Rhinoplasty, sometimes referred to as a “nose job” or “nose reshaping” by patients, enhances facial harmony and the proportions of your nose. It can also correct impaired breathing caused by structural defects in the nose.
People get rhinoplasty to repair their nose after an injury, to correct breathing problems or a birth defect, or because they’re unhappy with the appearance of their nose.
Possible changes that your surgeon can make to your nose through rhinoplasty include:
If your rhinoplasty is being done to improve your appearance rather than your health, you should wait until your nasal bone is fully grown. For girls, this is about age 15. Boys might still be growing until they’re a bit older. However, if you’re getting surgery because of a breathing impairment, rhinoplasty can be performed at a younger age.
All surgeries carry some risks, including infection, bleeding, or a bad reaction to anesthesia. Rhinoplasty may also increase your risk of:
Occasionally, patients aren’t satisfied with their surgery. If you want a second surgery, you must wait until your nose is fully healed before operating again. This may take a year.
After surgery, your doctor may place a plastic or metal splint on your nose. The splint will help your nose retain its new shape while it heals. They may also place nasal packs or splints inside your nostrils to stabilize your septum, which is the part of your nose between your nostrils.
You’ll be monitored in a recovery room for at least a few hours after surgery. If everything is okay, you’ll leave later that day. You’ll need someone to drive you home because the anesthesia will still affect you. If it’s a complicated procedure, you might have to stay in the hospital for a day or two.
To reduce bleeding and swelling, you’ll want to rest with your head elevated above your chest. If your nose is swollen or packed with cotton, you might feel congested. People are usually required to leave splints and dressings in place for up to a week after surgery. You might have absorbable stitches, meaning they’ll dissolve and won’t require removal. If the stitches aren’t absorbable, you’ll need to see your doctor again a week after surgery to get the stitches taken out.
Memory lapses, impaired judgment, and slow reaction time are common effects of the medications used for surgery. If possible, have a friend or relative stay with you the first night.
For a few days after your surgery, you might experience drainage and bleeding. A drip pad, which is a piece of gauze taped below your nose, can absorb blood and mucus. Your doctor will tell you how often to change your drip pad.
You might get headaches, your face will feel puffy, and your doctor might prescribe pain medication.
Your doctor may tell you to avoid the following for a few weeks after your surgery:
Be especially careful about sun exposure. Too much could permanently discolor the skin around your nose.
You should be able to return to work or school in a week.
Rhinoplasty can affect the area around your eyes, and you might have temporary numbness, swelling, or discoloration around your eyelids for a few weeks. In rare cases, this can last for six months, and slight swelling could persist even longer. You can apply cold compresses or ice packs to decrease discoloration and swelling.
Follow-up care is important after rhinoplasty. Be sure to keep your appointments and follow your doctor’s instructions.