by Dr. Michael Schwartz
Although it’s one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures out there, a lot of misinformation is floating around about rhinoplasty. In some cases, people are fuzzy on the details and just don’t know all the facts about the surgery. In others, it’s because certain bits of information get passed along and take on a life of their own. If you’ve long thought about rhinoplasty, here a few fun facts you might not know about the surgery.
There Are Multiple Ways to Perform Rhinoplasty
Generally speaking, there are two major ways a plastic surgeon can perform a nose job. The open technique involves making a small incision across the columella, the tissue that separates the two nostrils. The surgeon can then open the top of the nose to make adjustments and changes. Using the open technique allows the surgeon better access to the inside of the nose. It also leaves a small scar on the outside of the nose.
In contrast, the closed technique involves making incisions on the inside of the nose only. Many patients think that the closed technique is preferable, since there’s no external scarring, but the truth is that whether open or closed is better depends on the desired changes. An open surgery might allow the surgeon to make sufficient changes to the structure of the nose to create the look you want, while a closed surgery might limit your options. It’s also worth noting that the small scar that is left after an open surgery is usually in a well hidden area and is often so small that few people notice it.
It Can Be About Form and Function
Many people assume that rhinoplasty is a purely cosmetic treatment. The reality is a bit different, though. Although you can have a nose job for purely cosmetic reasons, people often have the surgery to improve some part of their nasal function. For example, if you have a deviated septum, a surgeon might perform a combination septoplasty, which corrects the septum, and rhinoplasty, to further improve breathing function.
When a rhinoplasty is performed to correct a functional issue with the nose, it’s known as a functional rhinoplasty. In some cases, insurance might even offer full or partial coverage of the surgery when it’s performed for a medical reason.
The Recovery Can Be Less Intense Than You’d Expect
Since it is surgery, rhinoplasty does require some recovery. Many people take about a week off from work to rest up and heal after the surgery. But, thanks to advancements in the way surgeons perform rhinoplasty, the actual recovery period might be less intense and more comfortable that you think it will be. For example, many surgeons don’t remove bone or cartilage during the surgery and avoid the use of nasal packing afterwards, which greatly improves your comfort.
Additionally, your surgeon is likely to prescribe pain medications after surgery which can also help ease discomfort.
A Revision Can Correct Rhinoplasty Gone Wrong
Sometimes, a rhinoplasty doesn’t produce the results you expected. Additionally, injury or changes to the nose after the surgery can affect the results. While few people relish the idea of having to have two surgeries, if you aren’t completely happy with your results or if your nose is damaged after your first surgery, a revision surgery might be able to improve your results.
If you think you might need a revision, it’s important to give your nose enough time to heal after your initial rhinoplasty. It can occasionally take several months for swelling to diminish after the first surgery and for the final results to appear. Depending on the reasons for a revision, you might want to choose a new surgeon or see your first one, as long as he also specializes in revision nasal surgery.
Certain Things Are Off Limits While You Recover
Some of the things that are off limits during initial rhinoplasty recovery probably won’t surprise you. For example, you’ll be asked to avoid swimming or other types of exercise for a few weeks after your surgery. You’ll also want to avoid sleeping on your stomach and smoking.
Other things that are off limits might be a bit surprising. For example, you’ll need to avoid blowing your nose for at least a week after rhinoplasty, if not longer. You’ll also want to avoid putting any weight or pressure on the nose for several weeks, which includes wearing glasses. Some people tape their glasses just above the nose, so that they aren’t putting weight on the bridge. You can also switch to contacts during your recovery period.