Rhinoplasty is a common plastic surgery procedure used to change the appearance of one’s nose. This procedure can be performed for both cosmetic and medical reasons, and is an out-patient operation usually lasting between 1-2 hours.
Many patients have questions about what actually happens during the rhinoplasty procedure. Here is a brief explanation of the surgery and the techniques used.
There are two approaches to rhinoplasty:
- Closed Rhinoplasty: This method requires incisions made inside the nostril, and eliminates potential for visible scars. This technique also allows for a shorter recovery time.
- Open Rhinoplasty: In this method, incisions re made across the columella, the space between nostrils in the nose above the upper lip. This technique may require a slightly longer recovery period, but is only used when a closed rhinoplasty has been ruled out as an option. This technique may leave an initial scar, but this typically fades away within a year.
In both techniques, the skin is delicately separated from the cartilage of the nose. Next, a surgeon reshapes the nose bone. Depending on desired results the bone is either shaved, smoothed, or in some cases, widened with cartilage from the septum.
If the patient has a deviated septum — a condition that impacts a person’s breathing — the surgeon will straighten out the nasal passageway during this time.
Rhinoplasty complications are highly rare, and even when they do occur they are very minor. Recovery is relatively short, with most patients feeling normal within two days and back to work within in a week. It is important to follow the directions your surgeon provides, such as what medications to take, and how to properly care for the incisions.
Although initial swelling will fade within a few weeks, the full results are not usually visible for up to a year. Swelling may come and go, and is typically most apparent in the morning. This is a perfectly normal part of the healing process and isn’t a cause for worry.