Rhinoplasty, or nasal surgery, is one of the most commonly performed aesthetic surgeries. Various surgical techniques are used to alter the visual appearance of the nose along a number of structural and cosmetic variables.
Rhinoplasty can be used to increase or decrease the size or width of the nose, alter the profile and bridge, refine the shape of the tip, narrow the span of the nostrils, change the angle between the base of the nose and upper lip, or correct cosmetic imperfections from a birth defect or injury. In some cases, rhinoplasty can effectively correct breathing difficulties caused by a deviated septum or similar irregularity. Rhinoplasty results in enhanced facial balance and symmetry.
Rhinoplasty is performed under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Incisions are well concealed and either made inside the nose (called a closed procedure) or on the columella, the strip of tissue separating the nostrils (open procedure).
In some cases, a small amount of cartilage or bone will be removed to reduce the overall size of the nose. Other times, cartilage from the ear or rib may be grafted to the nose to achieve a more complex contour. Once the desired shape has been sculpted, nasal skin is redraped to enhance smoothness and reduce scarring. Rhinoplasty typically takes two to four hours and is performed under general anesthesia.
Risks associated with rhinoplasty are minimal. Possible side effects include infection, visible scarring, difficulty breathing, and in very rare cases, nasal septal perforation, where a hole develops in the nasal septum. Nasal septal perforation may require a second corrective surgery.
As an outpatient procedure, most patients typically return home the same day as the operation. Splints and gauze normally support the reconstructed nose during early stage of recovery. Many patients will experience swelling and bruising around the eyes, which can be minimized with a cold compress. It is normal for some blood to periodically leak for a couple of days, and swelling and stuffiness of the nose is expected for several weeks. Patients typically return to work after about a week.
It will take a few weeks for the aesthetic results to become visible, but it may take six months to a year for all the swelling to resolve. Patients may resume light daily activities on several days after surgery, and most patients return to school or work after one to three weeks. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for one month, and contact sports must be avoided for at least three to six months.
Insurance usually does not cover rhinoplasty for cosmetic purposes, but may cover rhinoplasty for reconstructive or medical reasons. Dr. Potter will work with you and your insurance to determine if your insurance will cover the procedure.
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