Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 - What is rhinoplasty?

A - Rhinoplasty, more commonly known as a 'nose job', is a surgical procedure used to refine and/or reshape the nose. Common changes include modifications in the size and shape of the bridge and/or the tip of the nose.

Q2 - Are there any age restrictions for undergoing rhinoplasty?

A - The ideal age to have a rhinoplasty is after the patient's nose has completed growing. This occurs in females after the age of 16 and after the age of 19 in males. There are, of course, exceptions, such as cases involving severe disfigurement, in which case surgery may be performed. Again, however, revision rhinoplasty will likely be required in the future. Another aspect to consider is the psychological impact of cosmetic surgery and whether or not a younger patient can handle this.

Q3 - Who are best Candidates: Is rhinoplasty right for you?

A - Anyone who is dissatisfied with the appearance of their nose and has realistic expectations for an improvement can have a rhinoplasty procedure. However, this is surgery and should be approached as seriously as any other surgery. Patients who pursue surgery to make them selves feel better or more confident are the best candidates for rhinoplasty. Patients who seek rhinoplasty to improve their relationships, jobs or other areas of their lives or are obsessed with their nose or other body parts usually are depending so much on the outcome of the surgery to change their lives. I discourage these types of patients from pursuing the surgery.

Q4 - Why do they say it takes a whole year before you see the results of rhinoplasty?

A - While you will certainly see positive results from your rhinoplasty procedure well before a year's time, it typically takes a full year for all of the swelling to subside and the final, most refined results to be achieved. A noticeable difference in your nose should be immediately apparent after surgery. However, this is not fully representative of the final result due to post-surgical swelling and discoloration. The swelling should begin to fade within about a week after surgery, and 80% of the swelling and 100% of the discoloration should have faded within two to three weeks. By month three after your procedure, 90% of the swelling will be gone, with the remainder slowly fading throughout the rest of the year. This residual swelling is typically not apparent to the patient or other observers after the first few months.

Q5 - Is rhinoplasty very painful?

A - Though pain is a relative thing, most rhinoplasty patients experience more discomfort than pain. In addition, this discomfort is most often associated with nasal packing, or packing of the nose after surgery to prevent or control bleeding and swelling. The nasal packing is typically removed within a day or so after surgery, and patients typically feel a great deal of relief once this occurs.

Q6 - How long does the actual surgery last?

A - Surgical times will vary according to several factors. Primary rhinoplasty procedures tend to take between two and three hours to complete and revision rhinoplasty procedures typically take between three and four hours.

Q7 - What is nasal packing?

A - Nasal packing, in which gauze or cotton packs are applied to the nasal chambers, is used to control or prevent bleeding and sometimes to support the septum after rhinoplasty. The packing is typically removed within twenty-four to forty-eight hours after surgery. Not all patients require nasal packing, but it is still often used as a preventative measure. This is, unfortunately, one aspect of rhinoplasty that most patients find to be uncomfortable.

Q8 - What activities should I avoid after surgery?

A - For ten days after surgery, do not sniffle or blow your nose. Minimize smiling, touching, or bumping your nose for two weeks. If you have to sneeze, try to stifle it through your nose. No wearing glasses for four weeks. Bending or lifting can prolong swelling, so this is not recommended for three weeks after surgery. Running, cycling, exercise or aerobics should not resume for three weeks. Contact sports should be avoided for six weeks, as it takes that long for the bones to fully heal. You may drive when the swelling subsides enough not to interfere with vision, and you may fly two to three weeks after surgery. Sleep only on your back, because sleeping on your side can push healing structures out of shape.

Q9 - What is the recovery like after rhinoplasty?

A - The amount of time it takes to recover after rhinoplasty will vary from patient to patient. You'll likely want to remain in bed for the first day after surgery, but most patients find that they're up and about within a day or two. Though swelling and bruising can remain visible for three weeks or more, patients are typically able to return to work or school within a week's time. Sun exposure and any strenuous activity risking injury to the nose will need to be avoided for two to three weeks.

Q10 - Are there any complications or risks with rhinoplasty?

A - Rhinoplasty is generally considered a safe procedure, though every surgical procedure does carry some risk of complication. These risks may include adverse reactions to anesthesia, infection, nosebleeds, numbness of the skin, small bursting of blood vessels on the surface of the skin, assymetry, and other possible complications.

Q11 - Does rhinoplasty leave scars?

A - Rhinoplasty requires that incisions be made in the skin which will result in scars. With closed rhinoplasty procedures, however, the incisions are confined to the inside of the nose, thus resulting in no visible scarring. With open rhinoplasty, a small incision is made on the columella, or on the underside of the skin between the nostrils. This results in a small, fine-line scar that is well-concealed and barely noticeable in time.

