Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) is the third most requested cosmetic surgical procedure according to a 2017 statistics report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. A rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure to reshape the nose. During surgery, the bone and cartilage are reshaped, but not the skin of the nose. When the underlying structures are changed, the skin conforms to the new shape of the nose.

Patients may choose to have a rhinoplasty done for either aesthetic or functional purposes.

The goal for cosmetic rhinoplasty (aesthetic) is to create facial balance and patients may choose to correct the

  • Nose size in relation to facial balance
  • Nose width at the bridge or in the size and position of the nostrils
  • Nose profile with visible humps or depressions on the bridge
  • Nasal tip that is enlarged or bulbous, drooping, upturned or hooked
  • Nostrils that are large, wide or upturned
  • Nasal asymmetry

The goal for functional rhinoplasty is to correct impaired breathing that may have been caused by a structural defect in the nose, such as a deviated septum. Rhinoplasty to correct a deviated septum requires careful evaluation of the nasal structure as it relates to airflow and breathing. The surgery adjusts the nasal structure to produce a better alignment that restores function, eliminating the obstructed airway and improving airflow and breathing.

Are there Limitations to Rhinoplasty?

While rhinoplasty can produce amazing improvement in the overall appearance of a person, there are limitations as to what can be achieved with the surgery. Sometimes there are technical limitations such as the overall size, shape, and skin of the nose, that may limit what can be achieved in surgery. For example, it wouldn’t be advisable to thin the nose so dramatically as it would sacrifice breathing.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Rhinoplasty?

You may be a good candidate for rhinoplasty if

  • Your facial growth is complete
  • You are physically and mentally healthy
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic goals in mind for the improvement of your appearance

Are there Any Age Limits for Surgery?

Rhinoplasty is not recommended for females until puberty is complete and the nasal anatomy is not expected to change or grow appreciably, usually around the age of 15 for females or the age of 16 for males. This, however, is a guideline and doesn’t dismiss the need for minor rhinoplasties or the correction of certain functional problems at an earlier age.

Careful assessment of the younger patient is stressed to determine maturity and motivation. Any decision to undergo such surgery should come from the patient and not from social or parental pressure.

What are the Benefits of Rhinoplasty Surgery?

The benefits of rhinoplasty surgery vary per patient. For some, the benefit of rhinoplasty surgery is purely functional where an airway obstruction has been eliminated and has improved the patient’s breathing. For others, the benefit may be purely cosmetic where the result offers the patient a new social identity after surgery.

What is the Cost for Rhinoplasty Surgery?

Rhinoplasty costs vary but often include

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Medical tests
  • Prescription for medication
  • Surgeon’s fee

A surgeon’s fee is often based on experience, the type of procedure used, and the geographic office location.

Is Rhinoplasty Covered by Health Insurance?

Functional rhinoplasty may be covered by health insurance, as the procedure is being performed to improve breathing function due to an obstructed airway. This procedure, whether performed alone or in conjunction with cosmetic rhinoplasty, is considered reconstructive and may be covered by insurance.

This requires a detailed examination to verify the cause of your breathing impairment and prior authorization from your insurer.

What Can You Expect from a Consultation for Rhinoplasty?

During your rhinoplasty consultation, you will be asked specific questions about your general health status and if you have any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, such as

  • Do you have any medical conditions or drug allergies?
  • Have you had any previous medical treatments?
  • What current medications do you take, including vitamins and herbal supplements?
  • Do you currently or have you ever smoked?
  • Do you drink alcohol? If so, how much per day or per week?
  • Have you or do you currently use drugs?
  • What previous surgeries have you had, if any?

It is very important that your surgeon has a clear understanding of your past medical and social history, so please be honest with your answers.

If you are interested in having aesthetic rhinoplasty surgery, your surgeon may ask you what you dislike about your nose, the correction you desire, and your motivation for having the surgery.

Additionally, your rhinoplasty surgeon will discuss with you

  • Your surgical goals with regard to both appearance and breathing.
  • Explain the options available to you for nose reshaping.
  • Examine and measure your face, including aesthetic analysis of the nose.
  • Take photographs for preoperative analysis and planning of the procedure.
  • Discuss your specific nose surgery options.
  • Recommend a course of treatment.
  • Discuss likely outcomes of nose surgery and any risk or potential complications.
  • Perform computer imaging of proposed changes to the appearance of your nose

The aesthetic analysis of the nose is very important. The goals of analysis are to define external nasal deformities, predict the underlying anatomic variations, and determine the appropriate surgical intervention. A thorough analysis includes observation, inspection, and palpation so that all details are considered.

This review of your medical and social history, along with a preoperative analysis will help the surgeon determine if the deformity can be corrected, should be corrected, and if the correction has the potential to cause any nasal obstruction.

