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The Different Types of Rhinoplasty: Which One Is Right for You?

The Different Types of Rhinoplasty: Which One Is Right for You? featured image
Getty Images / Image Used for Illustrative Purposes Only

Are you curious about the secrets behind the modern-day nose job? Rhinoplasty, the surgical procedure to reshape the nose, has evolved over the years to combine both art and science. With a range of approaches and techniques available, it’s now possible to get the nose of your dreams while fixing form and function concerns. Here, top facial plastic surgeons share the important factors that go into the most successful nose transformations.

Featured Experts

  • Dr. David Lieberman is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in Palo Alto, CA
  • Dr.  Sam P. Most is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in Stanford, CA
  • Dr. Kimberly J. Lee is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in Beverly Hills, CA

Various Approaches

Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon David Lieberman, MD explains that rhinoplasty involves restructuring the nasal cartilages, bones, and soft tissue. “Rhinoplasty is basically a restructuring or re-contouring of the nasal cartilages, nasal bones and sometimes the nasal soft tissue. While this is frequently done to address aesthetic concerns, the function of the nose must be accounted for in any nasal surgery,” he says. “Often patients want to achieve an improvement in their nasal airway and take that surgery as an opportunity to improve the external shape or contour of the nose.” 

Two main approaches are widely used: the open (or external) approach, involving a well-hidden incision between the nostrils, and the closed (or endonasal) approach, with incisions made within the nose. Both techniques can yield excellent outcomes, so it’s crucial to choose a surgeon based on their experience, track record, and level of care. “Over the last several years, the popularity of preservation rhinoplasty has risen,” he adds. 

Open vs. Closed Approach

What It Is: The two main approaches to rhinoplasty are the open (external) approach and the closed (endonasal) approach.

Open Approach Technique: Involves a small incision between the nostrils, providing greater visibility and access for significant reshaping.

Closed Approach Technique: All incisions are made inside the nostrils, resulting in no visible scarring and typically a shorter recovery time.

Cost: According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of rhinoplasty in the United States is $6,324. This does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities, or other related expenses. Consult with your surgeon’s office for a complete fee estimate. Both approaches typically range from $6,000 to $15,000 depending on the surgeon and specifics of the surgery.

Who It’s Best For: “The open approach is often used for more complex cases requiring extensive reshaping, while the closed approach is suitable for less extensive modifications,” notes Beverly Hills, CA facial plastic surgeon Kimberly J. Lee, MD.

Preservation Rhinoplasty

What It Is: Preservation rhinoplasty focuses on strengthening or preserving the nose while reshaping it.

The Technique: Stanford, CA facial plastic surgeon Sam P. Most, MD explains, “In recent rhinoplasty, the only tool the surgeon uses is to remove structure from the nose to make it smaller. We know this can cause collapse over time. Structure and preservation rhinoplasty seek to strengthen or preserve the nose while reshaping it. In fact, I perform a hybrid of these, which I call ‘structural preservation rhinoplasty.’”

Cost: Typically ranges from $6,000 to $15,000 depending on the complexity and location.

Who It’s Best For:  Patients looking to maintain the structural integrity of their nose while achieving aesthetic improvements.

Tip Rhinoplasty

What It Is: Tip rhinoplasty, or a “tip lift,” focuses on refining the nasal tip.

The Technique: This procedure involves reshaping the cartilage at the tip of the nose to achieve the desired look.

Cost: Generally, costs between $6,000 and $10,000.

Who It’s Best For: Individuals who are satisfied with the overall shape of their nose but want to refine the tip.

Revision Rhinoplasty

What It Is: A revision rhinoplasty addresses complications from previous surgeries.

The Technique:  Dr. Lee says, “A revision rhinoplasty involves correcting or improving the results of a prior rhinoplasty. This often requires more intricate work due to scar tissue and altered anatomy.”

Cost: Can range from $7,000 to $20,000, reflecting the complexity of the procedure.

Who It’s Best For: Patients who are dissatisfied with the results of a previous rhinoplasty and seek further improvement.

Creating Facial Harmony

Reshaping a nose involves a delicate balance of skills. “It requires structural engineering to ensure harmony with existing features like the chin, cheeks, and eyes. There’s also an artistic aspect, making micro adjustments to enhance the overall facial features. Additionally, understanding the patient’s desires and achieving realistic expectations is essential,” says Dr. Lieberman.

Risks and Considerations

Like any surgical procedure, rhinoplasty carries potential risks and complications. These may include pain, infection, bleeding, reoperation, scarring, nasal obstruction, and poor aesthetic outcomes. Minimizing these risks is achieved through careful surgeon selection, open communication, and realistic expectations.

“The biggest risk is dissatisfaction cosmetically with the final result,” says Dr. Most. “The most important things to prevent this are selecting an experienced surgeon, spending time with them to understand what they can do for you and having realistic expectations. Remember, even in the greatest hands, sometimes things don’t heal properly.”

Managing Expectations

Managing patients’ expectations is a crucial aspect of the rhinoplasty journey. Dr. Lee emphasizes the importance of clear communication between the patient and surgeon. It’s essential for patients to convey their desires and expectations for their nose while also being open to the surgeon’s professional opinion and expertise. Understanding the limitations and possibilities of rhinoplasty is vital to achieving a satisfying outcome.

Whether it’s addressing aesthetic concerns, improving breathing function, or correcting previous complications, rhinoplasty can be a life-changing procedure. By choosing a qualified surgeon, setting realistic expectations, and actively participating in the process, patients can embark on their rhinoplasty journey in capable hands.

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