Rhinoplasty

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Issued November 2017

Expires end of December 2018

This document will give you information about a rhinoplasty. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is a rhinoplasty?

A rhinoplasty (or ‘nose job’) is an operation to change the appearance of your nose. Sometimes a rhinoplasty is performed to improve how you breathe through your nose. It involves operating on the bones and cartilage that give your nose its shape and structure (see figure 1).

What are the benefits of surgery?

Most people who have a successful rhinoplasty are more comfortable with their appearance. Your nose should be the size and shape you want, and it may relieve any symptoms of a blocked nose.

Are there any alternatives to a rhinoplasty?

A rhinoplasty is the only way to change the appearance of your nose.

If you have a blocked nose because your nasal bones are crooked or damaged, or the cartilage and bone inside your nose that separates your nostrils (septum) is deviated (bent), you may be able to have a septoplasty to improve how you breathe. A rhinoplasty can be performed at the same time to change the appearance of your nose.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes.

Your surgeon can refine the tip of your nose by removing some of the cartilage. If you have a hump (dorsum) on your nose, they can remove it or shave it down. Your surgeon will usually need to break the base of the bones on the side of your nose so they can narrow and set them. Your surgeon may need to rebuild part of your nose.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clots

2 Specific complications

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Redness
  • Bleeding caused by infection
  • Injury to nerves
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Cosmetic problems
  • Graft rejection
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Toxic shock syndrome

How soon will I recover?

If you had some packing in your nose, it will usually be removed the next morning.You may get a nosebleed for up to 15 minutes. Once this has settled you should be able to go home.

You will need to stay off work and away from groups of people for two weeks to avoid catching a cold, which could result in an infection. Do not exercise, have a hot bath or bend down for two weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

It can take many months for your nose to settle and for the final appearance to develop.

Summary

A rhinoplasty is an operation to change the appearance of your nose and sometimes to improve how you breathe through your nose. You should have realistic expectations about the results.

Acknowledgements

Author: Miss Ruth Capper MD FRCS (ORL-HNS), Mr Eoin O'Broin MD FRCS (Plast.) and Mr Paul Roblin MSc FRCS (Plast.)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Eoin O' Broin

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.