What is rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, often referred to as a "nose job," is surgical reshaping of the nose to improve facial harmony. This is primarily a cosmetic procedure to alter the appearance of the nose, such as to change the size or angle, or make the nose more symmetrical, or to fix the nose after an injury. It can also be performed to improve breathing, such as from a deviated septum (the inside middle part of the nose).

What to expect from rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty requires anesthesia, which may be local (numbing the area) or general (you’re asleep for the procedure). The procedure may be "closed," in which the incisions (cuts) are done inside the nose, or "open" in which the incisions are done across the strip of tissue at the bottom of the nose, separating the nostrils. A large nose may require removal of bone and cartilage to minimize the appearance of the nose. A deviated septum requires straightening to improve breathing.

After the surgery, your surgeon will use splints to hold the nose in place while it heals. You can expect the area around the eyes and nose to be puffy, bruised and swollen for several days to several weeks. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help relieve pain while you’re healing.

Risks of rhinoplasty

There are some risks of rhinoplasty, such as:

  • Scarring
  • Loss of sensation (numbness)
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Skin discoloration
  • Infection

In some cases, the new nose may not look the way you expected. Before this or any cosmetic procedure, your doctor will ask you why you want to have the surgery and what you expect to achieve as a result. Going through this process will help ensure you are a good candidate for rhinoplasty and that you’ll be satisfied with your results.

In most cases, rhinoplasty can help improve the look of the nose and overall facial features and improve self-confidence and self-image.


Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Many people think of plastic surgery as purely cosmetic, but there’s a lot more to this surgical specialty. Plastic surgeons often do reconstructive procedures that can rebuild body parts after an injury or illness.