Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, is a popular procedure used to achieve an improved but natural appearance as well as used to correct any internal structural deformities contributing to possible breathing problems.
Candidates for Surgery
For this procedure, minimum age is of significant importance as nasal growth should be complete prior to surgery. Therefore, adolescents and young adults are commonly the starting age group for this procedure. Most patients are primarily motivated by the prospect of a more aesthetically pleasing appearance while others are more interested in improving breathing. In addition to the age and facial developmental requirements, ideal candidates are in general good health, do not smoke and have set realistic expectations.
How is rhinoplasty accomplished?
Common cosmetic concerns such as a hump seen on a profile, drooping tip, a bulbous tip or asymmetries can be corrected using various surgical maneuvers performed by Dr. Barrett. Changes to the structural framework inside the nose are made in order to accomplish the desired outside appearance. Internal changes can also be made to improve existing breathing complications. Dr. Barrett will spend an extensive amount of time with you during your pre-operative consultation, explaining the possible maneuvers and procedures that could be performed to achieve your desired look and/or to correct an existing breathing problem.
Where are the incisions made for rhinoplasty?
There are two ways to access the internal structures of the nose for making aesthetic and functional improvements. The closed method is surgery performed through the nostrils and does not leave a visible scar. The open method includes an incision across the skin between the nostrils (columella). The open approach leaves a small scar but can accomplish more goals.
Those requiring simple changes such as hump removal and minor tip modification is an ideal candidate for a closed procedure. It also works well for those only requiring internal work to correct a breathing disorder. Advantages of this method include less swelling and more efficiency during surgery. The disadvantage is that the visibility of structures inside of the nose is more restricted for the surgeon.
With the external incision, skin is lifted to expose the entire internal framework of the nose. This method allows for Dr. Barrett to make more precise changes and is particularly helpful for executing delicate tip shaping maneuvers, adding cartilage grafts, and for reconstructing a tip deformed by previous surgery. Disadvantages to this method include longer tip swelling recovery time compared to the closed method and the procedure However, the benefits afforded by the improved visibility are worth it and the scar is typically difficult to notice. During your pre-operative consultation, Dr. Barrett will weigh the different options with you and will help you decide which method best suites your specific needs.
Recovery and Results
Patients will experience puffiness, nose ache or a dull headache, some swelling and bruising, bleeding or stuffiness after surgery. Most patients begin to feel better about 2 days after surgery and generally can return to work within a week. Results will become gradually apparent as swelling subsides and can sometimes take up to a year to achieve a final appearance. Contact lenses can be worn immediately, but it may take about 6 weeks for glasses to be comfortably worn. Patients with realistic expectations are generally very happy with the shape of their new nose and it is important to remember that exact results depend on the patient’s nasal bone and cartilage structure, facial shape, skin thickness and age.
Some patients may experience deformities caused by a previous operation. In this case, revision or secondary rhinoplasty can be done to correct these abnormalities. It can be considered a more difficult procedure to perform than a primary rhinoplasty as scaring may be more prevalent and there is less cartilage to work with.