In the more than twenty-five years that I have been a board certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist I have had many patients come to me with questions about nasal surgery, or rhinoplasty. Whether to improve facial symmetry and appearance or correct functional issues caused by accidental trauma or defect, surgical procedures to modify the size and shape of the nose are among the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States today. Still many men and women have questions about what exactly these procedures entail. Here are answers to a few of the questions I am most commonly asked about nasal surgery.
Am I a good candidate for rhinoplasty?
Ideal candidates for nasal surgery are men and women who are in good physical health, do not smoke, and who have realistic goals in mind for the improvement of their appearance or nasal function. While nasal surgery is ideally performed on patients whose facial features are fully grown and developed, there is not a specific age at which I will begin performing facial plastic surgery on a patient for cosmetic purposes and adolescent rhinoplasty performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon has been proven to be both safe and effective. I believe that multiple factors, including a patient’s expectations and their physical and emotional maturity, need to be carefully taken into consideration in order to maximize each patient’s satisfaction while minimizing the need for revisionary rhinoplasty.
What is the recovery time following rhinoplasty surgery?
Nasal surgery is most frequently performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, and takes between one and two hours, depending on the amount of internal nasal surgery that is combined with the aesthetic procedure. Patients generally do not require an extended hospital stay, and can return home on the day of the surgery. However, I strongly advise rest and relaxation, including head elevation for five days and cold packs for the first 24 hours, in order to hasten recovery and minimize bruising and swelling. Showering can resume the next day and all nonresorbable sutures will be removed, along with the nasal splint (if one is used), at a follow up visit five to seven days after the surgery. Patients can usually resume light exercise after the splint is off but should refrain from heavy contact for at least six weeks. Nasal congestion may persist for up to six weeks, and nasal edema may take up to a year to completely resolve, although approximately 75% will be gone by the time the splint is removed.
What do I need to do in order to help make sure that I get the best possible results?
As with any cosmetic plastic surgery procedure, the best outcomes require clear communication between the surgeon and patient both before and after the surgery. This process begins with a thorough and honest discussion of realistic expectations and potential pitfalls that may occur. Only when the doctor fully understands exactly what a patient wants, and the patient completely understands exactly what is reasonably attainable, can they both work together towards the same goal. I recommend that my patients who want external nasal changes undergo computerized facial imaging prior to surgery. This allows the patient and surgeon to view the potential surgical results and these computerized images provide a guide or a template which I refer to during surgery. After surgery, it is absolutely imperative that you scrupulously adhere to all post-op instructions and attend all of your follow-up appointments. When patients fail to follow after-care instructions, complications may spoil an otherwise excellent result. These concerns are much easier to correct when discovered during early follow up visits and addressed immediately after the procedure.
Since every patient is unique and requires individualized assessment, I would advise that you contact my office in order to schedule a consultation so that we can determine if rhinoplasty is right for you. Don’t forget to connect with me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.