FAQ: Rhinoplasty (Nose) Surgery

FAQ: Rhinoplasty (Nose) Surgery

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Rhinoplasty (Nose Revision) Surgery

Whether by genetic inheritance or trauma, many people are unhappy with the resulting shape of their noses. Rhinoplasty, or nasal surgery, provides a safe, permanent way to alter nose contour. Using the latest techniques, nasal surgery can deliver a natural-looking, balanced and refined nose that dramatically enhances a person’s self-image.

What is the rhinoplasty (nasal surgery) procedure?

Small instruments are placed through tiny incisions inside the nose. These work under the skin to reshape and refine the bones and cartilage of the nose.

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How painful is nasal surgery?

As with all surgery, anesthetic is used during the operation. This can be either local or general, depending on your wishes. Patients generally report little pain after surgery, mainly just stuffiness from nasal swelling. Medication for discomfort is available, but most patients require very little. Although many of my patients worry about discomfort following a rhinoplasty, at our practice in San Francisco, “nose job” patients are often pleasantly surprised by the ease of recovery.

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Which parts of my nose can be changed with rhinoplasty?

Concerns about the nose fall into four target areas: The tip, the profile, the width and the nostrils. Generally, the nose can be made smaller, larger, narrower or simply given a more optimal shape—all without changing the overall size. All of these areas can be addressed while still creating a nose that fits your face.

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What is the standard recovery time after rhinoplasty?

After surgery, a splint supports the new shape for 5-7 days. When the splint is removed, the nose remains slightly swollen for 4-6 weeks, though this is not really visible after two weeks. Discoloration around the eyes may be present for 5-10 days, but is usually concealable after the seventh day with light makeup. Most patients plan one week off work, and three weeks of limited activity. A unique thing about nose surgery is that there is a small amount of swelling that persists for months. Therefore, the final result is apparent only after 9-12 months.

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Can my breathing be improved with nasal surgery?

In many patients, an obstructive deviation of the wall separating the two sides of the nose, called the septum, makes breathing challenging. Frequently, the stuffiness worsens with mild allergies or colds, and can cause sinus headaches. A separate procedure, performed alone or at the same time as the rhinoplasty, can generally eliminate the obstruction. This procedure is called a septoplasty. Other structures in the nose, such as turbinates or polyps, may contribute to the blockage. If this is the case, they too can be fixed.

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Can my nasal surgery be covered by insurance?

Insurance companies usually cover corrective treatments that help fix a functional problem like breathing obstruction. If you have a deviated septum, you may receive some assistance. Furthermore, if your nose problems emanate from an accident, insurance will generally cover some of the cost. We can assist our San Francisco nasal surgery patients with submitting a claim.

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Which nose shape is best for me?

In the past, so-called “nose jobs” could be easily sourced given their lack of individuality. Observant people could even identify different surgeons’ signature styles! Modern techniques have changed all this, allowing us to design noses that appear utterly natural, and well-suited to the person’s face. If you have a large face, for instance, a small upturned nose is probably ill-advised. Conversely, if you have a large hump with otherwise classic features, a straight nose with a refined tip is the goal.

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Can you use computer imaging to plan my nasal surgery?

Computer imaging, a technology that uses digital photography to manipulate a patient’s image electronically, is an excellent tool for educating doctor and patient alike. We do offer this technology, which helps us define our goals and set realistic expectations for nasal surgery. Note that computer imaging presents an ideal, not a reality, and that your result may differ due to limitations of your tissues and surgical techniques. Rest assured that we work together to give you a balanced, natural look.

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What other techniques can be used to improve the appearance of my nose?

It is not uncommon for people with large noses to have small, somewhat receded chins. This produces a profile that greatly exaggerates the prominence of the nose. Along with reducing the nose, a simple procedure can be done to enlarge the chin, dramatically balancing the face. This procedure is called chin augmentation, and is done through a small incision inside the mouth or under the chin. Healing time is no longer than with a standard rhinoplasty.

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What are the risks and possible complications of rhinoplasty?

While all surgery has risks, and rhinoplasty is no exception, these risks are minimal. Bleeding, infection and scarring may arise, as may irregularities from surgery or your body’s healing process. Secondary surgery is sometimes required. Short-term stuffiness following surgery is expected, though long-term breathing problems are rare. Risks of anesthesia are quite minimal. This information is provided not to deter you, but to help you make an informed decision about your care.

Dr. Mosser is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon specializing in rhinoplasty (nasal) surgery in San Francisco. If you have any further questions about nose surgery or wish to schedule a consultation, please contact us.