What is a rhinoplasty?
The term rhinoplasty (also known as a “nose job”) refers to surgery to alter the form and function of the nose. The nose has complex anatomy and essential function, making the procedure particularly challenging. In fact, rhinoplasty is one of the most intricate of all cosmetic surgeries. Nevertheless, it can be extremely rewarding for both surgeons and patients when the desired results are achieved.
There are two fundamental goals of rhinoplasty:
- Improve nasal breathing
- Change the appearance of the nose
Why Get a Rhinoplasty?
There are a variety of reasons why patients desire rhinoplasty. Often patients want a smaller, straighter nose. Whether it is removing a dorsal hump (a bump on the bridge of the nose) or making the tip less bulbous, the rhinoplasty surgeon can accomplish these goals with delicate changes and carefully considered alterations to contour the shape of the nose.
Patients may alternatively seek a rhinoplasty to improve nasal function. The job of the nose includes, of course, breathing! The nose warms and humidifies air before it is delivered to the lungs. Additionally, the nose is responsible for olfaction, or sense of smell. Even if a patient presents to a plastic surgeon with interest in a rhinoplasty for solely cosmetic reasons, it is our task to maintain the nose’s function.
What affects outcomes of rhinoplasty?
To achieve the goals of surgery, several factors must be considered. Prior trauma or surgery can alter the framework of a patient’s nose, as well as limit the amount of grafting material available to the surgeon. Various medical conditions can also affect healing. Diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as lifestyle factors including smoking and excessive alcohol or drug use, can negatively impact outcomes. The quality of a patient’s skin and overall facial structure also play a role in what is possible to attain. The surgeon must keep in mind the patient’s desires when it comes to the appearance of his or her nose.
Managing Expectations of Rhinoplasty: Improvement Not Perfection
It is important for patients and surgeons to recognize the limitations of surgery, while still expecting excellent results. Sometimes the mental image of the nose a patient wishes for is simply not possible. For instance, straightening a crooked nose can be one of the most difficult aspects of rhinoplasty. However, there are many methods to achieve improvement and in the hands of an experienced and skilled surgeon, patients will be delighted with their results.
Rhinoplasty is typically an outpatient surgery lasting usually between two and three hours. While initial swelling of the nose dramatically improves in the first few weeks after surgery, the final product takes at least one year to appreciate. It is a procedure that should not be taken lightly, but it can be one of the most rewarding.
Why Schedule Your Consultation at Vanguard?
Whether seeking a change in form, function, or both, it is best to have an in-depth discussion with your plastic surgeon about goals and expectations. Have an honest conversation with your surgeon to help understand what is realistic.
Our goal at Vanguard is to achieve understanding and trust between our surgeons and you, our patient. That is when we realize our most gratifying results.
As a facial plastic surgeon, my aim has always been to help patients attain a look and function that makes their lives better. I chose this profession because it requires a sense of artistry and precision along with extensive knowledge of human anatomy. If you are interested in pursuing a rhinoplasty, I would be honored to meet with you and discuss your vision.
Sabrina Brody-Camp, MD is a board-certified otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon. She has special interests in facial reconstruction as well as cosmetic facial plastic surgery, including rhinoplasty and aging face. She serves patients out of Vanguard’s Briargate and Pueblo offices.