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Rhinoplasty can reduce or increase the size of your nose, change the shape of the tip or the bridge, narrow the span of the nostrils, or change the angle between your nose and your upper lip. It may also correct a birth defect or injury, or help relieve some breathing problems.
The surgery for cosmetic or functional rhinoplasty can take two to three hours. The majority of cuts are located inside the nostrils, however in some situations a tiny incision may be made on the underside of the nose between the nostrils. The incisions heal fast and the scars are almost invisible. A cast will be put on your nose after the surgery and soft dressing may be placed inside the nostrils if there is any bleeding and could be removed on the same day or the next.
The Highlights of the Rhinoplasty
The definition of rhinoplasty is, literally, shaping the nose. First, incisions are made and the bone and cartilage support system of the nose is accessed. The majority of incisions are made inside the nose, where they are invisible. In some cases, an incision is made in the area of skin separating the nostrils. Next, certain amounts of underlying bone and cartilage are removed, added to, or rearranged to provide a newly shaped structure. For example, when the tip of the nose is too large, the surgeon can sculpt the cartilage in this area to reduce it in size. The angle of the nose in relation to the upper lip can be altered for a more youthful look or to correct a distortion. The tissues are then redraped over the new frame and the incisions are closed. A splint is applied to the outside of the nose to help retain the new shape while the nose heals. Soft, absorbent material may be used inside the nose to maintain stability along the dividing wall of the air passages called the septum. Alternatively, soft nasal supports that permit nasal breathing post-operatively can be placed.
What to Expect After the Surgery
Immediately after surgery, a small splint will be placed on your nose to protect it and to keep the structure stable for five to eight days. If packing is placed inside the nose during surgery, it is removed the morning following the surgery. Your face will feel puffy,especially the first day after surgery. Pain medication may be required. Your surgeon will advise you to avoid blowing your nose for seven days after surgery. In the immediate days following surgery, you may experience bruising and minor swelling in the eye area. Cold compresses often reduce the bruising and discomfort. Absorbable sutures are usually used that do not have to be removed. Nasal dressing and splints are usually removed six or seven days after surgery.
It is crucial that you follow your surgeon's directions, especially instructions to keep your head elevated for a certain period after surgery. Some activities will be prohibited in the weeks after the procedure. Sun exposure, exertion, and risk of injury must be avoided. If you wear glasses, special arrangements must be made to ensure that the glasses do not rest on the bridge of the nose. Tape and other devices are sometimes used to permit wearing glasses without stressing the area where surgery was performed.