Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty)

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For many people, a prominent, asymmetric, bumpy, or undesirable nose leads to extreme self-consciousness. One of the most common of all cosmetic procedures, rhinoplasty (nose surgery) is used to improve the appearance and possibly the function of the nose.

If you're considering nose surgery, the following information will provide you with a good introduction to the procedure. For more detailed information about how this procedure may help you, we recommend that you consult a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience in rhinoplasty.


*The 2010 national average cost of Nose Surgery procedure is $4,314.

*Nose Surgery was between the top five surgical procedures for men in 2010.

Rhinoplasty is the medical term used to describe Nose Surgery procedure.









  1. What are some of the most common benefits of rhinoplasty?
  2. What will happen at the initial consultation?
  3. How is nose surgery performed?
  4. At what age can rhinoplasty be done?
  5. How long does rhinoplasty take?
  6. Do I have stay in the hospital?
  7. How much pain is there?
  8. What can I expect after a rhinoplasty?
  9. What is the recovery period like?
  10. What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
  11. Ideal candidate:
  12. Rhinoplasty Risks:
  13. Choosing a doctor:
  14. Questions to ask your doctor:
  15. Be sure to:


What are some of the most common benefits of nose surgery?

Rhinoplasty can correct a variety of conditions, including an over-sized nose, a hump on the bridge, an undesirable shape of the nasal tip, or a narrow or wide span of the nostrils. Both frontal and profile views of the nose are corrected to complement other facial features, and to provide a balance of proportions. Rhinoplasty can also be used to correct breathing problems caused by narrow or partially obstructed nostrils.

If you are self-conscious about your nose, this surgery could open up new possibilities for changing your appearance and your self-image.

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How is a nose surgery performed?

Rhinoplasty can be performed under a general anesthetic or with a local anesthetic, depending on what you and your surgeon prefer. Incisions are made inside the rim of the nostrils. Sometimes, tiny, inconspicuous incisions are also made on the rim of the nose. Soft tissues of the nose are then separated from the underlying structures, and the cartilage and bone causing the deformity are reshaped.

The exact nature of the sculpting depends on your particular problem, and should be discussed at the consultation. If the nose is being reduced in size, the nasal bones are carefully fractured toward the conclusion of the rhinoplasty. Breathing problems may be improved by a procedure called septoplasty, in which the obstructions are removed. Another type of soft-tissue surgery, alar narrowing, is used to adjust the width of the nostrils.

There are two major ways to perform a rhinoplasty: the closed rhinoplasty and the open rhinoplasty technique. The open technique includes an incision across the colummella, the small skin between the two nostrils. One major advantage of this technique is the ability to completely visualize the internal structures of the nose, and place sutures precisely where they may be required. With this technique, rhinoplasty swelling takes significantly longer to subside and some of the tissues may be unnecessarily disrupted. The scar is most often quite small and fades rapidly. The closed technique does not require an external incision, heals more quickly, and does not disturb the tissues as much as the open technique.

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At what age can rhinoplasty be done?

Rhinoplasty should generally be delayed until after age 13 for girls, and 15 for boys (since boys have their growth spurt later than girls). By this time, the nose is 90 percent of its adult size. However, not every teenager who dislikes his or her appearance is a good candidate for rhinoplasty, many of them will outgrow their dissatisfaction with their nose. About 10 percent of all rhinoplasties are performed in people younger than 19. In adults, the aging process frequently results in your nose becoming longer and droopier as the skin loses its elasticity. Elevation of the nasal tip may give the patient a younger look.

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How long does rhinoplasty take?

A rhinoplasty usually takes one to two hours, but on rare occasions, it may take longer. This time may also be altered if you are undergoing other procedures at the same time.

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Do I have stay in the hospital?

Not necessarily. This procedure can be performed in the hospital or in an outpatient surgical suite. You will most likely be able to go home a few hours after your rhinoplasty surgery.

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How much pain is there?