Q12 - What type of anesthesia is required for rhinoplasty?

A - Rhinoplasty typically involves either general anesthesia or a combination of local anesthesia and sedation.

Q13 - What is revision rhinoplasty?

A - Revision rhinoplasty, also referred to as secondary or tertiary rhinoplasty, is a rhinoplasty procedure used to revise or fix a past rhinoplasty procedure. Revision rhinoplasty is typically a more complex procedure than a first rhinoplasty procedure.

Q14 - What are open and closed rhinoplasty?

A - Open rhinoplasty and closed rhinoplasty are the two types of rhinoplasty procedures available. Open rhinoplasty is used to achieve great symmetry when doing tip work, while closed rhinoplasty is generally done for hump reduction. Closed rhinoplasty involves incisions which are confined to the inside of the nose. Though this results in no visible scarring, the procedure offers less visibility of the inside of the nose and is typically not possible for more complex cases. With open rhinoplasty, a small incision is made on the columella, or the underside of the nose between the nostrils. This will result in a well-concealed, fine-line scar that fades with time. Because open rhinoplasty provides a better view of and easier access to the inside of the nose, it is often preferred, particularly with complex cases.

Q15 - Are x-rays taken before undergoing rhinoplasty?

A - X-rays are often not required before undergoing rhinoplasty. However, a CAT scan or other x-rays may be taken if there are breathing problems or to give the surgeon a better feel for the nose's anatomy.

Q16 - What specifically can be achieved with rhinoplasty?

A - Rhinoplasty can refine and/or reshape the nose by making any of the following changes:

  • a reduction or increase in the overall size;
  • a change in the angle between the nose and upper lip;
  • a narrowing of the span of the nostrils;
  • the removal of a hump; and
  • a change in the shape of the bridge or the tip.
  • Rhinoplasty can also alleviate some breathing problems.

Q17 - Is it common to have black eyes after surgery?

A - Discoloration around the eyes does typically occur after surgery. The degree of this discoloration and the amount of time required for it to fade will vary from patient to patient. You can generally expect some amount of discoloration around the eyes for about seven to ten days, though in some patients this can last up to three weeks.

Q18 - What is septoplasty?

A - Septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct the shape of the septum due to defects or deformities. The nasal septum is the separation between the nostrils. Septoplasty may be performed during a rhinoplasty procedure. When performed together, this may be referred to septo-rhinoplasty.

Q19 - Is it okay to eat breakfast on the morning of your surgery?

A - Patients are generally instructed not to eat anything after midnight on the day of surgery, and not to eat or drink anything on the morning of surgery. However, your surgeon should give specific instructions regarding food consumption.

Q20 - If you can't eat anything before surgery, how soon afterward can you eat?

A - Patients are generally encouraged to begin drinking small amounts of clear liquid and even eat something small like crackers once they have awoken after surgery and are stabilized. It's typically all right to begin eating as soon as you feel hungry, though it's often best to start slowly and begin with soft foods or liquids.

Q21 - Will I be able to drive myself home after my rhinoplasty procedure?

A - You should not drive yourself home after your rhinoplasty procedure but should have someone drive you instead.

Q22 - How many follow-up visits are needed after rhinoplasty surgery?

A - The number of follow-up visits required after your rhinoplasty surgery will vary from surgeon to surgeon. In many cases, your surgeon will require a follow-up visit on the first and second days after your surgery. Three to four more follow-up visits may be required during the first two weeks after surgery. After that, your surgeon may wish to see you anywhere from monthly to quarterly during the first year.

Q23 - When are the splints removed after rhinoplasty surgery?

A - The splints are typically removed within a week after rhinoplasty surgery.

Q24 - When are the stitches removed after rhinoplasty surgery?

A - The sutures are typically removed within a week after rhinoplasty surgery

Q25 - Is it okay to wear glasses after rhinoplasty surgery?

A - Glasses can be worn while the splint is in place. After that, care must be taken when wearing your glasses to keep them from resting on your nose. Supports or stilts can be used on the lower portion of the glasses to keep them off of the nose. It's generally advised that glasses not be worn directly on the nose for six to eight weeks after the procedure.

Q26 - Is it possible for the nose to grow after rhinoplasty surgery?

A - If rhinoplasty is performed on a child who is still growing, the nose will continue to grow and can negatively impact the results of surgery. As such, it's typically recommended that rhinoplasty should be performed on children only after they have stopped growing. With adults, the nose does tend to elongate during the middle years and the tip may droop in the later years.

Q27 - What kind of material is used when grafts are needed to rebuild the nose?

A - There are a variety of materials that can be used for grafts. In most cases, however, the patient's own cartilage is used, either from the inside of the nose, the ear or, less commonly, the rib.