What is Rhinoplasty?


Rhinoplasty is representative of a facial cosmetic procedure, which is normally performed as a way of enhancing the appearance of or reconstructing the nose. Throughout the procedure, the bones and nasal cartilages are modified, or tissue added, as a way to improve the overall visual look of the nose.

Initial evaluation

Prior to surgery, any cosmetic concerns should be discussed. Recommendations by the surgeon and any limitations that are caused by the facial or nasal structure or by the skin must be understood. Normally photographs are taken pre-op to help with planning as well as to document the postoperative results.

Before rhinoplasty surgery

Generally, the surgery is carried out as an outpatient either at a hospital or in a surgicenter. An anesthesiologist will be present to monitor vital functions over the course of the procedure. Pre-op lab studies will be conducted a few days in advance, while post-op transportation should be arranged as well as home help, at least during the first day of recovery.

Aspirin, or a product that contains aspirin, ought not to be ingested within a period of 10 days prior to surgery. Various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including Naprosyn, Motrin, and Advil, should be avoided within seven days of surgery. When any doubt arises with respect to medications of this nature, a pharmacist should be consulted.

There should be no consumption of foods or liquids within six hours of surgery. Anything contained within the stomach will increase complications with the anesthetic. Smokers are encouraged to either quit entirely or reduce consumption, which in turn will help in the reduction of coughing or bleeding post-op. Further, it has been noted that problems with tissue healing occurs far more frequently in smokers during the post-op period.

Illnesses that occur just prior to the date of surgery must be reported to the surgeon as soon as is possible. Should illness occur on the day of surgery, often it is wise to proceed to the facility where surgery will occur for an evaluation.

What occurs throughout a rhinoplasty surgical procedure?

In the operating room, it’s normal procedure for the anesthesiologist to combine gas together with an intravenous medication. Monitoring will take place throughout the procedure and will frequently include EKG (cardiac rhythm) and pulse oximeter (oxygen saturation).

Besides the anesthesiologist and the surgeon, a surgical technician and a nurse will also be in attendance during surgery. Depending on the requirements, in addition to the type of procedure/s to be performed, the entire procedure can last between one and four or five hours. Once the operation is complete and the patient is recovering the surgeon will usually take time to discuss the process with attendant family or friends.

What happens post rhinoplasty surgery?

A nurse monitors the patient post-surgery. The patient will be in a position to leave the recovery room and return home once the anesthetic has worn off and the same day as the surgical procedure is complete. Help should be available at home overnight.

The patient must have bed rest while at home with the head elevated, which will reduce swelling and edema. Assistance may be required for excursions from the bed. Any straining must be avoided.

It is perfectly normal for there to be swelling and bruising over the nose, the upper lip, around the eyes, and over the cheeks for a number of days post-op. This will reduce and dissipate over the coming week or so. Ice packs can be used over the bruised and swollen areas to minimize the swelling, which also helps with any postoperative pain and edema.

A nasal cast or splint will be used to cover the exterior of the nose, which is normally removed a week or so following on from surgery. While the swelling subsides, the splint will become less tight. The cast should be kept dry as otherwise it will likely come off. However, this will cause no impact to the procedural outcome.

It is normal for a moderate amount of bleeding to occur from the nose, and it should slowly decrease. The “mustache” or gauze dressing will serve to collect blood and thus must be changed frequently – as often as every hour throughout the initial 24-hour period post-op. After a few days, the dressing will not be required.

It is advised to avoid the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications as well as aspirin or any aspirin-containing medication for as many as three weeks following on from surgery.

For further advice about rhinoplasty surgery, get in touch with Becker Rhinoplasty & Facial Plastics.