Rhinoplasty (nose surgery) is one of the most frequently performed plastic surgery procedures. During rhinoplasty, the nose is reshaped, reduced or augmented to improve its appearance. Rhinoplasty may be performed to correct a birth defect, or repair an injury such as a broken nose. It is also often performed strictly for cosmetic reasons.
For a patient with ongoing sinusitis, rhinoplasty is sometimes performed in conjunction with endoscopic sinus surgery; for a patient with a deviated septum, it is often performed along with septoplasty, a procedure that corrects a deviated septum. In such cases, rhinoplasty effectively treats health and breathing problems, in addition to improving the patient‘s appearance.
Candidates for Rhinoplasty
Candidates for rhinoplasty have finished their facial growth. Girls should typically be at least 15 or 16 years old; boys should be at least 17 or 18. Patients considering rhinoplasty should be in overall good health and not smoke. It is important that candidates have realistic expectations about what rhinoplasty can do. Although undergoing rhinoplasty may boost self-confidence, it should not be viewed as a cure-all for personality or relationship issues, and should not be the result of social pressure.
Goals of Rhinoplasty
There are several goals of rhinoplasty; they include facilitating breathing as well as improving appearance. During rhinoplasty, the surgeon may attempt to do one or more of the following:
- Remove a hump
- Modify the bridge
- Reshape the tip
- Reshape or resize the nostrils
- Repair an injury
- Open breathing passages
- Increase or decrease size
Rhinoplasty can involve modifying bone, skin or cartilage, or all three.
The Rhinoplasty Procedure
Rhinoplasty, which takes from 1 to 2 hours, is usually an outpatient procedure performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia. Two techniques are typically used. In closed rhinoplasty, incisions are made within the nostrils. In open rhinoplasty, an incision is made across the columella, the tissue between the nostrils. With both methods, the soft tissues covering the nose are gently lifted, and the bone and cartilage are sculpted to the desired shape.
If additional cartilage is needed to augment the nose, it is frequently taken from the patient‘s nasal septum. If larger sections of tissue are required, cartilage may be surgically removed from the ear or other parts of the body as well. If the patient has a deviated septum, the septum and inner structures of the nose are adjusted to improve breathing. The tissues are then redraped and stitched closed. If necessary, nostrils are reshaped in the final stage of rhinoplasty.