Nose surgery: The basic details, including the risks

Cosmetic Procedures

What is nose surgery?

Rhinoplasty (corrective nose surgery), is also commonly called a nose job or nose reshaping. This cosmetic procedure involves repairing the nose after injury or improvement of the facial harmony and proportions of the nose to the rest of the face. A small change can have a large emotional effect on a post-rhinoplasty patient. With new levels of confidence in their physical appearance.

Who is a nose job for?

A nose job can treat:

  • To balance the nose relative to the face to give a more balanced appearance. This can include reshaping the width at the bridge or in the size and position of the nostrils to give a more balanced appearance
  • To improve the profile of the nose with correcting visible humps or depressions on the bridge with nasal contouring
  • To improve the nasal tip that is enlarged or bulbous, drooping, upturned or hooked
  • To improve the appearance of the nostrils that are large, wide or upturned.

This procedure is also prescribed for patients to correct a deviated septum. This is to assist people that are suffering with impaired breathing, due to structural defects in the nose. Nose surgery, that involves adjusting the nasal structure to produce better alignment, can then help to improve an obstructed airway by increasing airflow and breathing.

What is the procedure?

The operation itself is performed from inside the nose, thereby reducing the chances for scaring. Nasal contouring is done by removing, or moving the underlining bone and cartilage structure. Skin is then remoulded over the new foundation. But different skin types will have react differently. A thinner skin can easily drape over the new contour; whereas thicker skin is more difficult to control and will not adapt as easily to the new form.

While initial swelling subsides within a few weeks, it may take up to a year for your new nasal contour to fully refine. During this time you may notice gradual changes in the appearance of your nose as it refines to a more permanent outcome.

Cosmetic Procedures

What is the risks?

Knowledge of relevant complications and sequelae are essential to enlighten the patient so that an informed decision can be made, for reducing the incidence of such complications, for minimizing the gravity of an impending complication, and for treating a complication once it has occurred.

Candidates that are in good health, does not smoke, and whose facial growth is complete, will reduce their risk factors for this procedure. A good plastic surgeon will however consult each patient on their own risk factors and complications, and well as realistic outcomes. However, the most common risks associated with a rhinoplasty include:

  • Infection
  • Bursting of small blood vessels on the surface of the skin
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Change in skin sensation such as pain or numbness, as well as possible changes in color and swelling particularly around the eyes. It should be mentioned that minor swelling can be prevent up to 6 months after a procedure. A common problem with nose surgery, besides swelling, is pain. As there is extensive changes been made to the nasal bone and cartilage, patients will experience pain after the surgery. However pain medication will be prescribed to relieve some of the pain
  • Possible scaring at the base of the nose
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Trouble breathing
  • Poor nasal appearance. For instance the lower lateral cartilage in the tip and alar support might have been underestimated, resulting in problems. Problems could include the collapse of the alae and a pinches tip.
    And although rare, the possibility of a nasal septal perforation (a hole in the nasal septum). Secondary rhinoplasty might be needed to repair the functional defects, but in some case the results are permanent.

What problems might occur afterwards?

Biggest problem with this sort of cosmetic surgery is the patient’s expectation and the final results. Even though the final results can take up to a year, patients might disapprove of the outcome. Lack of consulting can be blamed, as the expectations should have been more realistic. For instance, patients should be informed that each person has a degree of asymmetry, a complete symmetric appearance will not look natural. Although it should be said that some asymmetry or contour irregularity can result from imperfect surgical judgment.

The nasal passages cannot be narrowed beyond a certain point, since some of the underlying framework must be preserved. There is a balance, leaving sufficient framework to permit normal breathing capacity while removing excess or distorted anatomical parts.

Beyond expectations, there can be errors some surgeons can make. The most common postoperative complaint concerns the presence of a small amount of surgical packing placed in the nose at the end of the operation. It provides some control of postoperative bleeding, and the longer such packing remains, the easier it will be to remove without disturbing any of the freshly healing tissues.

It will take time to adjust to your new look and recovery time can be extensive, with swelling prevalent for 2 weeks.