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Nose Reshaping - Rhinoplasty 


Rhinoplasty, nose reshaping surgery, is the most common of all plastic surgery procedures.  Rhinoplasty is used to change the shape of the nose, correct structural or functional problems.  Nose reshaping can improve the balance of your facial features and enhance your appearance.

There are several ways that rhinoplasty can refine the shape of your nose.  Rhinoplasty can make your nose smaller or larger with implants.  The size and shape of your nostrils, bridge, or the tip of your nose can be changed within limits.  Rhinoplasty can reshape and improve the angles of your nose.  Rhinoplasty is also used to correct birth defects or breathing problems.

During your initial consultation, you will discuss your expectations and surgical options with your doctor.  You should tell your doctor about your concerns and the aspects of your nose that bother you, as well as, any prior trauma or surgery to the area surrounding your nose.  Your doctor will examine your nose structure and skin integrity.  He or she will explain the appropriate surgical procedure(s) that would safely obtain your desired results.

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Elective rhinoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure that takes place in a doctor’s surgical center, hospital, or outpatient surgery center.  Depending on the extent of your procedure, general anesthesia or intravenous anesthesia with local anesthesia will be used.  A rhinoplasty can be performed in about two to three hours.

The surgical procedure is usually done through incisions inside of the nostril to eliminate visible scarring.  In some cases, a small incision may be made across the skin between the nostrils to allow more access to adjust the support of the nose.  When the surgery is complete a splint will be placed on your nose and soft packing may be inserted inside of your nostrils.

It is common to experience facial swelling, bruising, pain, and headache initially after your procedure.  You will receive pain and sleeping medication to make you more comfortable after your procedure.  You should keep your head elevated and apply cold compresses to the area.  If you have "packing" or splint placed in your nostril, they will be removed 1-4 days after your surgical procedure.  The nasal splint and your stitches will be removed one to two weeks following your rhinoplasty.  It is important to contact your doctor if you have continued nasal bleeding.

Your doctor will provide you with guidelines about returning to work or school and resuming your regular activities.  Your doctor will monitor your progress for several months following your procedure.  Minor swelling may be present for months, as healing is a slow and gradual process.  It may take a year or more for you to achieve your final result. 

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Complications of rhinoplasty are uncommon.  As with any surgery, infection is a possibility, but rare with this procedure.  Post-operative problems from excessive swelling can occur, but are also rare.  Short term and long term changes in your breathing may occur.  Although uncommon, an additional procedure may be necessary to achieve your desired results. 

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit