Rhinoplasty is a procedure that changes the size and shape of the nose, either by increasing or decreasing the bridge, changing the angle, narrowing the nostrils or reshaping the tip. Although many seek a rhinoplasty simply to change the shape of their nose, others may choose nose surgery after a facial injury or to help relieve nasal obstructions.
Rhinoplasties are performed on an out-patient basis and usually take an hour or two depending on the extent of the correction. The procedure is commonly performed under a general anesthetic, depending on the patient and surgeon preferences.
There are different surgical techniques. Sometimes a “closed” technique will be used, where the incisions are made inside the rim of the nostrils. Most commonly an “open” technique will be used, where an incision is made across the base of the nostrils.
In either case, the soft tissues of the nose are then separated from the underlying structures allowing access to the cartilage and bone. The cartilage and bone are then altered and sculpted into shape. At the same time, internal problems, such as breathing obstructions can be improved by removing the obstruction or changing the shape of the obstructing matter. Also, if the nostrils are too wide, we can remove a small wedge of skin from the base for a more proportional look.
A lightweight splint will be placed on the nose for several days after to help maintain its new shape and for protection. After surgery, you’re likely to have swelling and bruising around your nose and eyes. This will peak and begin to subside after the second or third day. Using cold compresses and keeping your head elevated will help reduce this swelling, and it should almost be unnoticeable after two weeks or so. A little bleeding is also common during the first few days. Any bruising will fade after about a week and discoloration will usually disappear in two or three weeks. Camouflage cosmetics can be used to cover the discoloration after the first day or two. It is common to experience some nasal stuffiness, particularly if you’ve had surgery on the septum. It may be a week or two before you will be allowed to gently blow your nose.
You’ll need to be careful not to hit or jar your nose, or allow it to sunburn for at least eight weeks while your nose continues to heal. You will need to avoid any strenuous activity that raises your blood pressure for two to three weeks. Your surgeon will determine when you can resume this type of activity given your particular case. You will also need to avoid wearing glasses for a few weeks until your nose is completely healed.