Rhinoplasty is a reconstructive and cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the function and appearance of a person’s nose. It can be performed to correct birth defects, deformity from injury, breathing problems – or simply to improve facial symmetry and enhance the appearance.
In some cases, there may be an internal deformity of the nose that can affect breathing. This may be due to an irregularity in the septum (the central structure of cartilage and bone that separates the two sides of the nose) or the turbinates (structures protruding internally from the lateral walls of the nose). Adjustment of these structures to improve the nasal airway may be made at the same time as any aesthetic alterations.
Is Rhinoplasty right for you?
Rhinoplasty is an option for people who would like to change:
- Nose size, in relation to the other facial structures
- Nose width, at the bridge
- Nose profile, to correct visible humps or depressions on the bridge
- A nasal tip that is large or bulbous, drooping, or too upturned
- Nostrils that are large, wide or upturned
- Nasal asymmetry and deviation
During consultation, digital pictures are taken and run through computer software to simulate the approximate, realistic result of your rhinoplasty. This will allow you to understand what the procedure can do for you, and give Dr. Lanfranchi a better feel of the results you would like to achieve.
Although there is no age limit for rhinoplasty, the earliest recommended age for this procedure is the mid-teens, when the nose is near full development.
How is the surgery performed?
Rhinoplasty involves reshaping the nose by adjusting its supporting structures either by removing or adding bone and cartilage.
Reshaping is generally done through incisions inside the nose, but depending on the type of nose and the reshaping to be done, there might also be an incision passing across the central portion of the nose between the nostrils.
Through these incisions, the soft tissues that cover the nose are gently raised, allowing the surgeon access to the underlying structure. The nasal structure is then either reduced, or augmented with the use of cartilage grafted from other areas of your body. Most commonly, cartilage from the septum, the partition in the middle of the nose, is used for this purpose.
If the septum is deviated, it is straightened (septoplasty) and the projections inside the nose (turbinates) are reduced to improve breathing (turbinate surgical reduction).
Once the underlying structure of the nose is sculpted to the desired shape, the skin and soft tissues are then re-draped over the newly created “scaffolding” and incisions are closed.
It is sometimes necessary to narrow the base of the nose or reduce the size of the nostrils. This entails removing small wedges of skin at the base of the nostrils. The resulting scars usually fade very well and, ultimately, should be barely noticeable.
What to expect after surgery
After surgery, you will need to stay overnight at our facility under the direct observation of a private nurse. Local cryotherapy will be applied to reduce edema and bruising. The morning after surgery, Dr. Lanfranchi will see you to change the dressings and determine whether you can be discharged to the recovery facility.
There is usually no pain after a rhinoplasty, and most patients only experience discomfort because they cannot breathe through the nose. Some swelling and bruising are to be expected; however these should subside after a few days.
You will have to wear a nose splint and rest as much as possible for one week after the surgery. Vigorous physical activity should be avoided for at least 15 days. Sun exposure should also be avoided, as this can contribute to increasing the post-operative edema.
While you may notice gradual changes over the next few months, it may take up to a year for your new nasal contour to fully refine. Dr. Lanfranchi advises that you reserve judgment on your rhinoplasty until your nose has had an opportunity to fully heal and settle. Often the best compliment you can receive from your family and friends is that your nose does not appear very different. Remember – the intention of the rhinoplasty is for your “new nose” to blend in naturally with your face.
Risks of Nose Surgery
Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk. Although most patients do not experience complications, it is important to understand the risks, potential complications, and consequences of rhinoplasty.
Bleeding – Although this is highly unusual, some patients may experience problems with bleeding during or after surgery. Medical conditions such as hypertension may cause bleeding during or after surgery, so a physical checkup is required before surgery can be scheduled. Patients are also advised not to take any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications for ten days before surgery, as this contributes to a greater risk of bleeding.
Infection – Infection is unusual after this surgery, and prophylactic antibiotics are used to avoid this complication.
Unsatisfactory results – Some patients may be disappointed with the results of surgery. Although this is infrequent, it might be necessary to perform additional surgery to improve results.
Other potential risks include poor wound healing, nose asymmetry, numbness or a change in skin sensation, nose asymmetry and unfavorable scarring. Dr. Lanfranchi will discuss all the possible risks in detail at your consultation.
For more information about Rhinoplasty, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.