Rhinoplasty is the technical term for what most people call a nose job. This procedure is used for correcting or reconstructing the nose. The purpose may be cosmetic or it may be for restoring function for a nose or nasal passaged damaged by trauma or congenital defect. This procedure is the most commonly performed plastic surgery of the face in the US.
Interestingly, of all the plastic surgeries available today, Rhinoplasty is arguably the oldest. It was first developed in 800 BC by the ayurvedic physician, Sushruta, who described the reconstruction of the nose in his medico-surgical compendium, Sushruta samhita (500 BC). In his time, the amputation of noses, genitalia, earlobes and more were a common punishment or religious rite. He and his team actually developed the beginnings of what is plastic surgery today, including the reconstruction of genitalia and earlobes. After more than 2000 years of refinement and the application of modern medicine and surgical technology, Rhinoplasty has a very high rate of success and is arguably one of the safest major plastic surgeries a person can have performed.
A person considering Rhinoplasty needs to be in their mid-teens, at least, in order to ensure that the nasal bone has matured and the shape of the nose has stabilized. Generally speaking, it is recommended that girls be 14 years old and boys 15 years old. Trouble breathing due to congenital issues or previous injury is usually an indication for Rhinoplasty. Anyone who is reasonably healthy and is unhappy with the appearance of their nose, yet maintains a healthy expectation of what can be done for them via plastic surgery, can be a good candidate for a nose job.
Despite how exciting getting a new nose can be, it is vital that you follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully and remember that it can take up to a full year for all of the changes to be fully evident.
During the first 24 hours post-operation, may be unable to breathe through your nose due to swelling or nasal packing. There may be pain or discomfort, typically controlled via pain medication. Most people cease needing pain medication after 48 hours. Anti-nausea medication is prescribed for those people who find themselves nauseous after surgery. Limited bleeding the first few days is normal and your surgeon may have you apply a cold compress to your nose to minimize or reduce swelling. It’s important to elevate your head for the first 24hrs as well. It probably goes without saying that avoiding trauma to the nose during the first week after surgery is paramount. You also absolutely cannot blowy our nose after Rhinoplasty surgery though this may feel like torture as feeling stuffy is common. Decongestants may help with this problem.
On or around day 7 post-surgery, the cast or splint will be removed. Your nose will still be swollen but usually after about 2 weeks, the swelling will have decreased enough for you to begin to appreciate the new shape of your nose. At this time, any nasal packing, splints and other dressings should be removed. You may be given a splint for the outer part of your nose, to protect it as well as help it hold its new shape as it heals. Some surgeons will also place a softer splint inside the nose to prevent scarring.
For most people, by week 4 or 5, 85% of the swelling will have gone down. It may take as long as a year for the last of the swelling to finally go away which is why, if you are unhappy with your results for any reason, it’s recommended to wait a year for revision surgery.
No surgery is without risk. Risks for Rhinoplasty are as follows:
Most of these risks are extremely minimal and can be avoided by hiring a qualified plastic surgeon, following their instructions and being in relatively good health to start with.