Rhinoplasty (Nose Job) FAQs
Every prospective patient should have a basic understanding of what modern medicine can do before they seek a face-to-face consultation with a doctor. If you are considering getting a nose job, learn about some of the issues that concern rhinoplasty patients most frequently. The more you know as you begin to speak with cosmetic surgeons, the better you’ll be able to discern whether rhinoplasty is right for you.
Who is a candidate for rhinoplasty surgery?
Candidates for nose reshaping come in two categories: those who seek a rhinoplasty for cosmetic reasons, and those who need one to allow their noses to function naturally. A cosmetic nose job — most rhinoplasty surgeries fall into this classification — is a good choice for anyone who finds the shape of their nose unpleasing to look at in some significant way: too large, too small, too bent, too hooked, or anything else. Just small changes in the shape and position of the nose can create wonderful aesthetic benefits for the patient. For those who have had a broken nose or who were born with nostrils too narrow for normal breathing, a rhinoplasty may allow a doctor to restore natural nose function. Most rhinoplasty specialists can perform the procedure on all types of patients.
Are there any age restrictions for rhinoplasty patients?
Like many non-vital surgical procedures, a cosmetic nose job is best left until after the patient has reached physical maturity. Since the body and the face are continuously changing shape throughout the teen years, a rhinoplasty performed before age 15 or so may cause the nose to grow improperly or redevelop the negative characteristics that were originally corrected. Individual plastic surgeons make their own decisions as to who is ready for the surgery, but most will not perform an elective nose job until after puberty is largely over. Patients who need a rhinoplasty for health reasons, on the other hand, should have the surgery whenever a doctor determines that it is medically necessary, regardless of age.
What is the difference between "open" and "closed" rhinoplasty?
These two types of nose job surgery differ in only one respect: the open rhinoplasty involves a small cut in the skin of the columella (the strip between the nostrils), whereas the closed rhinoplasty does not. This incision allows the doctor to separate the skin from the bone and cartilage of the nose more easily, but also creates a very small, nearly unnoticeable scar. Since closed rhinoplasty uses incisions only inside the nose, no visible scarring results at all. Some patients with narrow nostrils or misshapen nose tips may need the open version of the surgery, but most nose job procedures are closed. Your doctor will help you decide which is best for you.
Is rhinoplasty surgery painful?
Most rhinoplasty surgeries are performed under general anesthesia, so the patient is not conscious to experience any pain. In the event that a local anesthetic is used, your surgeon will take steps to ensure comfort throughout the entire procedure. Pain associated with rhinoplasty surgery typically takes place in the days following surgery. This is usually mild, however, and can be well-managed with over-the-counter or prescription medications. It is important to discuss any possible side effects and what to expect during recovery with your surgeon.
Will nasal packing be used?
Nasal packing after rhinoplasty surgery, which involves the insertion of gauze into the nostrils to support the new structure and prevent bleeding, is usually avoided in most cases. While the packing can help prevent some complications, it also increases the patient’s level of discomfort during nose job recovery and may cause other problems. Ultimately, it is up to the plastic surgeon to decide whether nasal packing is worth the drawbacks for each patient individually.
Will I have black eyes after surgery?
Some people experience no bruising after rhinoplasty; others have very noticeable dark marks all around the eyes. These “black eyes” result from internal bleeding, which is sometimes unavoidable in an invasive procedure like a nose job. Since the bruises usually fade away by the tenth day and most patients spend a week or so recovering from the rhinoplasty surgery, they are not considered a major complication. In short, bruising is fairly normal and should not be a cause for alarm for most patients.
Why does it take a full year to see final rhinoplasty results?
Since rhinoplasty involves altering tissue throughout the nose and the area around it, significant swelling often results. Swelling after a nose job is a natural sign that the body is healing and restoring itself to order after the surgery. Unfortunately, this normal symptom can delay the full enjoyment of your rhinoplasty results for some time. Major swelling should be gone within a week or two, but some very minor swelling will remain for up to a year. Because of the continuing possibility of change, most surgeons advise waiting until this time has elapsed? before rendering final judgment on the nose job results.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view rhinoplasty before and after photos.
Photo credit: Pacific Plastic Surgery
Is there scarring after a nose job?
Yes, rhinoplasty can result in scarring, but fortunately most people will not be able to see it. During closed rhinoplasty, all surgical incisions are made within the nostrils so scars are completely hidden. If open rhinoplasty is performed, a small scar may appear across the columella, but this typically fades with time and is located in an inconspicuous spot. Scarring from rhinoplasty is usually not significant enough to deter patients from undergoing the procedure.
What is revision rhinoplasty?
Revision rhinoplasty is a nose job performed for patients who are dissatisfied with their original results. Whether due to a botched initial procedure or adverse subsequent events, a rhinoplasty will not always give the patient the ideal appearance he or she had been hoping for. Revision rhinoplasty is complicated somewhat by the fact that the nose has already been altered and may be structurally weaker than it originally was. Still, this type of surgery can give significant satisfaction to those who didn’t get it the first time around.
Is rhinoplasty covered by insurance?
Because most rhinoplasty procedures are classified as "elective surgeries," meaning they are not medically necessary, the majority of medical providers do not provide coverage. For patients who undergo rhinoplasty for medical reasons, insurance may cover part, if not all, of the cost. It is important to contact your healthcare provider prior to undergoing surgery so there is no discrepancy about how you will pay for the procedure. In addition, speak to your physician about financing options and the cost of surgery.
Explore DocShop's Online Directory of Facial Plastic Surgeons
Now that you know a little bit about the basics of rhinoplasty surgery, take the next step and find a doctor who can discuss more in-depth details with you. Use our online directory to find a nose job specialist in your area.