Rhinoplasty: Purpose, Procedure, Risks and Recovery


Rhinoplasty or a nose job, as it is called commonly, is a surgery done for either aesthetic or medical purposes. You can opt for this surgery if you have some breathing problems that can be fixed by removing the restriction in the breathing passage.

Additionally, any corrective measures that can be employed to improve the shape or structure of your nose can be achieved through rhinoplasty. It is a commonly used plastic surgery procedure. This article will give you details about rhinoplasty.

woman being examined for rhinoplasty

What is Rhinoplasty?

If you are unhappy with the size or shape of your nose, you can opt for a surgery called rhinoplasty to correct it.

It is also referred to as a nose job. Along with its aesthetic benefits, rhinoplasty is used to improve nasal function.

Your respiratory passage can have breathing issues due to birth defects i.e. you can be born with bones placed oddly in your nose that do not let you breathe properly.

In addition to breathing, it can also solve breathing problems associated.  This problem can also cause snoring problems in those who suffer from it. Rhinoplasty can fix all these problems.

Along with improving its function, the nose can also achieve desired appearance through this procedure.

When you decide to go through with this procedure, you should consult your doctor who will advise you on the potential effectiveness of this procedure in your particular case based on your medical history and nose structure

Who Should Get Rhinoplasty Done?

If you have above-mentioned problems with your nose and its structure i.e. have breathing problems or simply want to change the shape of your nose, you need to discuss your case with your doctor.

Based on your medical history, your doctor will advise on any risks or benefits of the procedure.

If you are doing the procedure for aesthetic purposes, keep it in mind that a perception of a perfect nose is an ideal that we have created as a human being. These ideals change over time as beauty ideals change.

You should base your decision of getting this procedure on more than a few, prone to change, beauty ideals. Also, having a perfect nose or any other body part can be an illusion for some.

Therefore, it is important to get your priorities and motives behind this procedure straight before you go through with it.

When you make a decision and go to see your doctor, have a detailed discussion on what your motive is and what changes you want to make.

The surgeon will evaluate the structures of your nose and other facial features and tell you if your expectations can be achieved. He will also let you know of any risks you might face.

If your doctor gives you a green light, you can go through this procedure, but it is important that you learn all about the risks and accomplishments of this procedure.


rhinoplasty purpose contoured nose

What is the Purpose of Rhinoplasty?

It can correct a deviated septum, which is a bone in the nose, that helps improve breathing situation if there is any block because of bone positioning. Unobstructed airflow in the nasal structure can improve any sleep and breathing issues.

It can solve problems based on size and proportion with respect to your face in case of an aesthetic procedure. Moreover, any humps or depressions in your nasal bone structure or nostrils can also be treated with this procedure.

Any irregular characteristic of nostrils, nasal tips etc., along with any asymmetry, can be corrected by this procedure.

In case you want to achieve a symmetrical nose, keep it is important to know that everyone’s face is asymmetric to some degree. Your results cannot be 100% symmetric.

Nose surgery that’s done to improve an obstructed airway requires careful evaluation of the nasal structure as it relates to airflow and breathing.


It is important to know the risks of the procedure before you go through it. You need to decide if you want to go through these possible risks to achieve your aesthetic or medical goals through this procedure.

You doctor will be able to take you through these risks and let you know what can affect you the most. Following are some of the risks associated with rhinoplasty:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Anaesthesia risk
  • Numbness around your nose
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Problems in skin healing
  • Undesired nasal appearance
  • Pain, discoloration or swelling on the nose
  • Scarring
  • Nasal septal perforation i.e. a hole in septum may be a complication with this procedure/
  • Possible need for another surgery
  • Memory lapse, slow reaction time for a few days after surgery


woman having consultation with surgeon

Consultation and Preparation Before Surgery:

Before scheduling a surgery, your doctor will do a thorough medical exam to discuss your medical condition and what you might expect after the procedure.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you should go for a board certified plastic surgeon for your procedure.

Your medical history will be discussed where your doctor might ask you the question about any nasal surgeries you might have had in the past. Your doctor would also like to know your motivations for this procedure as it drastically changes the course of the procedure.

