A rhinoplasty is an operation to alter the external appearance of the nose. It is commonly known as a ‘nose job’ in lay man terms. Very frequently rhinoplasty is combined with operation of the septum, either because the septum also needs correcting (see septoplasty), or when cartilage grafts are needed to be harvested from the septum. The combined operation is known as septorhinoplasty.
Why have the operation
The operation is done to either improve the cosmetic appearance of the nose, to improve the nasal airway and breathing, or both.
Common reasons that patients come to see Miss Cheang includes: The tip of the nose that looks too big or bulbous; a hump on the nose that requires reduction; a crooked nose that needs straightening, or a wide nose that needs narrowing.
Before the operation, it is important to communicate with your surgeon regarding the specific areas that you dislike about your nose, and what you would expect as an end result. General comments like ‘I want a prettier nose’ tends not to be helpful for understanding and communication.
How is the operation done
A general anaesthetic is required. Rhinoplasty / Septorhinoplasty is performed either as endonasal (the cut is inside the nose), or external (a small cut is being made in the columella – the tiny part between the two nostrils). Bony and cartilage parts are then refined to improve the aesthetics and the function of the nose. The approach used largely depends on the correction that is necessary. No two cases are the same.
In some situations where extra cartilage is required to act as grafts, these would be harvested from the ear, or from your rib.
Does it hurt
Some discomfort can be expected after the surgery. When bony work is necessary, sometimes there are bruises or black eyes. Overall there shouldn’t be excessive pain.
After the operation
Generally patients can expect to go home on the same day. There will be a cast on the nose, which will stay for a week until removed by Miss Cheang. All sutures used are absorbable. The nose can feel congested for a few weeks, especially if septorhinoplasty has been carried out. Any bruises should recover by 2 weeks. There is also swelling on the skin of the nose, which would take 6-8 weeks to gradually subside. However some minor swelling especially on the nasal tip occasionally can take up to 12 months.
How long do I have to be off work
Two weeks off work is advisable. Refrain from physical exercise for 6 weeks, contact sports for 3 months.
As with any other nasal operations, there is a small risk of bleeding and infection. Patients with very thin skin over the nose has the risk of able to see or feel every minor bumps on the bridge or the tip of the nose. Those with thicker skin might experience more swelling, and any underlying changes made especially in the nasal tip not very obviously visible. 10% of patients might need some kind of revision surgery.