Of all the surgical procedures performed by plastic surgeons, a rhinoplasty (or nose surgery) is probably the most complex. A rhinoplasty can be performed with all the surgical incisions on the inside or with some on the skin it can be performed with or without using cartilage or bone grafts it can be performed for breathing difficulties and can also be performed completely non-surgically using injections of skin fillers to fill out some of the nose skin to hide minor imperfections in the nose. Here we look at certain aspects of nose surgery such as assessment of nose, how nose surgery is performed and what it is you need to know so that you can make a considered judgement about having the operation.
Assessment of the nose
Before you have a rhinoplasty (nose surgery), your plastic surgeon will assess your nose. You will need to discuss what you would like to achieve and what you do not like about your nose. It is quite important to be very clear about this, because there is so much cosmetic surgeons can do when performing nose surgery, and being very specific is helpful to the surgeon. Your cosmetic surgeon will ask you about your general health and whether you have any previous relevant issues with your nose (operations, injuries, breathing difficulties, and so on). The examination involves looking and feeling the nose internally and externally along with a breathing assessment. Your cosmetic surgeon will also have a look at the skin of the nose and will assess the size and shape of the rest of your face. Most people are looking for a nose that is in harmony with the face. If, for example, the chin is too small, this may give the nose an apparently prominent appearance in the face. So, sometimes your cosmetic surgeon may talk about other additional procedures.
How cosmetic surgeons perform a rhinoplasty (nose surgery)
To do a rhinoplasty, cosmetic surgeons need to get access to the cartilages and bones that form the structural framework of the nose. Together, the cartilages and bones form the skeletal support of the nose, and a rhinoplasty changes these structures. Your skin then redrapes across the new skeletal framework. A "closed rhinoplasty" is one in which the incisions are made on the inside of the nostril, and an "open rhinoplasty" is one in which a small incision is made in the skin under the tip of the nose which separates the two nostrils. Some plastic surgeons do more open rhinoplasties as they feel they can predict the final outcome more readily, but other surgeons do more closed rhinoplasties as the final result is achieved with less swelling and a shorter recovery period in a procedure that already has a notoriously long recovery period before the final results are seen. Whichever method is used, the cosmetic surgeon will reshape the bones and cartilages and expect the skin to redrape over the new shape without too much swelling. If the skin is too thin, then any minor imperfections will come through into the skin, and if the skin is too thick, then the skin will not drape well across the new shape of the new skeletal framework. You will usually have a plaster on your nose for about a week, and have a couple of packs inserted to prevent nose bleeds for a day or so.
Expected and unexpected results of nose surgery
Although the final results are not seen for at least a year after a rhinoplasty (nose surgery), there are some things we expect during the recovery and some things we hope not to see. Most of the time cosmetic surgeons cannot give someone the ideal nose they have pictured in their mind as their perfect nose. They often aim for improvement rather than perfection. Some of the after effects include things like infections, abnormal bleeding and swelling, over and under-correction, cartilages and bones moving after they have been set in a particular position, asymmetry, healing problems and breathing difficulties. Sometimes, also, the nose needs a further operation to tweak the final results. Finally, your nose actually continues to grow throughout your life so it will change shape as the years go by.
With all the complexities and intricacies involved in a rhinoplasty (nose surgery), it is considered one of the most challenging plastic surgery procedures to do well. Most cosmetic surgeons will be happy with a patient who makes a considered judgement about whether to go ahead with surgery. So, if you're thinking of having a rhinoplasty, then do please have a few consultations with a few cosmetic surgeons. If a surgeon charges for the consultation then it is a small amount in comparison to the cost of surgery, so don't let that put you off making an informed decision on whether nose surgery is for you.