What is a rhinoplasty? This procedure is used to improve the shape of the nose. Patients may perceive that their nose is too large, too small, too short, too long or crooked. They may be happy with their nose save for one or two subtle features that they would like corrected. Often, reshaping a nose is accompanied by structural problems within the nose that can impact breathing. Correction of breathing through the nose may require straightening of the partition or septum dividing the right and left halves of the nose. Straightening this septum is called a septoplasty and may be covered by insurance. Similarly, bony structures within the nose called turbinates shrink and swell as they serve to humidify air traveling through the nose. Surgical correction of the turbinates may also accompany a rhinoplasty to improve breathing and may also be covered by insurance. A rhinoplasty can be performed through a closed or an open approach. Each approach has merit and is chosen on the basis of what your surgeon plans to do to try to meet your goals with your rhinoplasty.
The appearance of the nose is influenced by ethnicity, gender and other pre-existing facial features such as the position of the chin and upper jaw. Rhinoplasty requires a careful assessment of functional and cosmetic goals, a clear understanding of a patient’s expectations and how they relate to what surgery can reasonably achieve.
Click here to view a video on rhinoplasty.
Facial implants. On occasion, a nose may appear large, but careful evaluation may reveal that the nose itself is normally proportioned while the chin is receded, thus making the nose look bigger. In this case, the chin can be augmented with a chin implant. Similarly, in other instances, the nose may look small when really it’s the chin that is protruding. In this case, the patient may benefit more from a repositioning of the chin or jaw.
Cartilage grafts. Your own cartilage is usually the best material to augment or support your nose during rhinoplasty surgery. Cartilage is typically harvested from inside the nose from the septum, from the inner ear, or from a rib. Cartilage grafts are more frequently used if the nose needs to be augmented or straightened or when you already have had a rhinoplasty.
Anesthesia: Usually performed with the patient under general anesthesia.
Length of procedure: 1 to 5 hours, depending on the extent of the procedure.
Estimated recovery time: You can return to work after 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the extent of the procedure, but should avoid vigorous activities for 3 to 6 weeks. You may be required to wear a splint on the inside or outside of your nose for several days after surgery. Visible bruising should clear up within 2 weeks. Significant swelling may resolve in a couple of weeks, but subtle swelling may be noticeable to you for several months. To learn how to prepare for a rhinoplasty and what to expect afterwards, click here to download our patient instructions for rhinoplasty.
Side effects: Common side effects include bruising, swelling, a well-hidden scar, and possibly well-hidden scars within the nose, along the inner surface of the ear, or underneath the breast if cartilage was required. Click here to download a detailed consent form from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that lists the risks and benefits of rhinoplasty surgery.
Before-and-after photos of rhinoplasty results: Click here
To schedule a consultation on rhinoplasty with one of our plastic surgeons, contact our St. Louis office by phoning 314-996-8800, requesting your consultation online, or emailing us today.