The nose knows

Your nose is one of the most defining features of your face and if you aren't happy with it's appearance, it can dramatically impact your life.

Rhinoplasty or nose surgery, sometimes referred to as “nose reshaping” or a “nose job,” improves the appearance and proportion of your nose, enhancing facial harmony and self confidence.  Surgery of the nose may also correct impaired breathing caused by structural abnormalities in the nose.

Nose surgery is not always cosmetic but in some cases it is performed to improve breathing function.  For more information on this, take a look at our procedures page for deviated septum.

If you're considering a nose surgery, this outline will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect.  It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon.  Dr. Walker is more than happy to clarify any misunderstandings, please contact her office with any questions or concerns you may have.

What happens during a nose surgery?

Nose cosmetic surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.

Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during rhinoplasty surgery.

Step 2 – The incision
Surgery of the nose is performed either using a closed procedure, where incisions are hidden inside the nose, or an open procedure, where an incision is made across the columella, the narrow strip of tissue that separates the nostrils.

Through these incisions, the soft tissues that cover the nose are gently raised, allowing access to reshape the structure of the nose.

Step 3 – Reshaping the nose structure
Surgery of the nose can reduce or augment nasal structures with the use of cartilage grafted from other areas of your body.  Most commonly, pieces of cartilage from the septum, the partition in the middle of the nose, is used for this purpose.  Occasionally a piece of cartilage from the ear and rarely a section of rib cartilage can be used.

Step 4 – Correcting a deviated septum
If the septum is deviated, it is now straightened and the projections inside the nose are reduced to improve breathing.

Step 5 – Closing the incision
Once the underlying structure of the nose is sculpted to the desired shape, nasal skin and tissue is redraped and incisions are closed.  Additional incisions may be placed in the natural creases of the nostrils to alter their size.

Step 6 – See the results
Splints and internal tubes will likely support the nose as it begins to heal for approximately one week.

While initial swelling subsides within a few weeks, it may take up to a year for your new nasal contour to fully refine.
Initial healing may include some swelling, bruising, headache, and discomfort that can be controlled with medication and cold compresses.  You should keep your head elevated at all times until initial swelling has subsided, and to keep any nasal packing and nasal cast in place at all times.

A return to light normal activity is possible as soon as you feel ready, usually within a few days of surgery.  Any packing or splints will likely be removed after the first week, although you may need to wear the cast or splint for an additional week or two.  You will be ready to return to work and normal activity at this time.  Cosmetics can camouflage any bruising or redness that remains.

The best candidates for nose surgery

A rhinoplasty procedure is a good option for you if:

  • Your facial growth is complete and you are 13 years of age or older
  • You are physically healthy
  • You do not smoke
  • You have specific, but realistic goals in mind for the improvement of your appearance

If you have more questions about nose surgery, take a look at our resources and education section.