As the most prominent facial feature, the nose has the ability to make some people feel self-conscious about their appearance due to perceived flaws or age-related changes. This is just one of several reasons why nose surgery (rhinoplasty) may be considered. Other than cosmetic reasons, the procedure may also be done to correct disfigurements from injuries, developmental abnormalities present at birth, or difficulty with breathing through the nose.
Preparing for Nose Surgery
Prior to surgery, you may need to stop taking certain medications to avoid possible interactions with the anesthesia. Patients are also typically asked to stop smoking and stop using anti-inflammatory medications and herbal supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Most surgical procedures involve sculpting bone and cartilage in the nose. Considerations related to nose surgery typically include:
- Overall form and shape of the nose
- How the nose is currently functioning
- Addressing what rhinoplasty can and cannot do
Open nose surgery is done with small incisions in the area between the nostrils (columella). One of two common options for reshaping the nasal tip, open rhinoplasty involves additional cuts made inside of the nose. Open procedures allow for direct visualization and better manipulation of instruments.
Also performed primarily for nasal reshaping, closed nose surgery requires only inside incisions with no cuts made outside of the nose. If this less-invasive procedure is appropriate for what a patient wants/needs done, it often results in less postoperative pain and swelling. There will not be any outside scarring.
Nose Surgery Combined with Septoplasty
If the primary reason for nose surgery is a nasal obstruction that’s making it difficult to breathe, rhinoplasty may be combined with septal deviation (septoplasty). Performed under local or general anesthesia, the additional procedure corrects deformities or abnormalities within the nose’s interior chambers and restores the ability to breathe easier.
After Nose Surgery
Post-surgery, absorbent gauze (“packing”), bandages, or a splint may be placed around the nose to protect it as it heals. Recovery usually involves allowing the nose to naturally heal. Medications may be prescribed to minimize discomfort. Showering is generally permitted shortly after surgery as long as efforts are made to avoid getting the nose and any coverings placed on it wet. Sponge-bathing is also allowed.
Sneezing and Coughing Post-Surgery
While sneezing and coughing are involuntary actions and not always avoidable, efforts should be made to keep the mouth open when either of these actions is anticipated to avoid excessive pressure on nasal passages. Monitoring will continue as the nose heals and any support coverings will be removed.
Results from nose surgery will vary from one person to the next. However, the odds of having a positive experience with rhinoplasty can be increased if you go into the procedure with a clear, realistic idea of what you can expect. An ear, nose, and throat specialist can walk you through the steps involved and answer your questions so you can feel more confident with your decision to have nose surgery.