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Cosmetic nose surgery
DefinitionRhinoplasty is surgery to repair or reshape the nose. See also septoplasty (nasal septum repair).
Rhinoplasty is one of the most common of all plastic surgery procedures. It can be used to:
Rhinoplasty can be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the procedure and the patient's preference. It may be performed in a surgeon's office-based facility, a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center. Complex procedures may require a short inpatient stay. The procedure usually takes an hour or two, but may take longer.
Nose surgery is considered "elective" when it is done for purely cosmetic purposes. In these cases, the purpose is to change the shape of the nose to one that the patient finds more desirable. Age may be a consideration. Many surgeons prefer not to perform cosmetic nose surgery until the growth of the nasal bone is completed (around 14 or 15 for girls, a bit later for boys).
In other cases, nose surgery may be needed for medical purposes. For example, surgery may be needed to treat a serious breathing problem or an injury. Age may be less of a factor.
RisksThe risks for any anesthesia are:
Rarely, a second procedure may be necessary to correct a minor deformity.
Expectations after surgery
A splint (metal or plastic) will be applied externally to maintain the newly shaped bony structure when the surgery is complete. Soft plastic splints or nasal packs may also be placed within the nostrils to stabilize the septum (the dividing wall between the air passages).
Swelling and bruising around the eyes will increase and reach a peak after 2 or 3 days. Keeping the head raised (elevated) and placing cold compresses to the eyes can help reduce the swelling. Within 2 weeks, most of the swelling and bruising disappears. Some subtle swelling remains for several months, but this is generally unnoticeable to anyone but the patient.
ConvalescenceWithin 2 days, most patients are up and about, and able to return to school or non-strenuous work within about a week following surgery. Full recovery takes several weeks.
Avoid strenuous activity (jogging, swimming, bending -- any activity that increases blood pressure) for 2 to 3 weeks. Avoid rubbing or bumping the nose. Avoid unprotected sun exposure, especially for the first 8 weeks. Be gentle when washing the face and hair or using cosmetics.
Glasses will have to be taped to the forehead or propped on the cheeks for 4 to 6 weeks after the splint is removed and the nose is completely healed.
The patient may feel depressed following surgery, but day by day the nose will look better. Within a week or two, cosmetics will camouflage signs of the operation. Healing is a slow and gradual process. The tip of the nose may have subtle swelling and numbness for months. The final results may not be apparent for up to a year.
The patient might experience some unexpected reactions from family and friends. They may act resentful, especially if something they view as a family or ethnic trait is altered. The patient should keep in mind the reasons for the nasal correction, and if these have been reached, then the surgery is a success.
Update Date: 5/6/2003Jason Newman, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, Washington, DC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT