Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty)

What is rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, or surgery to reshape the nose, can reduce or increase the size of your nose, change the shape of the tip or the bridge, narrow the span of the nostrils, or change the angle between your nose and your upper lip. It can also correct a birth defect or injury, or relieve some breathing problems.

Who is the best candidate for rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty cannot achieve perfection, but can improve the way you look. To be a good candidate for rhinoplasty, you need to be healthy and have realistic expectations of the surgery.

It is often advised to wait on rhinoplasty until a teenager has completed his or her growth spurts, normally around age 14 or later. 

How to prepare for rhinoplasty

Before your surgery, our surgeons will examine the structure of your nose and face, and work to understand the results you would like to achieve with surgery. They will explain factors including bone structure and age that could affect your outcome.

Cosmetic rhinoplasty is not typically covered by insurance. If your surgery is being performed to correct a breathing problem or another medical issue, our office will work with you to determine if your procedure will be covered.

You should arrange for someone to care for you for a few days after your surgery.

What happens during nose surgery?

Rhinoplasty typically takes one to two hours, though complicated procedures can take longer. You will be under either local or general anesthesia. Skin is separated from bone and cartilage, which is then reshaped. Then, the skin is placed over the bone and cartilage.

What to expect after nose surgery

After nose surgery, the surgeon will use a splint to help your nose keep its new shape for a few days to a week. Nasal packs or soft plastic splints might be placed in your nostrils to stabilize the dividing wall between the air passages.

Your face will feel puffy and your nose might ache. You also might have a slight headache. Stay in bed with your head elevated (except for going to the bathroom) for the first day.

Swelling and bruising around your eyes will get worse before it gets better; it typically peaks after two or three days. Cold compresses can reduce swelling and pain. A majority of swelling and bruising should subside within two weeks, but subtle swelling could remain for a few months. Slight bleeding is also common after surgery, as is a feeling of stuffiness. Do not blow your nose for at least a week after rhinoplasty.

You should be able to return to work or school after a week. You should avoid exercise and other activities that raise your blood pressure for a few weeks. You should also avoid hitting or rubbing your nose and excessive sun exposure for at least two months.

You can wear contact lenses immediately after surgery. Glasses will need to be taped to your forehead or propped on your cheeks until your nose is healed, usually six to seven weeks.

Rhinoplasty side effects and risks

Rhinoplasty complications are typically infrequent and minor. Risks include nosebleeds, infection or unfavorable scar formation. Occasionally, additional surgery is needed to fix scarring. Small burst blood vessels could appear as red spots on the skin and might be permanent.