Nose surgery, also known as rhinoplasty, is designed to reshape or repair the nose by improving the appearance and/or function of the nose.
Another procedure associated with rhinoplasty and often performed at the same time is septoplasty, a procedure that opens up nasal passages blocked by a bent septum. Nose surgery may be performed for cosmetic reasons or for reconstructive purposes, such as correcting breathing problems.
Nose surgery can change the size of the nose as well as its width and profile. The nose tip, shape of the nostrils and balance of the nose (nasal symmetry) can also be altered.
How is it done?
A nose job is usually done as an outpatient procedure, meaning there is no overnight stay. You’ll get general or local anaesthesia. With general anaesthesia, you’ll sleep through the operation. With local anaesthesia, you will be sedated and your nose will be numbed so you are relaxed and unable to feel the pain.
During an operation, the surgeon makes cuts within the nostrils. In more difficult cases, the surgeon may also make cuts across the base of the nose. The surgeon then reshapes the inner bone and cartilage to produce a more pleasing appearance.
Why is it done?
Straighten a crooked nose
Make the nose look more symmetrical (keeping in mind that perfect symmetry is not always possible)
Make the nose a little smaller or larger
Restore the height of a flattened area
Alter the appearance of the nasal tip
Reduce the size of large nasal openings
Correct a hump deformity Improve the look of the nose in relation to the upper lip
Correct birth defects
Repair damage caused by injury
Repair damage caused by disease, such as infection or cancer
Open up nasal passages and improve breathing often by performing a septoplasty (surgery on the nasal septum as well as rhinoplasty)
What should I do before?
Prepare a “recovery area” in your home. This may include pillows, ice packs, a thermometer and a telephone within easy reach. Make sure you arrange for a relative or friend to drive you to and from the hospital or clinic. Someone should also stay with you for at least 24 hours after you return home. It is very important that your recovery area is clean and ideally pet-free, to minimise the chances of infection.
For the best results and minimal complications, you are strongly advised to stop smoking, at least for 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after your surgery.
Your surgeon will give detailed preoperative instructions. Follow them carefully. You may chose to take advantage of our natural therapies to maximise the benefits of your treatment.
You will also be asked to provide a complete medical history for your surgeon including any health problems you have had, any medication you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have. Your surgeon will also advise you if any other tests are required, such as blood tests, X-ray examinations or ECGs.
You may be advised to stop taking certain medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and medicines that contain aspirin. You may also be asked to stop taking naturopathic substances such as garlic, ginko, ginseng and St John’s Wort as they may affect clotting and anaesthesia. Always tell your surgeon EVERYTHING you are taking.
You may be given medicines to take before the surgery, such as natural therapies.
What should I expect after?
After surgery, your nostrils may be packed with cotton or soft splints to help align the nasal septum. You may have a splint taped to the outside of your nose to encourage the nose to keep its new shape while it heals.
You may experience pain, headaches, inability to breathe through the nose and facial puffiness. Elevating your head will help these side effects to settle. Rest in bed with your head on a few pillows for the first 48 hours. Using an ice pack will also help reduce swelling. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication as required.
Do not blow your nose for at least seven days or rub your nose for a minimum of eight weeks. It is also important to protect your nose from sunburn and accidental knocks for at least eight weeks.
Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, swimming and strenuous sports until advised by your surgeon.
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on post-operative care.
As with all surgical procedures, revisional surgery may be necessary to correct minor irregularities.
What are possible complications?
Some general risks and complications of surgery may include:
Bleeding from an operated site
Infection that may require treatment with antibiotics or further surgery in some cases
Allergic reaction to sutures, dressings or antiseptic solutions
The formation of a large blood clot (haematoma) beneath an incision site that may require drainage
Pain, bruising and swelling around the operated site(s)
Keloids and hypertrophic scars that are raised, red and thickened scars. These may form over the healed incisions. They may be itchy, annoying and unsightly but are not a threat to health
Slow healing, often related to smoking or diabetes
Separation of wound edges
Short-term nausea following general anaesthesia and other risks related to anaesthesia
Some specific risks and complications associated with nose surgery include:
Nose may feel numb or have altered sensation after the bruising and swelling subside
The upper front teeth may feel numb temporarily
The nose’s appearance may be unsatisfactory and require revisional surgery
Sense of smell may be impaired, and in rare cases lost or distorted
The nose may be slightly swollen for months
Skin under the eyes may be darkened for a period of over six months
Underlying support structure of the nose may be weak and cause the nose to flatten
An implant (if one was inserted) may extrude into the nose or through the skin
Major airways may become narrowed, causing difficulty in breathing through the nose
How much will it cost?
The cost depends on the anaesthetic fee, private hospital fee, private operating facility fee, extent of surgery required, whether this procedure is carried out at the same time as other procedures, and many other factors. The only accurate way to give you a reasonable estimate is to assess your needs when you visit us.
How much time off work will I need?
Most people require two weeks of time off work. We strongly recommend no strenuous exercise for 6 weeks after surgery.
If your work is very strenuous, you may choose to return to modified duties for a few weeks to aid in your recovery.