Almost 50% of the population hates their noses. Too large, too wide, not symmetrical, whatever the reason why you are dissatisfied, a nose job (rhinoplasty) may be your answer. Rhinoplasty is the term used for the procedure we commonly know as a nose job, or nose reshaping. Some of the reasons people elect to undergo rhinoplasty include unnatural size, a bump on the bridge of the nose, an off-center or crooked nose, asymmetry due to injury, excessively flared nostrils, a droopy or thick tip, or excessive wideness. Rhinoplasty can also provide relief from breathing problems or correct a birth defect. There are always limitations to this procedure, therefore it is important to have realistic expectations for the outcome and truly understand what you will look like following this procedure.
When you meet with your plastic surgeon to discuss your wishes, it is important to communicate well about what your desires are for your appearance. Your doctor will ask you questions about what appearance you'd like your nose to have, evaluate the structure of your face and make a determination based on your facial structure, age and desires.
Complications such as infection, nosebleeds, or a reaction to the anesthesia are always a possibility, but are infrequent and usually minor when your rhinoplasty is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Following your surgeon's advice both before and after surgery can reduce your risks. Sometimes following surgery, tiny red spots may appear on the skin's surface. These are small burst blood vessels that pose no dangers but may be permanent. Minor bleeding from the nose is common during the first few days while the tissues heal inside.
When this surgery is performed from inside the nose, there is no visible scarring. If the procedure requires a narrowing of the nostrils, scars at the base of the nose are also minimally visible. Occasionally in rare situations, a follow-up procedure is necessary to correct minor deformities. Minor corrections are unpredictable and occur with patients of even the most skilled surgeons.
While complicated rhinoplasty cases may require a short inpatient stay, most cases can be handled with general or even local anesthesia. The procedure normally takes about two hours. Under local anesthesia, the patient will be awake and lightly sedated with the nose and surrounding area numbed completely. With general anesthesia, the patient is allowed to sleep through the operation.
Once the procedure is finished, a metal or plastic splint is applied to protect the new shape of the nose. Soft splints or nasal packs can be placed inside the nose to provide support for the septum. In recovery, headaches are common and the nose and face will be swollen and painful. The swelling and bruising will increase for 2 or 3 days following surgery. It is important to keep the head elevated and place cold packs on the area. Most of the swelling and bruising will subside within 2 weeks. Some minor swelling may linger for several months but is not noticeable.
Any nasal packing will be removed after a few days and you'll feel much more comfortable. Within two weeks all dressings, splints, and stitches should be removed. It may be a few weeks before you feel back to normal, but you should be able to return to work or school after two or three days of rest. It is likely that you will be restricted from strenuous activities for two to three weeks. You will be asked to avoid touching your nose or getting too much sun.
Don't forget that healing is a slow process and that the final appearance you have been dreaming of may not be completely apparent for up to a year or even longer.