Surprisingly, there is very little pain after rhinoplasty and most patients require only mild analgesics.

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What can I expect after a rhinoplasty?

If the nose is being reduced in size, a splint will have been applied and the nose will be packed lightly with medicated gauze. Sometimes, only tape supports the nose while it is healing. The stitches are self-absorbing and do not require removal.

If an incision is made across the columnella, or vertical strip of tissue separating the nostrils, skin stitches are placed, which require removal in three to five days. The need to do this is usually identified and discussed fully prior to the procedure, and is usually necessary in only about five to 10 percent of people.

After a rhinoplasty, swelling and stuffiness will remain for several weeks, but patients usually resume normal light activity after a few days. It will take several weeks before the nose is completely healed to allow full physical activity.

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What is the recovery period like?

You should be able to return to sedentary work a couple of days after a rhinoplasty. Although there is some pain in the first 24 hours, after this there is usually just a feeling of pressure and stuffiness. You will still look puffy and swollen. You should keep your head elevated above the level of your heart for the first few days to reduce swelling. Bruising around the eyes is to be expected, usually peaking around 72 hours and subsiding in seven to 10 days.

Cold compresses will help to reduce the swelling around the eyes. You may have a little bleeding too, so you will probably want to change your gauze bandages a few times a day for the first several days.

After three to five days, the splint and any packing will be removed. By the end of the first or second week, all splints, bandaging, and stitches will have been removed. You will still need to be careful to not blow your nose for about two weeks, and avoid bumps to the nose for about six weeks. Eyeglasses should be taped to the forehead, off the bridge of the nose, for the first month.

You may not be completely back to normal for several weeks. Your nose might be numb, especially if there have been considerable changes made to the tip. You should use extra sunscreen, be gentle when washing your face, and avoid strenuous activity for about four weeks.

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What is the long-term outcome like for most people?

It is common to feel dissatisfied with the appearance of the nose in the immediate post-operative period. At this point, the nose is still quite swollen, and much of the detail is still not visible enough to appreciate. It is wise to take a wait-and-see approach since the elasticity of the tissues, the blood flow, the thickness of the skin, and the appearance of the nose will change significantly during the first three months - even up to the first year or two. It is important to be patient during this period of time. Rushing to perform a second rhinoplasty during the first nine to twelve months is almost always a mistake.

Many people seem to blossom with positive personality changes after this procedure. A new sense of confidence is the most frequently observed change. Temporary blues after the procedure have also been reported and is generally attributable to two causes: (1) it takes up to six months after the operation to see the complete results of the procedure, and (2) rhinoplasty changes the appearance that you've grown accustomed to.

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Ideal candidate:

  • A female: 16 or older
  • A male: 17 or older.
  • No previous rhinoplasty.*
  • Lifestyle that will accommodate the restriction of activities required during the recovery period (i.e., no contact sports or other activity that could cause injury to the newly reshaped nose).

The above is only a partial list of the criteria that your surgeon will consider in determining whether or not this procedure is appropriate for you. Be sure to ask your surgeon if he/she considers you an ideal candidate for rhinoplasty.

*A previous rhinoplasty does not necessarily preclude you from having this surgery.

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Rhinoplasty Risks:

Rhinoplasty will provide significant improvements in the appearance of the nose for the vast majority of patients although, in occasional cases, a secondary correction may be required. There are risks with all surgical procedures. You should discuss all benefits and risks with your cosmetic surgeon.

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The information on this web site is only intended as an introduction to this procedure and should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor as a guarantee of the result. The best method of determining your options is to consult qualified surgeons who are able to answer specific questions related to your situation.

*Disclaimer: Costs source: According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), nationally in 2010. Most surgeons offer convenient payments plans for this procedure. Cost does not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses. Costs may vary depending the extensiveness of the procedure, location, and other factors. Costs are provided solely for research purposes. We are not a plastic surgery company and do not represent any plastic surgeons. For specific estimates, please contact a qualified plastic surgeon.

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