What to Know Before Having Rhinoplasty

October 24, 2017


nose surgery patient in cedar rapids, iowa

nose surgery patient in cedar rapids, iowaIf your nose has been standing between you and high self-esteem, a rhinoplasty might seem like the solution the problem. The good news is that a rhinoplasty, or nose job, is a safe procedures with very high patient satisfaction. Rhinoplasty does, however, require some “downtime”, a period during which a patient wears a conspicuous nasal splint and is bruised and swollen. At Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, our rhinoplasty experts have the inside scoop on what to expect from your rhinoplasty. We want you to be prepared for everything preceding your surgery and during your recovery to make sure you are as confident and comfortable as possible throughout the rhinoplasty process.

There are different types of rhinoplasty procedures.

Just like noses, rhinoplasty comes in many different shapes and sizes. One notable fact about nose jobs is that they do not have to be only cosmetic. If you suffer from difficulty breathing or had a nasal injury and are left with nasal deformity, a rhinoplasty can help address these issues. A non-cosmetic rhinoplasty is typically known as a functional rhinoplasty, and it can either be combined with a cosmetic procedure or accomplished on its own without significantly altering the shape of your nose.

From a procedural standpoint, your rhinoplasty may fall into one of two categories: an open rhinoplasty or a closed rhinoplasty. Both types have pros and cons, and we encourage you to ask your plastic surgeon about which procedure they typically offer or suggest for your needs.

Open rhinoplasty is better-suited for candidates who are seeking more significant changes. This surgery involves an external incision across the columella, the piece of soft tissue that extends from the tip of your nose to separate your nostrils. The incision allows your surgeon to see inside your nose and make very detailed changes to its structure. This type of rhinoplasty is capable of producing very significant changes the cartilage and bone that determine the structure of your nose. The surgeon also has the ability to specifically address functional breathing concerns in addition to making the cosmetic changes you desire.

Closed rhinoplasties do not require any external incisions, which means any scarring will be hidden from view. There is also less post-operative swelling, decreasing the “downtime.” However, this procedure makes it more difficult for your surgeon to see and modify the cartilage and bone which is required to significantly improve nasal aesthetics. Closed rhinoplasty is better suited for patients who request minor changes and have less ambitious goals.

Your surgeon can create a nose that is perfect for your face.

Plastic surgeons are trained in the art of facial symmetry, and a good plastic surgeon will make sure that the nose you plan during your rhinoplasty will complement your face. This might mean, however, that the nose you think you want before your consultation is not the nose your surgeon recommends. You should be prepared to work with your surgeon to create a nose that will meet your aesthetic goals — like removing a bump or narrowing a bulbous tip — while also working with your existing facial features to create a sense of balance.

Your surgeon should be able to show you with photo editing software or marked-up images how your projected outcome will appear. If you are not completely satisfied with your surgeon’s suggestions, you should feel free to ask them if the goals you seek are achievable. In fact, we recommend scheduling consultations with more than one plastic surgeon before your rhinoplasty — you should love your new nose, so you should choose a surgeon whose goals for your rhinoplasty align with yours.

Internal splints or nasal packing can dry out your mouth.

For about a week following your surgery, you will have splints or bandaging to help your nose heal correctly. Depending on your surgeon and your procedure, this may include splints or inside your nose. The newer splits are designed to allow you to breathe through them, improving your post-rhinoplasty experience. You may feel more comfortable mouth breathing, however. Therefore, we recommend stocking up on lip moisturizers, hydrating beverages and foods that require minimal chewing to help ease your discomfort during this time.

You will need to be very careful about bumping your nose. You likely touch or bump your nose several times a day. Itching, blowing your nose or interacting with pets and small children are all situations where your nose may get jostled without you noticing. We take these small things for granted because typically a light bump to the nose does not produce any major sensation. But for some time after your nose surgery, bumping your nose will be at the least a little painful and at worst can compromise your outcome.

You will have bruising and swelling around your nose and eyes for one to two weeks following surgery, and your nose will be more sensitive to the touch than usual. Most surgeons recommend avoiding any contact with your nose for up to six weeks. You will need to be especially vigilant about event small contact and specific interactions to ensure that you do not injure your nose while you are in recovery phase. You should also talk with your plastic surgeon about how to handle situations like sneezing or blowing your nose.

It can take about a year for your nose to heal fully.

Depending on the extent of your rhinoplasty, you may be able to see the most noticeable aspects of your results immediately after your splint and bandaging is removed. But your nose will be slightly swollen for a few weeks after your surgery, and can take almost a year to fully return to normal. Over this time, your scars will slowly diminish, residual swelling or irritation will subside and your skin texture and tone will return to normal. For patients with naturally thicker skin, it can take up to two years for your result to be fully realized.

However, most of your visible healing should be done within the first three to six months. Changes after the six-month mark are typically subtle, and since you likely look at your face every day, you won’t notice any significant changes on a daily basis. It is best to review before and after pictures of your nose several months after the procedure, this will give you a more realistic look at the long-term changes achieved with the procedure.

Your rhinoplasty experience can be simple and satisfying if you make sure that you are fully prepared for your procedure and recovery. At Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, we work with all of our rhinoplasty clients during their consultation, subsequent visits and follow-up appointments to ensure that we answer all of your questions. Our goal is to meet and hopefully exceed your expectations. We know that a rhinoplasty can have a dramatic impact on your appearance and your confidence. If you are considering a rhinoplasty, we encourage you to call us today at 319-382-8230 to schedule a consultation.

January 11, 2017

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