Rhinoplasty: What To Expect

As one of the top five cosmetic procedures in 2011, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a rhinoplasty, or a "nose job," is a great way to bring balance to your face. That's why we spoke with experts in this field of surgery to help you learn more about it.

Choosing the right doctor is perhaps one of the most important decisions you make when considering any type of surgical changes to your body. If you're looking to make changes to your nose, you want to choose a board-certified surgeon that specializes in the face and nose area. You also want a surgeon that is trained in both aspects of nasal surgery-aesthetics and function. Afterall, you want to be able to breath through your new nose, right?

“People most commonly seek a natural and subtle change when investigating rhinoplasty,” says Palo Alto, CA, facial plastic surgeon Jill Hessler, MD. “I find most of my patients just want a little refinement and aren't looking for drastic change. That being said, the nose being a central feature of the face can have a significant impact on the overall harmony and balance of the face. Many patients come to me looking to refine and soften the tip of the nose or make it more 'feminine' looking. Others want to remove a bump from the nose, while others need to repair weakening or breathing problems from previous surgeries.”

For significant changes to the tip of the nose, or to correct “bulbous” noses, surgeons typically use external rhinoplasty. That means a small cut is made on the columella, the tissue that connects the lip with the tip of the nose. From there, the surgeon uses cartilage struts to straighten the nose cartilage and refine the shape by removing or repositioning the cartilage.

To correct a high-bridged nose, the nasal bone is typically fractured or precisely broken when taking down the bridge. This is done so the nose doesn't end up looking wider after removal.

While it may take up to a year to see the full result of the surgery, most patients are usually able to return to work after a week for minor surgery, and up to two weeks for more extensive surgeries. “The recovery milestones are six to nine days before you can be comfortably in public, and two to three weeks before you can return to full physical activity. If you participate in contact activities, the recovery time may be longer,” says Weston, MA, facial plastic surgeon James Alex, MD. Be aware that you'll also need to wear a splint over the nose for the first week after the surgery.

And now, the big question that you've probably been wondering, will a rhinoplasty affect your sense of smell? Dr. Hessler says it won't in the long term, but occasionally some patients have swelling that can impair it temporarily. But the swelling should subside after about a week or two.

Related Links:
How Do Your Nostrils Shape Up?
Achieving a More Youthful Nose

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