One of the most common plastic surgery procedures, rhinoplasty is performed to reshape, reduce or augment a person's nose, remove a hump, narrow nostril width, change the angle between the nose and the mouth, or to correct injury, birth defects, or other problems that affect breathing. Results depend on the patient's nasal bone and cartilage structure, facial shape, skin thickness and age (teenagers should have had their growth spurt). Insurance may cover rhinoplasty if it is done for reconstructive or medical reasons, but likely not for cosmetic purposes.
Rhinoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure performed under either local or general anesthesia and lasts one to two hours unless more extensive work needs to be done.
Surgeons use one of two techniques: the incision is either made within the nostrils, thus hiding scars after surgery, or across the columella (the vertical strip of tissue separating the nostrils) in an "open" procedure, where scars are small and hidden on the underside of the base. In both procedures the skin is lifted, the bone and cartilage sculpted, and the skin replaced and stitched closed.
For a short time after surgery you may experience puffiness, nose ache or a dull headache, some swelling and bruising, bleeding or stuffiness. Most patients feel like themselves within two days and return to work in about a week. Contact lenses can be worn immediately but glasses will have to be taped to your forehead or propped on your cheeks for up to seven weeks.
Complications are rare and, when they occur, minor. These may include infection, nosebleed, or a reaction to the anesthesia.