Your nose plays an important role in giving definition and balance to your face. It’s not surprising, then, that when the nose seems out of proportion with other features—whether through heredity, injury, or previous surgery—it can adversely affect one’s self-image. For some people, structural problems within the nose actually cause breathing problems.
Rhinoplasty can provide a solution in such situations. More familiarly known as a “nose job,” rhinoplasty is the surgical restructuring of the nose for either aesthetic or functional reasons, or both. Rhinoplasty can modify the size, shape, and profile of the nose, and even the size of the nostrils. It can clear deformities within the nasal structure, opening the airways to allow normal breathing.
Working through incisions inside the nose (“closed” rhinoplasty) or at the bottom of the tissue separating the nostrils (“open” rhinoplasty), the surgeon can adjust tissue, cartilage, and bone to reshape the nose. Sometimes extra cartilage—usually taken from the nose itself or from the ear—is grafted on to achieve the desired contour. If the size of the nostrils is being modified, additional incisions are made in the nostril creases. During your consultation, Dr. Jensen will discuss the different possible approaches with you to determine what’s likely to be best for you and your specific goals.
Rhinoplasty is usually performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. The surgery typically takes one to two hours. Revision rhinoplasty is often more complex and may take longer.
Sometimes a previous rhinoplasty procedure hasn’t accomplished everything that’s desired, and additional surgery is needed to achieve those goals. And occasionally unwanted bumps or even breathing difficulties can surface during the healing process. In such cases, revision surgery is called for to restore the appearance or function of the nose. Dr. Jensen is skilled at dealing with such issues and will be happy to consult with you about the appropriateness of revision rhinoplasty for your situation. Be aware that such surgery needs to be delayed for at least a year after the initial procedure.
Rhinoplasty Results and Recovery
Internal splints and dressings may be left in the nose for about a week following the surgery for support as healing begins. A protective splint will also be taped to the outside of the nose. There will be noticeable swelling for two or three weeks, and there may be swelling and discoloration around the eyes; the head should be kept elevated during this period. Most of the swelling resolves by 6 weeks, but it can take up to a year for the nose to gradually settle into its new shape and for all of the swelling to completely disappear. And while rhinoplasty results in permanent change, cartilage in the nose can continue to shift throughout your life, whether or not you’ve had this surgery. Sometimes, rhinoplasty is performed in conjunction with septoplasty or deviated septum surgery.
Most people can resume normal activities within about a week of surgery. Of course, you’ll want to treat your nose gently while it is healing—if you wear glasses, for instance, avoid resting them on your nose for the first few weeks.