Aesthetic and Functional Surgery of the Nose (Rhinoplasty)
Unhappy with the shape or size of the nose you’ve inherited? Or perhaps your breathing has even been affected by structural deformities in your nose. In either case, you may wish to consider rhinoplasty—nose surgery, or a “rhinoplasty.”
Your nose is critical for both form and function, establishing facial character and, of course, facilitating breathing. If your nose seems out of balance with the rest of your features, you may feel that the face you’re presenting to the world just isn’t the “real” you. Rhinoplasty can enhance facial balance by changing the size of your nose, altering its profile, smoothing out a bump, or even adjusting the nostrils.
Are You a Candidate for Rhinoplasty?
If you’re seriously bothered by the way your nose looks, or if problems within the nasal passages have affected your breathing, you are a likely candidate for rhinoplasty. If a prior nose surgery has resulted in new problems, revision rhinoplasty may be appropriate. Dr. Swensen will help you determine the best approach for your situation and what outcome you can realistically expect.
Because the nose needs to be fully developed for rhinoplasty to be successful, candidates for the procedure generally should be at least in their late teens.
What to Expect from Rhinoplasty
The surgeon restructures the nose or corrects internal deformities by manipulating tissue, cartilage, and bone. To gain access, incisions are made either inside the nose or just below the tissue wall separating the nostrils. When nostril size is being altered, incisions are made in the nostril creases. Nose surgery is done under general anesthesia and usually takes one to two hours; it is normally performed on an outpatient basis.
Following surgery, the nose’s new shape is supported by internal splints and dressings for about a week, along with an external splint. Facial swelling and bruising are to be expected. Ice packs are recommended for the eyes for the day following surgery, and you’ll want to elevate your head for sleeping during the first couple of weeks.
Most patients are able to return to work in a week, avoiding strenuous activity for a couple more weeks. Eye makeup often can be worn within a few days of surgery, though you may wish to postpone appearance-sensitive plans for a couple of weeks. While your new profile will be apparent as soon as the initial swelling subsides, your nose may still be subtly settling into place for some time.
Insurance plans don’t usually cover cosmetic nose surgery, but they may cover rhinoplasty that is done to correct breathing problems—check with your carrier.