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Rhinoplasty

Expires end of January 2021

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.

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.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible. 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 (infracture). This will also allow your surgeon to straighten your nose.

Your surgeon may need to support or rebuild part of your nose using a cartilage graft, a bone graft or an artificial implant.

Your surgeon may pack the inside of your nose to prevent bleeding, and place a splint and strapping on the outside of your nose for support.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • Bruising of your nose and under your eyes
  • Swelling of your nose
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Redness
  • Bleeding caused by infection
  • Damage to nerves that supply the skin at the tip of your nose
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Cosmetic problems
  • Graft rejection
  • Problems at the donor site
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Toxic shock syndrome, which is an infection of your bloodstream

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

If you had some packing in your nose, it will usually be removed the next morning.

You will need to stay off work and away from groups of people for 2 weeks. This is to avoid catching a cold, which could result in an infection.

Your surgeon will remove the splint and strapping after a week.

Do not exercise, have a hot bath or bend down for 2 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.

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.

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