Rhinoplasty (Nose Re-shaping)

Rhinoplasty is an operation to alter the shape of your nose. You may decide to have it changed for cosmetic reasons or to restore the shape of your nose after an injury.

There are two main types of rhinoplasty – reduction rhinoplasty to make the nose smaller, and augmentation rhinoplasty to give the nose more bulk or make it larger.

What happens?

The operation can be performed from inside the nostrils (closed rhinoplasty) or your surgeon will make a small cut in the area between your nostrils to expose the underlying area (open rhinoplasty). Cartilage and bone is then removed or rearranged through the cuts.

A rhinoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic. The length of the procedure and the technique used will depend on how much your nose will change but usually lasts 60-90 minutes. The procedure is often a day case (in and out of hospital in the same day) or possibly with an overnight stay. Your surgeon will advise how long you need to stay in hospital

After the operation you may have dressings (packs) in each nostril for a day or two. These will stop you from breathing through your nose. You may also have splints inside your nostrils as well as over your nose to keep the nasal bones in place for a week or two.

There may be some pain after rhinoplasty, though painkillers will help. There will be bruising and swelling, particularly around your eyes, which can take about three weeks to settle. It will take around three months for the swelling in your nose to disappear.

What are the risks?

Every surgical procedure has a risk of complications. The general complications of any operation include:

• Pain
• Bleeding
• Infection in the surgical wound
• Blood clots

Specific complications connected with a rhinoplasty can include:

• Bruising and swelling
• Altered sense of smell
• Altered breathing
• Minor bleeding
• Injury to nerves
• Graft rejection

Be sure to discuss with your surgeon how any risks might apply to you.