“Rhino” means nose and “plasty” means to shape, mold, or form. Rhinoplasty was the fifth most common procedure performed by plastic surgeons in 2012, according to the latest statistics released by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Many plastic surgeons feel rhinoplasty is the most artistic and difficult cosmetic surgical procedure. With a rhinoplasty procedure, the surgeon makes three-dimensional changes that instantly alter other areas of the nose.
Candidates for rhinoplasty should be in good health, should not smoke, and should be of an age where their facial growth and development are complete. Some patients choose to have rhinoplasty to enhance their facial appearance, while others may benefit from rhinoplasty procedures that improve nasal, breathing, and other health functions.
Rhinoplasty can address structural, cosmetic, or functional issues with the nose while bringing the nose into balance with the rest of the facial features. These procedures can be performed to enhance a nose that appears to droop or that is too large, small, narrow, flat, wide, round, or pointed. Rhinoplasty can also improve the appearance of a hump on the bridge of the nose, a crooked nose, oddly shaped nostrils, or damage due to injury or trauma. From a functional perspective, rhinoplasty can address a deviated septum, improve breathing, reduce snoring, and reduce the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
An accurate preoperative analysis is 50 percent of the rhinoplasty surgery outcome. Patients are encouraged to bring in photographs of how they envision their results. Only a limited number of experts specialize in rhinoplasty, so it is important for each patient to do their due diligence when choosing a surgeon.
Rhinoplasty is completed on a same-day basis. Many surgeons prefer to use general anesthesia because there tends to be bleeding in the back of the throat, and this may be a problem with a semi-conscious patient. Ultimately, however, the patient can decide what type of anesthesia they would like. There are various rhinoplasty techniques that may be performed depending on the anticipated outcome.
Because rhinoplasty is a complicated procedure and the nose swells during the operation, there is a chance that some patients may need to have post-surgery touch-ups. About 15 percent of rhinoplasty operations require touch-up procedures.
At the conclusion of the procedure, a long-acting numbing agent is used to ensure the patient leaves the surgery center pain-free. A splint is usually placed on the nose for one week. The nose will be noticeably swollen for several days and should not be blown. Half of all rhinoplasty patients have some bruising. It may take up to a year or even longer before all minor traces of swelling disappear, but the nose will feature an enhanced appearance by the time the splint is removed after surgery.
The biggest limitation with rhinoplasty is thick skin, as this is difficult to shrink and conform to the underlying framework of the nasal structure. A surgeon can only do so much with a large nose if the skin will not contract. Risks of rhinoplasty include infection, postoperative nose bleeds, numbness, swelling, the possible collapse of the nose, external scarring, fullness, residual deformity, and holes inside the septal area of the nose.
Rhinoplasty performed for cosmetic reasons is regarded as elective and therefore is not generally covered under most health insurance plans. When a rhinoplasty procedure is conducted to address a health issue or improve nasal function, it may be covered in part under some insurance policies.