Rhinoplasty: A Guide To Nose Job Procedures

By Marisa Ramiccio. May 7th 2016

Rhinoplasty is one of the most common plastic surgical procedures in the United States and has become one of the most sought-after surgeries among teens and young adults. Many of them want to get rhinoplasty, or a “nose job” as it’s commonly referred to, for cosmetic purposes. However, there are more serious reasons for which rhinoplasty is needed.

The Purpose Of Rhinoplasty

Oftentimes people get a nose job procedure to enhance their appearance and to make themselves feel more confident about the way they look. With rhinoplasty, the nose can be altered in a number of ways by altering either the bone, the cartilage or both. These are some of the ways the nose can be altered through rhinoplasty:

  • The length can be shortened
  • The width can be made smaller
  • The nose itself or the nostrils can be made to look smaller
  • It can straighten or decrease the size of the tip of the nose
  • It can remove bumps, asymmetry, depressions and deviations on the nose

But rhinoplasty isn’t done solely for cosmetic purposes. Sometimes people need to get rhinoplasty in order to correct a deviated septum, which is when the middle strip of cartilage that separates the nostrils becomes displaced and obstructs the airways or causes other unwanted symptoms. Rhinoplasty can also correct:

  • Birth defects
  • Errors from previous surgeries
  • A broken nose that didn’t heal correctly
  • Severe facial trauma


As with any surgical procedure, there are risks that are associated with a nose job procedure. These risks include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Skin discoloration
  • An adverse reaction to the anesthesia
  • Numbness or a tingling sensation around the nose

Nose asymmetry and other errors on the part of the surgeon are also risks that need to be considered. Another risk factor that is often overlooked is for the patient to not like the end result of the procedure. For those reasons, it’s best to consult with a doctor before going through with the procedure.

How To Prepare For Rhinoplasty

Consulting with a doctor before surgery is important for both the doctor and the patient. The doctor needs to know why the patient is seeking rhinoplasty and what the patient wants the end result to be, while the patient needs to know what to expect and how to prepare for the surgery.

Before the surgery, the doctor may need to perform a health exam and certain tests to determine that the patient is well enough to go under the knife. As the surgery date approaches, the patient will be asked to stop smoking as well as to lay off of certain medications and supplements that could cause complications during the surgery.

It also may be in the patient’s best interest to have a friend or a family member on hand to assist them with driving to and from surgery as well as assisting with other daily needs directly after surgery.

During The Surgery

A nose job procedure can be performed either through an internal incision or through an external incision. The site of the incision will most likely be determined by the part of the nose being altered. Internal incisions are made on the inside of the nostril while external incisions are made on the columella, which is the strip of tissue that divides the nostrils.

Once the incision has been made, the nose can be reshaped using cartilage that’s been grafted from either the ear or from the middle of the nose. If an implant is being used, the doctor will insert it after the incision has been made and the bone, if being reshaped, may be grafted with bone material.

After the nose has been reshaped, the deviated septum, if present, will be fixed and any bumps or depressions will be smoothed away. The incision will then be closed and internal tubes and splints will be placed in and on the nose to support it while it heals.

It will take a few weeks for the nose to fully recover from surgery and it may take up to a year for it to fully settle into its new shape. Bruising and swelling under the eyes may occur, but should clear up after a few weeks.

Recovery Tips

During the recovery period, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure the nose heals correctly. Here are some tips for recovery after a nose job procedure:

  • Keep the head elevated to reduce swelling, bruising and bleeding.
  • Avoid strenuous exercises and contact sports.
  • Brush teeth gently.
  • Don’t wear clothing that has to be pulled over the head.
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure as it can cause skin discoloration.
  • Tape sunglasses or eyeglasses to the forehead to avoid resting them on the nose.

Although rhinoplasty is popular among teenagers, this surgery is not recommended for those younger than 13 or for those whose facial growth is not yet complete. Rhinoplasty should not be looked at as a quick fix or as a way to conform to a perfect image. Instead, it should be done to correct a health problem or a deformity, and should only be used for cosmetic purposes after careful consideration and consultation with a surgeon.


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