- A rhinoplasty is a procedure that alters the structure of your nose for cosmetic or medical reasons.
- It can raise the bridge of your nose and reduce any unwanted “humps” in your nasal structure.
- A cosmetic rhinoplasty typically costs around $10,000, but this can vary by location.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
A rhinoplasty, more commonly referred to as a nose job, is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed in the US.
In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, rhinoplasty was the most performed plastic surgery of 2020, with a whopping 352,555 procedures completed.
Here’s what you need to know about how rhinoplasty can change the shape of your nose and the risks involved.
What is a rhinoplasty?
A rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that is performed to alter the size or shape of the nose, says Jacob D. Steiger, MD, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon at Steiger Facial Plastic Surgery.
Some rhinoplasties are more functional than cosmetic, like getting one to improve obstructed breathing, Steiger says. This can help people who have collapsed nasal valves.
Cosmetic rhinoplasty, on the other hand, can correct perceived flaws in the shape of your nose. Steiger says that cosmetic rhinoplasty can:
- Reduce the size of a nose that has a hump or overly protrudes from the face
- Improve the appearance of a drooping nasal tip
- Elevate the bridge of a nose to make it less flat
To be a good candidate for a rhinoplasty, Steiger says you must be healthy enough to undergo an anesthetic during surgery. It’s also important to note that you should have reasonable expectations as to what a rhinoplasty can achieve.
“The most important thing is to meet with a rhinoplasty specialist who can advise on what is possible and what is realistic to expect from rhinoplasty surgery,” says Steiger.
How much does rhinoplasty cost? Rhinoplasties typically cost $10,000, Steiger says. However, that can be less or more depending on your geographic location, doctor, and complexity of your case. Health insurance won’t cover cosmetic rhinoplasties, but it may cover one for functional purposes like correcting a deviated septum.
The rhinoplasty procedure
Do your homework before going through with a rhinoplasty. For instance, make sure your surgeon specializes in rhinoplasty, and look through the before and after photos to make sure they have the same aesthetic you’re going for, says Rady Rahban, MD, FACS, board-certified plastic surgeon in private practice.
Before the procedure
Once you’ve chosen the best surgeon for you, it’s important to discuss all medications and supplements that you take because there are certain ones you’ll need to avoid before surgery.
Typically, Rahban says the medications you need to avoid are those that increase the risk of bleeding, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. He says to be careful of certain supplements that can also increase the risk of bleeding including:
- Fish Oils (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
- Gingko Biloba
- Valerian Root
- St. John’s Wort
This is why it’s necessary to tell your doctor about everything you take, just in case, even if it’s just a supplement.
Also, your doctor will give you instructions on when to stop eating and drinking the night before, in relation to the anesthesia. Be sure to take note of these directions and follow them carefully.
What to expect during a rhinoplasty
- The surgeon will make incisions within the nose to access the inside.
- The surgeon will then lift the skin of the nose off the bone and cartilage.
- The surgeon will manipulate the structure of the bone and cartilage and change it to achieve the desired appearance. This may include
- Shaving down a nose hump
- Breaking the bones and narrowing them
- Removing cartilage at the tip of the nose
- Adding cartilage from elsewhere in the body into the nose to build a more prominent bridge
- Finally, the surgeon will place the skin back over the nose and put on a cast.
Right after your procedure, your nose will be in a cast. During this time, Steiger says you should avoid medications that may increase bleeding and bruising, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
As for side effects, you may experience nasal congestion and difficulty breathing, says Steiger. Additionally, you may have bruising which should go away in around a week.
At the one week mark after surgery, you will get your cast taken off and should see at least some results.
Around the same time, you should be able to resume light activities and ramp-up to your normal day-to-day over the next several weeks. However, Steiger says you should definitely avoid anything that risks you hitting or bumping your nose for at least six weeks.
Rahban adds that during the initial healing period you should keep your head elevated and avoid salty foods, since this can cause your nose to swell.
After your cast is removed, “the nose will be swollen and although it already looks better than those that you started with, over the next year the nose will slowly take shape to its final form,” says Steiger.
It’s important to be patient throughout the year, keeping in mind that the swelling from the surgery can take many months to completely go away.
While a rhinoplasty may boost your self-esteem by altering your appearance, you must remember that it is a surgery, and with every surgery comes risks such as bleeding and infection, says Rahban.
Specific to rhinoplasties, one rare risk is long-term obstructed breathing. Another risk is the gradual slow collapse of the nose structure, since sometimes making a large nose much smaller can make it structurally unstable, says Rahban.
Therefore, make sure you choose a board-certified, experienced surgeon to minimize your risks.
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