If your surgeon determines, after careful analysis, that you are a candidate for rhinoplasty surgery, this is the time to have any of your own questions answered as well. From there, your surgeon will work with you to formulate a surgical plan that will clearly delineate what you may or may not expect from surgery.

Will There be Any Medical Tests Required?

An endoscopy may be performed with a small endoscope to examine your nose. If your surgeon finds any clinical evidence of sinus disease, computed tomography (CT scan) may be ordered to rule out sinus pathology.

Is There a Need for a Second Consultation Before Surgery?

If there are any questions following the initial consultation, or there is a prolonged period before surgery is scheduled, it is preferable to have a second pre-operative consultation before surgery to confirm or modify the initial surgical goal.

What are the Risks and Complications of Rhinoplasty Surgery?

The risks of rhinoplasty surgery may include

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing and scarring
  • Change in skin sensation (numbness or pain)
  • Visible irregularities
  • Asymmetries, asymmetric nostrils
  • Nasal septal perforation
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Skin discoloration and swelling
  • Results of surgery differing from the simulated outcome
  • The eventual necessity of a revision rhinoplasty surgery

Before surgery, you will be asked to sign an Informed Consent, to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks or potential complications as identified above.

What are the Steps of a Rhinoplasty Procedure?

Rhinoplasty surgery includes the following steps:

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. In most cases, general anesthesia is preferable and may actually be safer. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

Rhinoplasty is performed either using a closed procedure, where incisions are hidden inside the nose or an open procedure, where an incision is made across the columella, the narrow strip of tissue that separates the nostrils. Fortunately, this is a very favorable area for wound healing with scar formation minimal to non-existent in our practice.

Through these incisions, the skin and soft tissue that covers the nasal bones and cartilages is gently raised, allowing access to reshape the structure of the nose.

Step 3 – Reshaping the nose structure

An overly large nose may be reduced by removing bone or cartilage. Often, surgery of the nose may require the addition of cartilage grafts.

Most commonly, cartilage from the septum, the partition in the middle of the nose, is used for this purpose. Cartilage from the ear and/or a section of rib cartilage can be used in some cases as well.

Step 4 – Correcting a deviated septum

If the septum is deviated, it can be straightened and the projections inside the nose reduced to improve breathing.

Step 5 – Closing the incision

Once the underlying structure of the nose is sculpted to the desired shape, nasal skin and tissue are redraped and incisions are closed.

Additional incisions may be placed in the natural creases of the nostrils to alter their size.

Step 6 – See the results

For a few days, internal and external splints may support the nose as it begins to heal. Dr. Pero does not routinely use packing inside the nose, allowing for nasal breathing during the recovery period.

How Long Does it Take to Heal from Rhinoplasty Surgery?

While initial swelling subsides within a few weeks, it may take up to a year for your new nasal contour to refine fully. During this time you may notice gradual changes in the appearance of your nose as it refines to a more permanent outcome.

What Can Patients Expect After Surgery?

During surgery, thin splints may be placed inside your nose and a splint or bandages placed on the outside to support and protect the new structures during initial healing.

You may also experience minor bleeding, swelling and bruising on the nose and under the eyes, along with an achy feeling and light headache for the first few days. This is normal. These symptoms will gradually disappear over the first week.

You may take Tylenol and over-the-counter pain medications to relieve any pain and discomfort.

Swelling may come and go and worsen in the morning initially with continued improvement during the first year following your rhinoplasty surgery.

You will be given specific instructions that may include:

  • How to care for the surgical site
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
  • When to follow up with your facial plastic surgeon.

How Long Do Results Last?

Rhinoplasty results are permanent, as long as you follow all aftercare instructions and avoid an injury that could alter the appearance of your nose.

Rhinoplasty FAQs

Incisions are usually placed within the nasal passages so that they are not visible after surgery. If an external incision is needed, the incision is made as inconspicuously as possible. During your consultation, your surgeon will explain in detail where sutures will be placed.

You may resume light exercise within 3 weeks after surgery, and more strenuous exercise over the next 3 weeks. You should avoid any activities that could cause nasal trauma for up to 6 weeks.

Typically, patients can return to work within a week after surgery.

Stitches are normally removed within 1 week after surgery.

General anesthesia is used for rhinoplasty surgery.

The length of time for rhinoplasty surgery is different for every patient due to the extent of each individual surgery. Your surgeon will discuss this more in-depth with you during your consultation.

Rhinoplasty may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, a licensed ambulatory surgical center or a hospital.

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If you are interested in discussing rhinoplasty surgery with Dr. Pero, please call (214) 382-5100 to set up a consultation.