Rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, is a plastic surgery procedure for restructuring or enhancing the nose. The surgery may be used to restore functionality after an injury, rectify birth defects like an orofacial cleft, or simply for aesthetic purposes.
Types of Rhinoplasty
Rhinoplasty is a general term for all surgeries involving some form of alteration to the nose structure. There are subtypes of rhinoplasty like :
- Nasal tip plasty, which involves the tip of the nose.
- Alarplasty, which involves alteration of nostril width.
Rhinoplasty surgeries can be either open or closed. In the former, the surgeon makes a small incision at the base of the tissue between the nostrils, which exposes the nose cartilage visibly for the surgeon to operate on. In simpler operations, closed rhinoplasty may be preferred as all incisions are performed within the nostrils so no external scars are visible
During the surgery, the surgeon with separate the skin and soft tissues of your nose from the nasal cartilage after making the necessary incisions. The soft tissues are then shaped and corrected as required. A package, stent or both is then applied, and the incisions stitched to immobilise the altered nose and ensure proper recovery. Anesthesia will be administered for the operation.
As with all surgical procedures, there are some risks involved. Depending on the success of the surgery, the following complications may occur:
- As nerves around the surgical area may be disturbed, the patient may experience some numbness, disruption in breathing, smell and taste after the procedure. This is usually temporary, but can be permanent in severe cases.
- Infection and inflammation at the incision sites. The doctor may prescribe some antibiotics or other medication to lower these risks
- The nasal septum (the tissue in the nose dividing the 2 nostrils) may be perforated during, or after the surgery while the nose heals. This can cause intense pain and discomfort, and should be addressed immediately.
If the nose does not heal well post-surgery, or severe complications arise, a follow-up session may be required to rectify the issue and prevent long-term damage.
Before rhinoplasty, the doctor/surgeon will usually request for the patient’s medical history or conduct a simple health check. He/she will also discuss in detail what are the possible complications depending on the patient’s condition. A mutual understanding between doctor and patient regarding the risks involved is important in maximising the success of the procedure.
How long does the procedure take?
A surgical rhinoplasty procedure can last for 1 to 3 hours depending on the complexity of the operation.
Is the procedure painful?
Anesthesia will be administered so the procedures should be relatively painless. The site of incisions is expected to swell slightly post-surgery for up to 6 months. However, this is usually barely noticeable. There might also be some bruising, but this will usually subside in a few days.
What should I take note before the procedure?
Before rhinoplasty, you should ensure that you are in generally good health.
In addition, please inform the doctor of the following:
- Your medical history
- Any drug allergies, especially to any anesthesia
- If you are on any medication, especially aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Your smoking habits. If you are a smoker, please refrain from doing so starting 2 weeks before the surgery.
What should I take note after the procedure?
Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure so you can be discharged soon after the operation on the same day. However, a nasal splint may be required to maintain the shape of the nose while it heals, which can take up to 14 days depending on individual conditions.
There will be some bloody discharge from the nose for a few days after the procedure. This is perfectly normal.
Avoid smoking and tobacco for at least 14 days after the procedure.
You can usually resume your daily activities 14 days after the procedure without obvious signs that a procedure has been performed.
Do not put any excessive force/weight on your nose for at least 4 weeks after the procedure. This includes:
- Blowing your nose
- Sneezing. Try to open your mouth while doing so to redirect the air away from the nose
- Wearing glasses/shades. Glasses should be substituted for contact lenses, or suspended from your forehead using a specialised tape.
Strenuous activities should also be avoided for about 6 weeks following the procedure to prevent complications.
The doctor will discuss further details on how to aid recovery with you during your consultation sessions.