We have all heard the term ‘nose job’. In the medical world, this procedure is called a rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty is a type of surgery that involves changing the shape of the nose and improving its appearance and function. It is conducted for a variety of different reasons including a deviated nasal septum, problems with breathing and even for cosmetic reasons.
In this article, we shall take a brief look at rhinoplasty as a surgery, the reasons why it is performed and the possible complications associated with it.
Why get a nose job?
Many of the reasons to get a nose job are either medically indicated or due to personal reasons. The former includes conditions such as deviation of the septum which divides the nose into two halves. This deviation can result in difficulty breathing and recurrent infections. Rhinoplasty helps correct these abnormalities.
Other medical reasons why rhinoplasty is conducted include –
- Birth defects such as cleft lip and palate
- Inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes (called allergic rhinitis)
- Burn injuries
- Fracture of the nasal bone due to trauma
- Cancers of the nasal passage
- Damage due to illicit drugs such as cocaine
Some individuals wish to change the way that nose looks. This can be achieved through rhinoplasty surgery.
How is the procedure performed?
Before a rhinoplasty procedure is performed, a detailed assessment of the nasal structure of the patient is conducted. Different angles are measured and measurements around the nose are also taken to ensure that the final result is perfect.
Most cases of rhinoplasty surgery are performed as an outpatient and do not require admission to hospital. It may be performed under general anaesthetic, though in some cases a local anaesthetic is sufficient. Mild sedation is often offered to the patient in case the procedure is done under local anaesthesia.
Once the anaesthetic agent has been administered, the area where the surgery is due to be performed is cleaned with antiseptic solution and an incision is made within the nostril. Depending on what degree of change is required, the incision may be extended around the nose as well. The incision exposes the underlying cartilage that forms the main part of the nostril. Excessive cartilage is identified and unwanted bone is excised out in order to re-shapen the nose.
The duration the procedure takes depends upon how much surgery is required. Once the procedure is complete, the insides the area is sutured back and the area is cleaned and dressed.
The video below demonstrates how rhinoplasty is performed.
There are two main types of rhinoplasty procedures. A reduction rhinoplasty refers to a type of surgery that involves making the nose smaller. Bone and cartilage is removed and the nose is reshapened. The other type of rhinoplasty is called augmentation rhinoplasty. This type of procedure involves adding bulk to the nose by inserting a small amount of bone tissue or cartilage or even artificial implants into the nose.
After the procedure
Following a rhinoplasty, the patient is observed for a short period of time until the anaesthetic agent wears off. If all is well, the patient is discharged home.
There are certain things to expect and observe after undergoing rhinoplasty surgery. Patients will be advised to wear a nasal splint for 7 to 10 days in order to keep the nasal bones in place and promote healing. Keeping the head up when sleeping at night is advised. A minor amount of bleeding and bruising around the site is to be expected. Some patients develop mild swelling as well but this often passes with time. It can take up to 2 to 3 weeks to completely heal, though in some cases it can take up to 6 months.
Patients are also advice to avoid blowing their nose for up to 2 weeks following surgery as this can cause trauma to the site of surgery resulting in some amount of bleeding and bruising. Contact sports such as rugby and football must be avoided until the area has healed completely.
Take a look at what this doctor has to say about recovery following surgery –
Patients are advised to take some rest for 6 to 7 weeks following the operation. Scars from the procedure are rarely noticeable as they are within the nostril and it is highly unlikely anybody would notice that you have undergone nasal surgery, although it may be evident that the nose is cosmetically in a lot more attractive!
Benefits of rhinoplasty
The benefits depend entirely on why the patient underwent the procedure in the first place. If the procedure was performed for cosmetic reasons, patients find that they have a new-found confidence and an increased self-esteem. Those who had difficulty breathing or medical problems due to deviated nasal septum will find their symptoms are significantly better.
The video below demonstrates a patient’s experience with rhinoplasty.
Risks and side effects
A rhinoplasty is a relatively safe procedure. The common risks that occur are actually fairly rare and can include bleeding following the surgery and mild bruising. In some occasions, patients may develop an infection at the site of surgery which can eventually lead to the formation of an abscess. This requires antibiotic treatment and sometimes even surgery. Healing of the tissues may occur in an abnormal fashion resulting in excessive scarring and a misshapen nose. Sometimes, if too much cartilage is taken out, the nose can collapse and look like a ‘Parrot’s beak’.
It is important to bear in mind that these complications are rare. Rhinoplasty is performed by expert surgeons and the results are usually excellent.
Rhinoplasty is a commonly performed procedure. It is indicated for a variety of reasons that include not just medical causes but even cosmetic reasons. The procedure is simple and straightforward and is performed under local or general anaesthesia, not requiring admission to hospital. The risks and side effects are minimal and the end result is often more than satisfactory.
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