As you drop your children at the school gate, they remind you that it’s school photo day. You smile, give them each a big hug and tell them to smile and laugh at the camera. Walking up the school path, the ten year old strikes poses while the eight year old pretends to take photos of her.
Driving to work you remember what your school photo days were like. Your mum braided your hair tightly, checked your teeth and told you to tilt your head to the left. You never understood why she said this until school photo day in grade five. Lining up for the individual photos, you overheard the grade six girls talking about you. “She’s got such an ugly, weird shaped nose…like the wicked witches…or Pinocchio!”
Blinking away tears as you forced a smile out, you wondered why they were being so mean to you. While your grandmother said your nose came from her side of the family, you’d never really thought about the size or shape of it.
At home that night, you locked the bathroom door and found your mother’s cosmetic mirror. Standing on the footstool, you positioned the mirror so you could see your face side on. And that’s when you burst into tears. The grade six girls were right – your nose was wonky and long.
No matter how many hours you spent staring into the mirror, trying to figure out how to look ‘normal’ in a photo, it never worked. But a few years later after year 12, your parents gave you the best gift ever. Knowing how much you hated your nose and the impact it had confidence and your social life, they paid for your nose job. And while your friends were partying after the year 12 exams, you were in hospital, having a rhinoplasty operation.
What is rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty (or ‘nose job’) involves operating on the cartilage and bones that give your nose its shape. While a rhinoplasty procedure is commonly done to reshape and resize the nose, it can also be performed to correct breathing problems.
Rhinoplasty surgery will alter your nose size including:
- The width of the bridge,
- The position of the nasal tip,
- The size of the nostrils,
- The appearance of depressions or humps, and
- Correct any asymmetries.
While nose job surgery is usually effective and safe, complications can happen. It’s important to make a well-informed decision and have realistic expectations about your rhinoplasty results.
Why do people get rhinoplasty surgery?
While the function of your nose is very important, visually the nose is the focus of your face and will influence your appearance. A lot of people are dissatisfied with their nose, in terms of its appearance, effectiveness for breathing – or both.
Just like everyone’s face is unique, so is their nose. Some anatomic appearances of the nose are possible to change, and others are not. Nose problems can be inherited, stem from an injury, or arise from other conditions.
A rhinoplasty surgeon will assess your nose in relation to other facial features. They can then plan specific modifications to improve its appearance and/or function.
During the consultation with your surgeon, they’ll spend considerable time discussing which nasal features you dislike and like, and what changes will be possible. You may be shown various visual aids to help you understand the rhinoplasty procedure and likely result. These include intraoperative pictures, anatomic diagrams, and computer imaging.
It is very important that you and the Plastic Surgeon understand and agree upon the aims of the rhinoplasty operation. Well informed patients, good communication and clear surgical plans are the keys to success for patients having a nose job. You can read more details about rhinoplasty surgery here.
Must know facts about rhinoplasty surgery
Because nose reshaping is a complex surgery, it’s important to choose your rhinoplasty surgeon carefully. It’s also important to have realistic expectations about your rhinoplasty surgery. While you may want a specific style nose, it may look awkward on you.
Here are some other facts about nose job surgery:
- Most patients can resume driving the car seven to 14 days after rhinoplasty surgery if they can see and function normally and aren’t taking strong painkillers.
- Following a nose job, heavy exercise should be avoided for at least three to six weeks.
- Rhinoplasty surgery complications include bleeding that requires a return to the operating theatre, infections, prolonged swelling, nasal airway obstruction, septal perforation, shape irregularity or asymmetry.
- After rhinoplasty, some patients report they go through a variety of emotions and moods. As recovery progresses, and the postoperative period of swelling and bruising passes, most patients feel positive and normal again.
Is rhinoplasty the only nose surgery available?
There are two types of rhinoplasty surgery available: closed rhinoplasty and open rhinoplasty. Closed Rhinoplasty is technique where the surgeon elects to make all the nasal shape changes via incisions inside the nose, with no external incisions. Open Rhinoplasty is a technique where the surgeon elects to elevate the nasal skin in order to see the nasal skeleton during the surgery. This involves making an incision inside each nostril, joined by an incision externally across the columella (the thin bridge of tissue at the bottom of the nose between the nostrils).
When you’re researching rhinoplasty surgery, you may come across other nose surgeries including:
Septoplasty: Performed on its own, internally, without any rhinoplasty if the septum is crooked and blocking the nasal airway but the nose is straight on the outside and does not need a shape change.
Septorhinoplasty: Performed if the nose is crooked from the front view, and a shape change is desired, or if the crookedness (deviation) of the septum is both blocking the nose and is making the nose crooked in external appearance.
Turbinectomy: The turbinates are trimmed to make more room for air to improve breathing. A Turbinectomy has nothing to do with the external shape of the nose.
Sinus surgery: An operation to open up and allow the sinuses to drain better. Sinus surgery has nothing to do with the external shape of the nose.
Does getting a nose job hurt?
Patients who have had rhinoplasty say that the nose job is more frustrating than painful. After the operation, there will be swelling and changes in your breathing that will require you to sleep upright. To reduce any pain, you will be given prescription pain medication for the first few days after your nose job. If your surgeon has used nasal packing to control the bleeding, this can be painful to remove.
What’s the recovery time for rhinoplasty surgery?
While some patients return home on the day of their nose job surgery, others stay in hospital overnight. Pain and discomfort on the first day is likely but for most patients is not severe.
At home, it’s important to set yourself up in a comfortable couch, bed or chair with your head elevated. If bleeding occurs following surgery sitting quietly with ice packs on your cheeks can control it. If the bleeding is persistent or it seems severe, you should contact your surgeon immediately. Facial bruising is normal for patients after rhinoplasty. The extent of bruising will vary for each person and will usually fade within 14 days.
Most rhinoplasty patients take two weeks off work and driving can be resumed once you’re comfortable, can react quickly if necessary, are not taking strong painkillers and can see normally. This usually takes five to seven days.
How do you choose a rhinoplasty surgeon?
The best rhinoplasty results will look like the nose is the perfect shape and size for the face. And because your nose is the most prominent part of your face, it’s important to take your time when researching rhinoplasty surgeons.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential nose job doctors, we suggest you make at least two appointments to consult with them. During the consultation, ask the rhinoplasty surgeon what experience and how many rhinoplasty operations they perform every year. It’s also important to see photos of their before and after patients.
Today rhinoplasty surgery results are more predictable, effective and accurate than ever before. With the right combination of surgical skill and favourable tissue, rhinoplasty can produce a natural looking, beautiful nose.