|Rhinoplasty, or surgery to reshape the nose, is one of the most common of all plastic surgery procedures. Rhinoplasty can reduce or increase the size of your nose, change the shape of the tip or the bridge, narrow the span of the nostrils, or change the angle between your nose and your upper lip. It may also correct a birth defect or injury, or help relieve some breathing problems.|
Rhinoplasty can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations.
The best candidates for rhinoplasty are people who are looking for improvement, not perfection, in the way they look. If you're physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in your expectations, you may be a good candidate. Rhinoplasty can be performed to meet aesthetic goals or for reconstructive purposes-to correct birth defects or breathing problems. Age may also be a consideration. Most surgeons prefer not to operate on teenagers until after they've completed their growth spurt-around 14 or 15 for girls, a bit later for boys. It's important to consider teenagers' social and emotional adjustment, too, and to make sure it's what they, and not their parents, really want.
Most insurance policies don't cover purely cosmetic surgery; however, if the procedure is performed for reconstructive purposes, to correct a breathing problem or a marked deformity, the procedure may be covered. Check with your insurer, and obtain pre-authorization for your surgery.
Be sure to tell Dr. Fisher if you've had any previous nose surgery or an injury to your nose, even if it was many years ago. You should also inform Dr. Fisher if you have any allergies or breathing difficulties; if you're taking any medications, vitamins, or recreational drugs; and if you smoke.
Preparing for your surgery
Dr. Fisher will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins, and medications.
If you smoke, plan to quit at least two weeks before your surgery and not to resume for at least four weeks after your surgery. Avoid overexposure to the sun before surgery, and do not go on a stringent diet, as both can inhibit your ability to heal.
Rhinoplasty usually takes 1-2 hours, though extensive or complicated procedures may take longer. Dr. Fisher performs the rhinoplasty from within the nose, making the incision inside the nostrils; you will not have a visible scar on your nose. When the surgery is complete, a splint will be applied to help your nose maintain its new shape. You may also have packing in your nostrils to stabilize the septum and help control post-operative bleeding.
After your surgery
Plan on staying in bed with your head elevated (except for going to the bathroom) for the first day after your surgery. You'll notice that the swelling and bruising around your eyes will increase at first, reaching a peak after two or three days. Applying cold compresses will reduce this swelling and make you feel a bit better. In any case, you'll feel a lot better than you look. Most of the swelling and bruising should disappear within 7-10 days. (Some subtle swelling-unnoticeable to anyone but you will remain for several months.)
A little bleeding is common during the first few days following surgery, and you may continue to feel some stuffiness for several weeks. If you have nasal packing, it will be removed after a few days and you'll feel much more comfortable. Your splint is usually removed in 4-5 days following your surgery. The suture are all inside your nose and will usually fall out within 10-14 days.
Getting back to normal
Most patients are up and about within a day or two, and able to return to work or other moderate activities within a week. It will be several weeks, however, before you're entirely up to speed.
You should keep your activities to a minimum for three to five days, and to avoid more strenuous activities for about two weeks. It's especially important to avoid activities that raise your blood pressure, including bending, lifting, and rigorous sports. You should also avoid alcohol, since it causes fluid retention.