Noses come in all shapes and sizes but many ‘owners’ are none too pleased with their aesthetics. Looks aside, some people suffer more serious problems with their nose (such as breathing difficulty), caused by birth defects, injury or scarring.
Rhinoplasty, or the more commonly known ‘nose job’ procedure reshapes or repairs the nose by reducing or increasing its size, narrowing nostril openings, altering the shape of the tip or bridge, altering the angle between the upper lip and the nose, or any combination of the above.
On The Nose
Nasal bone growth needs to cease before rhinoplasty can be attempted, therefore female patients should be at least 14 or 15 years of age, while male patients need to be aged closer to 18. Potential patients should arm themselves with specific and realistic expectations and thoroughly discuss with a surgeon before deciding upon the procedure.
Rhinoplasty is typically performed as an outpatient surgery under general anaesthesia. The surgeon will begin by separating the skin from the underlying framework of the nose and manipulate the bone and cartilage to the desired shape and size, by either making an incision inside the nostrils or across the columella (the vertical strip of tissue separating the nostrils). The latter technique is known as ‘open rhinoplasty’. Once sculpted, skin is ‘redraped’ and a splint supports the new shape.
Risks and Complications
As with any plastic surgery, rhinoplasty carries some risk. Complications include:
- double or blurred vision (usually a temporary side-effect that subsides within a few days)
- ectropion (a rare condition where the lower eyelids droop, post surgery), that can be corrected
- follow-up surgery (for under-correction or over-correction)
- hematoma (localised swelling, caused by accumulation of blood, requiring removal)
- reaction to the anaesthesia
- skin numbness
- small scars at the base of the nose (typically present when the ‘open’ technique is used or when the nostrils are narrowed)
- swelling at the corners of the eyelids (a temporary condition)
- visible bursting of the blood vessels on skin’s surface
- white heads may appear after your stitches are removed (your surgeon can tend to them)
Standard hospital procedure requires that your surgeon perform laboratory investigations and/or diagnostic examinations to ensure that you are fit for surgery, prior to hospital admission and surgery.
Time required: One to two hours
Anaesthesia: Local with sedation, or general
- bruising around the eyes and nose
- some bleeding and stuffiness
- temporary discomfort
Back to work: Within one to two days
More strenuous activity: Allow two to three weeks
Final appearance: Allow one year or more
Note: This information acts as a guide to your possible treatment. Your individual concerns and specific medical history will need to be shared and discussed with your surgeon during your initial consultation.