Physical Exam

A physical exam has to be conducted by your doctor that can include some blood tests. You doctor will also chart a course of action based on your facial features for the procedure.

The physical exam helps your doctor determine what changes need to be made and how your physical features, such as the thickness of your skin or the strength of the cartilage at the end of your nose, may affect your results.

The physical exam is also critical for determining the impact of the procedure on your breathing.

Your doctor will also take pictures of your nose to understand it shape and possibilities of procedures. Your doctor can produce a simulation through a software of before and after shape and structure of the nose to give you an idea about the procedure.

After understanding all risks and opportunities that might affect this procedure, you doctor will have an informed discussion with you based on your case. You will discuss the possibilities and impossibilities and how much of what you want can be achieved.

Avoid using medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen for two weeks before and after surgery. These may increase bleeding. Only use prescribed medication.

Smoking slows the healing process after surgery so you should stop smoking as well.


Each treatment does not have to follow all steps, but certain procedures are necessary to be performed during the procedure.

Like all surgeries, the surgeon starts with giving you anesthesia. Depending on the nature of procedure and time required, different dosage of anesthesia is given to the patient.

Sometimes the anesthesia is only applied to the localized area being treated. This can make you a little sleepy. You remain conscious throughout the process but do not feel any pain

There are two types of rhinoplasty based on the form of incision. In some cases, the incision may be made inside your nose in a closed procedure. This incision is made into columella which is a narrow tissue between two nostrils.

The other type is open rhinoplasty i.e. open procedure, a small external cut is made at the base of your nose between your nostrils. After the procedure is done, the surgeon rearranges the bones and cartilage to fall back into its place.

During the procedure the surgeon reshapes the bones by adjusting or removing the cartilage and bones to achieve your desired shape. In some cases, the surgeon may add cartilage grafts to achieve desired results.

For small changes, the cartilage taken from deeper inside your nose or ear can be used as a graft. In other cases, cartilage from your rib, implants or bone from other parts of body can also be used.

If you have deviated septum, the surgeon straightens it to improve your breathing.

When the procedure is done, the surgeon places all the tissue and cartilage back into its place and sorts out the incision with stitches.

After the surgery, you will stay under observation until you gain wakefulness. A medical check-up is done to determine your health condition before you are discharged from the hospital.


woman having nose surgery

Precautions after Surgery:

The surgeon prescribes bed rest with your head raised higher than your chest. This is done in order to avoid bleeding. You may not be able to breathe from your nose until you are properly healed. Your nose may also be congested because of swelling.

The dressings are removed somewhere between one to seven days after surgery. Your doctor also tapes a splint to your nose for protection and support.

You might experience bleeding or mucus coming out of nose for which a doctor might place a drip pad which is a small piece of gauze set in place by surgical tape.


Your doctor will advise you certain dos and don’ts after the surgery that you must follow. This will help you with blessing and speed up healing.

You will be advised on how to care for your nose. A list of medications to be taken and applied will be given and follow up with your doctor will be scheduled.

While taking care of yourself, make sure you follow these instructions:

  • Do not blow your nose.
  • Avoid exercising.
  • Brush your teeth gently to limit movement of facial muscles.
  • Take baths instead of showers.
  • Avoid extreme facial expressions.
  • Don’t rest eyeglasses or sunglasses on your nose for at least four weeks after the surgery.
  • Use SPF 30 sunscreen when outside especially on your nose.


before and after results of rhinoplasty


Slight changes in millimeter to the structure of your nose can make a huge difference in how your face looks. You should be able to see results properly once your swelling subsides.

If you are not happy with your results, you should wait for a year before getting another surgery because your nose can still go through changes during this time.


This is an expensive procedure. The cost really depends on the procedure and the details. A surgeon might be able to help you with exact cost of the procedure.

Is Rhinoplasty For You?

It really depends on your needs if you want to consider rhinoplasty as a course of treatment. Keep in mind that you should see a doctor before making up your mind to get this procedure. The doctor will assess its suitability and results based on your medical condition.

Make sure you familiarize yourself with pros and cons of rhinoplasty as mentioned in this article to decide what you might want to do.

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