Rhinoplasty (Nose Reshaping)
The human nose holds a prominent place on our faces. After the eyes, most people say they next notice a person’s nose. But it’s not necessarily the opinion of others that matters. If a person doesn’t like his or her nose, it’s right there looking back at us every morning in the bathroom mirror.
Maybe we don’t like the overall size or that bump on the bridge. Maybe we feel it’s disproportionate with the rest of our facial features. Maybe it was broken long ago and never correctly set. Dr. Fishers uses nose surgery to give patients a nose they like seeing in the mirror.
What Is Rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty, or “nose job”, is surgery performed to reshape the nose. The term comes from the Greek words rhinos (nose) and plassein (to shape). It’s one of the oldest cosmetic procedures, with the first modern rhinoplasty in the U.S. dating back to1887.
The cosmetic surgery involves an incision or incisions to provide access to the underlying bone and cartilage. Dr. Fisher can change the shape of the nose in a variety of ways including narrowing the nose, removing a “hump” from the nose, narrowing the tip of the nose, raising the tip of the nose, and generally altering the shape and size of the nose. Depending on the changes desired, Dr. Fisher may remove some bone and cartilage, say to flatten a bump on the bridge; or she may add tissue, either from the patient’s body or synthetic material, to build up the nose. Once the underlying structural changes are made, the skin and tissue is re-draped over the new structure.
Reasons for Nose Surgery
Most of our patients opt to have nose surgery for three basic reasons: cosmetic changes, repairing a prior injury, or to address functional issues.
Cosmetic — Nose surgery can be very satisfying for people who had has issues with the look of their nose. The typical cosmetic reasons for surgery are:
- The nose has a prominent bump on the bridge.
- The tip is bulbous.
- The nose droops downward.
- The nostrils are overly flared and open.
- The nose doesn’t seem proportional with the rest of the face.
- The nose is simply too big or too small.
- The nose is too flat or wide.
Injury — Whether you bumped into a wall in a darkened room, or fell while rollerblading in college, you may not have had your nose reset by a doctor. Now it is crooked and its function may be compromised.
Breathing problems — Many people have congenital defects with the inner workings of their nose. The passages may be too narrow, or somehow partially blocked.
During your consultation with Dr. Fisher, you will discuss the method for your nose surgery, either “open” or “closed.” Often the method is dictated by the degree of changes you seek to make.
In open rhinoplasty, the incision is made on the columella, the thin band of tissue that runs between your nostrils. The soft tissue is then lifted up and back from the underlying bone and cartilage. Because the soft tissue is totally out of the way, the open method allows for more dramatic changes to the underlying structure of the nose.
In closed rhinoplasty, all incisions are made within the nose. Access is more limited, but there is no visible scar, either. If you seek to build up your nose, Dr. Fisher can use cartilage taken from the septum, the ears, or a rib. Or she can use synthetic implants. If you want to make your nose smaller, the bones are usually fractured.
There are many rhinoplasty techniques to achieving specific results, and as for any cosmetic procedure, no single technique works for all patients. The techniques are personalized for each individual case.
What Is the Ideal Age for Rhinoplasty?
Having a nose you don’t like isn’t easy for anyone, but teenage girls can be particularly affected. Still, potential patients need to wait for their nose to finish growing before having rhinoplasty. In girls, the nose is usually finished by the age of 15 or 16. In boys, the age is 17 or 18. There isn’t a top age limit, although patients must remember than recovery is more difficult at an advanced age.
Rhinoplasty Before and After
Nose Surgery Recovery
After your surgery, you will return home with a splint on your nose and your nostrils filled with packing. You will have swelling on the surrounding tissues, in addition to the nose, and it’s likely that both eyes will blacken. This is due to the amount of tissue trauma involved in nose surgery. You’ll need to sleep upright for the first week. A cold compress will help with swelling, but your face will feel puffy and swollen for 10-14 days. This swelling can return at times, particularly late in the day and at night, for a few months. Any exercise or activity that can bump your nose needs to be totally avoided. Strenuous exercise that increases blood pressure to the face is off limits for up to six weeks.
When Will I See the Results of My Rhinoplasty?
Due to the recurring swelling, patients need to have patience after their rhinoplasty. It can take up to six full months for a patient to fully realize their new nose. This varies from patient to patient. Regardless of the final timeline, rhinoplasty is one of the most satisfying cosmetic surgeries, as most patients feel that their new noses change the overall appearance of the face for the rest of their lives.
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