Rhinoplasty, more commonly referred to as a “nose job” is a procedure that is used to alter the size and shape of the nose in order to improve a person’s overall appearance or to correct structural issues that cause difficulty breathing. The surgery can be used to adjust a number of aspects of the nose, including its width, profile, tip, symmetry, nostrils, and overall size.
Why Have a Rhinoplasty Procedure?
Rhinoplasties can serve a number of purposes, including both medical and cosmetic. There are three primary reasons that patients choose to pursue a rhinoplasty surgery, the first of which is to correct structural defects, the most common being the deviated septum. A deviated septum occurs when the cartilage inside of the nose is not centered correctly. Not only can this problem cause difficulties with breathing, but it can also lead to more frequent sinus infections and sinusitis.
Rhinoplasty procedures can also be used to repair the nose following an injury or other accident. Car accidents, sporting injuries, and the like can result in broken or dislocated noses that require surgery. Fortunately for those who’ve sustained an injury to their nose, rhinoplasties that are performed within the first week or two after injury typically have excellent results. Within this period, the bones are far more malleable and easy to return to their correct position.
The third reason to pursue a rhinoplasty, of course, is to correct cosmetic issues. Since the nose is one of the first-noticed aspects of your face, it’s only natural to want to feel confident in the first impression you make. Patients who feel as though their nose is too small or big or who are displeased with the shape of their nose often turn to rhinoplasty as a means of correction.
Before choosing to undergo a rhinoplasty or any procedure for that matter, you’ll want to speak to Dr. Walton and the surgical staff more in detail about the benefits and the potential risks of the surgery. As with any procedure, rhinoplasties are not without their possible risks and side effects, and being aware of any complications that may arise will help you to make a more informed decision about whether or not the surgery is right for you.
As far as the procedure itself is concerned, rhinoplasty has a number of crucial steps. If you’re considering a nose job for any reason, familiarizing yourself with the procedure will help ease your mind on the day of the surgery.
The following is the basic breakdown of the procedure:
Step 1: Anesthesia
You’ll likely be presented with a couple of different anesthesia options, which typically consist of either general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Dr. Walton will discuss these options with you and help you to make the right decision for you.
Step 2: Incision
There are two basic types of rhinoplasty procedure, and they are named based on the location of the incision. “Closed” procedures are those in which the incisions are made within the nose so they are invisible from the exterior. On the flip side, an “open” procedure consists of an incision that is made across the tissue that separates your nostrils, also known as the columella. Once the incision is made, the skin covering the cartilage and bones is raised, which provides the surgeon with direct visual access to the areas that require reshaping.
Step 3: Reshaping
This part of the procedure will largely depend upon the types of results you wish to see. For example, if the goal of the surgery is to reduce the size of the nose, the surgeon will remove cartilage and/or bone. In some cases, it may be necessary for the surgeon to use grafts of cartilage during the surgery. In most cases, this cartilage will be taken from the septum, but may also be taken from the ear or rib as well in rare cases.
Step 4: Straightening a Deviated Septum
If the surgery is being performed for the purpose of correcting a deviated septum, the surgeon will reduce the projections within the nose or straighten the septum in order to facilitate easier breathing.
Step 5: Suturing
After the nose has been properly reshaped, the incision will be closed using sutures.
Step 6: Determining Success
After the surgery is over, Dr. Walton may place a silicone splint inside the nose in order to support the new structure during the early healing process.
Dr. Walton will also provide you with the information you need to properly care for yourself and for the site of the surgery in the days, weeks, and months following the procedure. Among the list of things you might discuss are:
- caring for the site of surgery
- medications you need to take to prevent infection or inflammation
- potential risks and complications of which you should be aware
- when the bandages and stitching will be removed
- when you can resume your normal activities
It’s important to note that the initial swelling of the nose after surgery may obscure the results at first and it can often take a year for all of the changes to become apparent and for the contour of the nose to finalize.
Are You a Candidate?
At your consultation, Dr. Walton will help you to determine whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure. In general, you’ll be considered a good candidate for the surgery if:
- your facial structure is fully formed
- you are healthy
- you are a non-smoker
- you have a healthy outlook toward the procedure
How long will the procedure last?
The length of the procedure is dependent upon the extent of the reshaping needed. The most basic rhinoplasty procedure will typically be done within a period of two to three hours. However, more complex procedures, such as those needed to correct certain structural issues, may take up to four hours to complete.
What can I expect after the procedure?
After the procedure, you’ll likely experience some soreness and swelling of the nose, but severe pain is unusual. This swelling can last for quite some time, and many patients even report that they experience swelling when they first wake up in the morning for up to a year after the procedure.
During the recovery process, you’ll also likely be required to wear a splint on your nose for up to a week after surgery. Special skin tapes may be used to retain the desired shape and structure of the nose until the swelling abates and healing is well-underway.
Are there risks?
All procedures come with their risks, and it’s crucial to be aware of this before making a decision. When it comes to rhinoplasty, some of the side effects and complications that might be discussed include:
- complications with anesthesia
- perforation of the septum
- challenges with breathing
- changes in sensation
- shape irregularities that require further surgery
If you have any questions at all about any of these potential side effects or other possible issues, don’t hesitate to ask.
How soon can I return to work?
In most cases, you may return to work within a week or two following your rhinoplasty procedure. For the first six to eight weeks following surgery, you should avoid contact sports or other physical activities that could potentially result in inadvertent bumping or injury to the nose.
For an appointment, please call Grace at our Chicago plastic surgery office at 312-337-7795 or fill out the contact form in this page. We look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your image transformation here in Chicago.