Rhinoplasty FAQs

Are you unhappy with the size or shape of your nose, or do have difficulty breathing through your nose? For the right individual, rhinoplasty (nose surgery) can greatly improve appearance and function.

What is rhinoplasty?

Rhino (Latin for ‘nose’) and plasty (Greek for ‘moulding’ or ‘forming’) is a surgical procedure that reshapes the nose for cosmetic and/or functional purposes. It is often referred to as a ‘nose job’.

What can rhinoplasty achieve?

Rhinoplasty can reduce or increase the size of the nose, change the shape of the tip or bridge, narrow the span of the nostrils or change the angle between the nose and upper lip. It may also correct an injury and help relieve some breathing problems.

What are the benefits of rhinoplasty?

Benefits of this procedure can range from improved breathing to enhanced appearance and self-confidence. Rhinoplasty can offer subtle or dramatic changes to a person’s appearance. Often even a small change in the shape and position of the nose can create a significant difference to overall facial aesthetics.

Who are the best candidates?

Physically healthy men and women who have realistic expectations and are interested in improving the appearance and/or function of the nose are potential candidates for rhinoplasty. The surgery is often postponed on younger patients until the nose has completed its growth.

Are there any age restrictions for undergoing rhinoplasty?

Generally, rhinoplasty should be avoided before the face and nose have completed most of their growth. For most people, this means that they should put off surgery until the late teens. Patients who need a rhinoplasty for health reasons, on the other hand, should have the surgery whenever their doctor determines it is necessary, regardless of age.

How is the surgery performed?

Different surgeons use different techniques. Generally, after anaesthesia is administered incisions are made inside the nasal cavity and often at the base of the nose. The skin of the nose is then separated from its framework of cartilage and bone. The surgeon will sculpt the cartilage and bone into the desired shape and replace the skin. The incisions are sutured closed and a splint or cast is applied to help the nose maintain its shape and expedite healing. The procedure normally takes around one to two hours.

Will I be put under general anaesthesia?

Generally, rhinoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia. However, depending on the preference of the surgeon and/or the patient, it can also be performed under local anaesthesia.

What are open and closed rhinoplasty?

Open rhinoplasty and closed rhinoplasty are generally the two types of rhinoplasty procedures available. Closed rhinoplasty involves incisions on the inside of the nose.Although this results in no visible scarring, the procedure offers less visibility of the inside of the nose and is typically not possible for more complex cases.

With open rhinoplasty, a small incision is made on the columella (the strip between the nostrils). This results in a fine, well-concealed scar that usually fades over time. The surgeon will help the patient decide which is most suitable.

What is nasal packing?

Nasal packing, in which gauze or cotton packs are applied to the nasal chambers, is used to support the new structure and prevent bleeding. The packing is typically removed within 24 to 48 hours after surgery.

While the packing can help prevent some complications, it can also increase the patient’s level of discomfort, therefore it is usually avoided in most cases. Ultimately, it is up to the surgeon to decide whether nasal packing is necessary.

Is rhinoplasty surgery painful?

Most patients experience some mild to moderate discomfort after rhinoplasty for a few days. Any pain can generally be controlled through medication prescribed by the surgeon.

Will I have black eyes after surgery?

Bruising is to be expected about 72 hours after rhinoplasty surgery. Within seven to 10 days, the discolouration should start to subside. If the patient is concerned about bruising, there are several brands of cosmetics designed to hide discolouration after surgery.

How long does the swelling last?

About 80 percent of the swelling is usually gone within a week or two. Swelling starts to resolve more slowly after that. The majority of swelling disappears after around two months and the rest slowly disappears over the next year.

When will I be able to see the results?

Results of rhinoplasty are not immediate. The nose typically becomes more refined with better definition over the first year. Because of the continuing possibility of change, most surgeons advise waiting until this time has elapsed before making your final judgment of the result.

Why does it take a full year to see final rhinoplasty results?

Over the course of a year, the nose will adjust to the surgical changes. Some swelling may persist and the elasticity and thickness of the tissues, as well as the blood flow to the nasal
region, may need to adjust.

What are the risks of rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty risks are not particularly common, but may include infection, nose bleed, swelling, bruising, numbness, reaction to anaesthesia and need for a secondary nose surgery (revision rhinoplasty).

How much recovery time will I need?

After the first week or so following nose surgery, most of the pain, discomfort, swelling and bruising will have subsided. However, it may take several weeks before feeling completely back to normal. Most patients can expect to return to work l within a week or two and to more strenuous activity after a few weeks.

Will rhinoplasty leave any scars?

Rhinoplasty requires incisions, therefore the procedure will result in scars. However, closed rhinoplasty creates an incision on the inside of the nostrils, where the scars will be completely hidden. The open procedure creates one small incision in the skin separating the two nostrils. This cut usually heals very well, leaving behind only a very fine scar that is barely noticeable.

What is revision rhinoplasty?

Revision rhinoplasty is a procedure used to revise or fix a past rhinoplasty. This is typically a more complex procedure than a primary rhinoplasty as the nose has already been altered and may be structurally weaker than it originally was. Even so, it can give significant satisfaction to those who didn’t achieve the results they were after the first time around.