Nose Job Basics
A nose job (technically called a rhinoplasty) is surgery on the nose to change its shape or improve its function. Rhinoplasty, commonly referred to as a “nose job,” is surgery to change the shape of your nose by modifying the bone or cartilage. Rhinoplasty is one of the most common types of plastic surgery.It can be done for medical reasons — such as to correct breathing problems related to the nose or correct disfigurement resulting from trauma or birth defects.
It can also be done for cosmetic reasons, which will change the nose’s shape and appearance.
People get rhinoplasty to repair their nose after an injury, to correct breathing problems or a birth defect, or because they’re unhappy with the appearance of their nose.
Possible changes that your surgeon can make to your nose through rhinoplasty include:
a change in size
a change in angle
straightening of the bridge
reshaping of the tip
narrowing of the nostrils
If your rhinoplasty is being done to improve your appearance rather than your health, you should wait until your nasal bone is fully grown. For girls, this is about age 15. Boys might still be growing until they’re a bit older. However, if you’re getting surgery because of a breathing impairment, rhinoplasty can be performed at a younger age.
Deciding on a Nose Job
If you are thinking about getting a nose job, set up an appointment with your surgeon to discuss it. During that meeting, talk about your goals and tell the doctor what bothers you about your nose and how you would like to change it.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect nose. Surgery, though, can enhance facial features and emphasize your unique and natural beauty. A plastic surgeon can describe the facial features that make you unique and tell you how changes would enhance your appearance.
The surgeon will also consider your overall health and should discuss with you the risks, recovery time, and costs involved.
There are various techniques for reshaping the nose. Once you decide to go ahead, your surgeon should describe exactly what he or she proposes to do.
If you have health insurance, make sure you talk to your insurer in advance so you know what’s covered and what you will need to pay for. Health insurance typically does not pay for procedures that are done only for cosmetic reasons.
A nose job is usually done as an outpatient procedure, meaning there is no overnight stay. You’ll get general or local anesthesia. With general anesthesia, you’ll sleep through the operation. With local anesthesia, you will be sedated and your nose will be numbed so you are relaxed and unable to feel the pain.
During an operation, the surgeon makes cuts within the nostrils. In more difficult cases, the surgeon may also make cuts across the base of the nose. The surgeon then reshapes the inner bone and cartilage to produce a more pleasing appearance.
Nose Job Recovery
After a nose job, people usually wear a nasal splint for the first week. You can expect swelling and some bruising around the eyes after surgery that will begin to improve after the third day. It can, though, last up to two weeks.
Expect your nose to have a little swelling, which probably only you and your surgeon will notice. This will go away over the next six months. The final shape of your nose will be apparent after it has completely healed.
You should avoid strenuous activity for three to six weeks after surgery. You may return to your social activities as soon as within two to three weeks without any recognizable signs that you had a procedure done.
As with any major surgery, rhinoplasty carries risks such as:
- Difficulty breathing through your nose
- Permanent numbness in and around your nose
- The possibility of an uneven-looking nose
- Pain, discoloration or swelling that may persist
- An adverse reaction to Anaesthesia
- A hole in the septum (septal perforation)
- A need for additional surge
Frequently Asked Questions
How is rhinoplasty different from septoplasty?
Rhinoplasty is a surgery to change the shape of the nose. Because both breathing and the nose’s shape are interrelated, a rhinoplasty may sometimes be performed not only to change the way the nose looks but also to improve breathing through the nose.
Septoplasty is a surgery to improve breathing by straightening the wall inside the nose that divides the nasal passages into a right and a left side (nasal septum). When the septum is crooked, it can make it harder to breathe through the nose. A septoplasty is often combined with a rhinoplasty.
Is rhinoplasty a simple operation?
No. Rhinoplasty is a challenging operation. This is due to several factors. First, the nose is a complicated 3D shape that is in the middle of the face. Changes made during rhinoplasty are often very small. But these changes can make a major difference in the way the nose looks and functions. Because these changes are small, so is the margin for error.
Swelling and the placement of local anesthetic in the skin distort the nose during surgery, hiding many of the subtle changes made. Rhinoplasty also doesn’t have a standard plan or set order of steps. Doctors tailor each operation to the needs of the patient.
Will I need to stay in the hospital?
Nearly everyone who has rhinoplasty is able to safely leave the hospital the same day after surgery. In rare cases, you may stay in the hospital for one night if you’re having a hard time with nausea or have other health problems that need to be monitored.
How long is the recovery period?
Plan to take a week off from work, school or other obligations. You will feel progressively better each day during the first week. One week after surgery, people usually feel like they are themselves again.
After surgery, there will be some swelling. The swelling can take many months to resolve, although most people stop noticing it after a couple of months. People are usually back to performing most activities after a week and resuming all activities after two to four weeks.
Are there risks?
All surgeries have risks. Fortunately, rhinoplasty risks are small and complications are rare. Your doctor will talk to you about the surgery’s risks and benefits in detail before the operation.
Does insurance pay for a rhinoplasty?
Sometimes insurance pays for a rhinoplasty, but it depends on the insurance policy. Before scheduling surgery, your doctor’s office will help you get prior written authorization from your insurance company. Although this isn’t a guarantee of coverage, it’s the only way to confirm that rhinoplasty is a covered benefit. Sometimes insurance will pay for a part of a nasal surgery, but not other parts. In these cases, you can contact the business office to get a quote for the operation.
How much does rhinoplasty cost?
The cost of a rhinoplasty depends on several factors, including the complexity of the surgery, the surgeon’s training and experience, and geography.
Can I see what my nose might look like after surgery?
Yes. Before your consultation, your doctor will take standardized photographs of multiple views of your face. These photos can be manipulated to give you an idea of what your nose might look like after surgery.
Is rhinoplasty painful?
Not for most people. One day after surgery, most people rate their pain between 0 and 4 out of 10.
Will you pack my nose?
No. Packing can be very uncomfortable. But you’ll likely have some soft splints in your nose. These splints have a hole in them to make it possible to breathe through them, at least for a few days. Doctors easily remove these splints at the one-week visit.
How long will I be bruised?
Bruising is uncommon. If you do have some minor bruising, it usually lasts a week or so.
What should I look for in a surgeon?
Plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons or otolaryngologists (ENT) perform most rhinoplasties. Training and board certification in one of these specialties is a good starting point. You’ll likely want a surgeon who often performs rhinoplasty.
You’ll likely want a surgeon with a good reputation among patients and other doctors. If your surgeon has published many papers in medical literature related to rhinoplasty and is invited to speak at educational conferences, that is usually one sign that their peers recognize expertise in rhinoplasty.
Make sure that your surgery will be performed in an accredited surgical facility or hospital. You likely should also feel comfortable with your surgeon. Look for a surgeon who can explain to you in understandable terms what is going to happen during your surgery.
Source: MayoClinic, Healthline & Webmd