Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures. During a rhinoplasty, the surgeon is able to reshape, reduce or augment a patient’s nose for cosmetic, and sometimes functional, purposes. A rhinoplasty may be performed to correct a birth defect, to repair an injury, to improve breathing or simply to improve a patient’s appearance.

Candidates for rhinoplasty should be at least 13 years old since it is important that patients have finished their facial growth before proceeding with this surgery. Patients considering rhinoplasty should be in overall good health, should not be smokers, and should have realistic expectations about the outcome. Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia and takes from 1 to 2 hours. There are two methods for performing a rhinoplasty: open and closed. The surgeon will choose the appropriate procedure for each individual patient.

Immediately after surgery, the patient’s nose and eyes are usually bruised and swollen. Splints and some packing material will remain inside the nose for a few days. Most patients feel like themselves within a few days and are able to return to regular activities in about a week. During recovery, the rhinoplasty patient should refrain from strenuous exercise and showering, use sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and avoid nose blowing, vigorous toothbrushing or any activity that puts pressure on the nose.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved in a rhinoplasty, including excessive bleeding, adverse reaction to anesthesia, and localized pain, discoloration or numbness. Occasionally, a patient may be dissatisfied with the cosmetic results of the operation and a second surgery, called a revision rhinoplasty, may be desired. For most patients, however, a rhinoplasty is an uncomplicated procedure with pleasing results.

Rhinoplasty surgery takes a long time to recover. Very often one year is not enough to see the final result. It could take years to see the final outcome.

The nose (especially the tip) continues to shrink over several years after rhinoplasty. Patients with thicker tip skin and revision patients will see more swelling and longer recovery time.

*Within 10 days to 2 weeks, most noticeable facial swelling will resolve.

*By 12 months, about 20% of swelling may still be present in the tip. The tip may still feel hard and have numbness. Some patients may express concerns that the tip still looks wider than they prefer. Swelling in the tip may fluctuate (i.e. worse in the morning).

*By 2 years, the mid-nasal area and tip will look slimmer. About 5-10% of swelling may still be present.

*By 3 years, the tip definition is nearly final. The tip is slimmer and softer than at 2 years.

Even after 3 years, many patients (especially those with thick tip skin) will see that the tip continued to improve.

Please note: Photographs taken after surgery using phone cameras:

*The face and nose on your photos will be stretched by the phone cameras when the photos are taken too close.

*Taking face photos with short lens cameras (and too close) results in the whole face, nose, and eyes appearing wider and nose / lip longer than in
real life and causing the ears to disappear in the photos.

*Many patients look at those photos and find that their noses appear wider than they like.

To get a more realistic view of your nose and better assess progress after the surgery, please follow up with your doctor as advised.