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Nose Reshaping

What is nose reshaping?

Cosmetic nose reshaping is also known as rhinoplasty. The procedure can reduce or increase the size of the nose, narrow the span of the nostrils, change the angle between the nose and upper lip, and/or change the tip or bridge of the nose. It can also correct some breathing problems.

Rhinoplasty involves the resculpting of the bone and cartilage. When operating on the nose, the surgeon can either work from within the nose by making an incision (cut) inside the nose, or work from the outside by making a small incision across the tissue that separates the nostrils. The latter is known as an open procedure.

Possible complications associated with rhinoplasty

Possible complications associated with rhinoplasty may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Repetitive surgery. Although not common, sometimes, a second procedure may be required to correct a minor deformity that occurs as a result of the initial rhinoplasty.

  • Surgery complications. As in any surgery, there is a risk of infection or reaction to the anesthesia. Nosebleeds can also occur after surgery.

  • Burst blood vessels. Sometimes, small blood vessels may burst causing tiny red spots on the nose to surface. The spots are usually minor in appearance but can be permanent.

  • Scarring. With the open procedure, there is the possibility of scarring on the base of the nose.

About the procedure

Although each procedure varies, generally, nose reshaping surgeries follow this process:

  • Location options may include:

    • Surgeon's office-based surgical facility

    • Outpatient surgery center

    • Hospital outpatient

    • Hospital inpatient

  • Anesthetic options may include:

    • Local anesthesia with intravenous sedation 

    • General anesthesia

  • Average length of procedure: about two hours

  • Recuperation period:

    • Usually up and around in a few days

    • Usually return to school or sedentary work in a week or so

    • Surgeon will provide guidelines for resuming normal activities

  • Some possible short-term side effects of surgery:

    • A splint may be applied to the nose to help maintain the new shape.

    • Nasal packs or soft plastic splints may be placed inside the nostrils to stabilize the septum.

    • The face will feel puffy.

    • The nose may ache.

    • You may experience a dull headache, swelling around the eyes, and/or bruising around the eyes.

    • A small amount of bleeding is normal in the first few days.

    • Small burst blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin's surface.

  • Final results:

    • Healing is a slow and gradual process. Some swelling may be present for months, especially in the tip of the nose. Final results of nasal surgery may not be apparent for a year or more.

    • When a traditional open surgical technique is used, or surgery is performed to narrow flared nostrils, small scars will be located on the base of the nose. The scars usually are not noticeable. Scarring is not visible when rhinoplasty is performed from inside the nose.

Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Weisbart, Ed, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/17/2012
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