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What Is Rhinoplasty?

By Gray Rollins

Rhinoplasty, commonly called a nose job, is a type of cosmetic surgery designed to repair or reshape the nose. As one of the most prominent features on your face, your nose has a large bearing on your appearance and can impact how you feel about yourself. Individuals who are displeased with the size or shape of the nose can benefit from rhinoplasty because of the opportunity it offers to completely alter the appearance of the nose. Rhinoplasty has the ability to increase or reduce the size of the nose in its entirety, removing a bump, altering the shape of the bridge or the tip of your nose, narrowing the nostril openings, and modifying the angle between your nose and your lips.

Rhinoplasty cannot be successfully performed until the nose has stabilized and nasal bone has stopped growing. This typically occurs around age 14 to 15 in girls and age 15 to 16 in boys. Any surgery performed before this point runs the risk of having to be redone once nasal growth has ceased, since the nose has the potential to continue to change and develop until that point. Rhinoplasty is occasionally performed on younger children in the case of severe trauma to the face, so that the nose can be restored as close as possible to its original shape and size.

Most rhinoplasty procedures are performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. There are exceptions to this rule, though. Patients undergoing severe reconstructive surgery may be monitored overnight to ensure that no complications arise. Individuals seeking to have their nose "set after a bad break will occasionally receive local anesthetic only.

During the procedure the cosmetic surgeon makes an incision either inside the nostrils or through the columella, the external strip of tissue that separates the nostrils. The skin is then separated away from the framework of the nose itself so the doctor can access the underlying cartilage. In order to reshape the nose, the soft flexible cartilage and bone are manipulated into the proper position and shape. Depending on the desired results, tissue may be removed or added to change the angle or contour of the nose. A chisel or file may be used during the procedure, most frequently to remove a hump from the bridge of the nose. Once the nose has been sculpted into the desired shape, the skin is resituated and the nose is splinted to protect it. Nasal pads may be used for the first few days following the surgery to pack the nose and protect the delicate septum.

Rhinoplasty, as with all other surgeries, is not risk-free. In addition to the standard bruising and swelling, patients should be aware of a number of potential side-effects that could result from the procedure. These include an infection of the nose, nosebleeds, numbness, scarring, and a reaction to the anesthesia. Some patients report the bursting of small blood vessels on the surface of the skin and hematomas, or collections of blood that pool under the skin. The possibility also exists that a follow-up procedure will be necessary in order to remedy an over-correction or under-correction of the nose.

When successfully performed by a highly-qualified surgeon, rhinoplasty can dramatically improve the appearance of your nose and improve your self-confidence. If you are considering rhinoplasty and would like more information about this procedure, contact a reputable cosmetic surgeon in your area and arrange for a personal consultation.

About The Author

Gray Rollins is a featured writer for CosmeticSurgeryHelp. To learn more about Rhinoplasty, visit



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