Rhinoplasty, also known as a “nose job,” is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. It’s also an incredibly challenging procedure with a high demand for revision surgeries, i.e., a high percentage of patients undergoing rhinoplasty seek revision due to unwanted cosmetic/ function results. As such, patients seeking rhinoplasties must consult highly-trained, reliable, and experienced specialist plastic surgeons with a proven track record. 

This article provides an overview of rhinoplasty, including its goals, preparation guidelines, and the post-treatment recovery process. 

What are the reasons to undergo rhinoplasty? 

Rhinoplasty is a procedure that changes the appearance of the nasal structures to improve the appearance and function of the nose and face.  This may be done for functional, reconstructive, or cosmetic purposes. 

The following are the potential reasons to undergo rhinoplasty: 

  • Reconstructive: Rhinoplasty repairs the nose after accidents, falls, and other forms of trauma. 
  • Functional: Rhinoplasty may provide functional improvements, such as improving your speech or breathing capabilities. 
  • Cosmetic: Rhinoplasty improves your facial appearance by changing the shape, size, symmetry, or overall appearance of your nose. This may include changing the size or angle, straightening the bridge, reshaping the nose tip, or narrowing the nostrils. 

How can I prepare for rhinoplasty? 

You should consult your specialist plastic surgeon about your candidacy for rhinoplasty several months before you expect to undergo surgery. That’s because rhinoplasty is a complex surgery, and you’ll need to undergo several preparatory steps in advance. 

Your surgeon will take your medical history, carefully exam your nose and face and may ask you to undergo several medical tests. This is necessary to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for the procedure. Based on the results, the surgeon will provide a list of preparation guidelines. 

The following is an overview of the preparatory steps: 

  • Undergo a medical test to evaluate your overall health, if you have any health issues. 
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption a few weeks before the procedure. 
  • Stop taking anti-inflammatory medications and herbal supplements a few weeks before the procedure. 
  • The surgeon may adjust some of your medications and prescribe medications to improve your body’s healing capacities. 

What happens during the rhinoplasty? 

Rhinoplasty is performed as an inpatient hospital procedure, either as day surgery or overnight. The surgeon curates a treatment plan according to your specific goals and needs outlined during your consultation. 

The following are some of the steps involved in a rhinoplasty: 

  • Anaesthesia: A specialist anaesthetist will provide general anesthesia, so you will be fully asleep during the procedure
  • Incision: Depending on your specific goals, rhinoplasty can be performed as an “open” surgery or “closed” surgery. In an open procedure, the incision is made across the narrow strip of skin separating the nostrils (columella), and the skin is raised to expose the internal structures. In a closed procedure, the incision is made inside the nose with no external scar. 
  • Reshaping: The internal structures of the nose are modified and adjusted according to your goals. For example, if you want to reduce the nose size, the surgeon may chisel away some bone and remove some cartilage. 
  • Grafting: In some cases, the surgeon will need to use cartilage grafts from the nasal septum or, occasionally, the ear to provide the desired results. Rarely, other graft may be required, such as using rib cartilage, more often required for revision rhinoplasties where the nose cartilage has previously been removed.. 
  • Straightening: If you have a deviated septum, the surgeon will straighten the septum to improve your breathing. 
  • Conclusion: Once all the adjustments are made, the surgeon closes the incision with sutures and nasal splints are placed. The recovery process can now begin. 

What’s the recovery process like after a rhinoplasty? 

After the surgery, the plastic surgeon will place a plastic or metal splint on your nose. This is done to ensure your nose retains the desired shape while healing. They may also pack splints inside your nose to stabilize the septum. 

You need to keep your head upright and elevated for a few days to reduce bleeding and swelling. Your nose may feel congested because of the packing, which will be removed within a week, as will any external stitches that need to be removed. Internal stitches are absorbable stitches, so you won’t need to have these removed.

Most patients can return to work after a week, but only if your work doesn’t involve physical exertion. You must avoid swimming, running, strenuous workouts, laughing, smiling, vigorous brushing, and blowing your nose for at least 4 to 6 weeks. 

You’ll recover mostly after a few weeks, but it will take months for your nose to settle completely. 

You should consult a specialist plastic surgeon with experience in rhinoplasty surgery to ensure optimal results. Inexperienced or unqualified surgeons may increase the risk of cosmetic or functional problems, necessitating a revision surgery that’s often more complex than the primary procedure. 

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