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Having nose reshaping surgery (rhinoplasty) can give your nose a better-proportioned look and as a result improve your self-esteem. There could also be a medical reason for requiring rhinoplasty, such as a nasal blockage.

There are several reasons you might consider rhinoplasty ('nose job'):

  • Cosmetic - you might not like the shape or size of your nose in proportion to the rest of your face.
  • Medical - you might have experienced an injury to your nose causing it to be broken or crooked. Or you may have nasal blockage causing permanent breathing problems. Rhinoplasty is considered as reconstructive surgery if there are medical reasons for the procedure.

What happens during rhinoplasty?

  • A rhinoplasty (commonly known as a 'nose job') is performed under a general anaesthetic
  • The length of the procedure and the technique used will depend on how much your nose needs to be altered
  • Your Nuffield Health surgeon can refine the tip of your nose by removing cartilage
  • If you have a hump (dorsum) on your nose it can be shaved down
  • Your surgeon can also straighten and narrow your nasal bones by breaking and then setting them
  • Your surgeon may need to rebuild part of your nose
  • The operation can be performed from inside the nostrils (known as closed rhinoplasty) or your surgeon will make a small cut in the area between your nostrils to expose the underlying area (known as open rhinoplasty)
  • You may need to spend 1 -2 nights in hospital
  • You may have a splint held over your nose by tape and your nose may be packed
  • If your nose is packed you will need to breathe through your mouth until the packing is removed the morning after your nose reshaping surgery
  • To control swelling and bruising you may be given ice packs
  • You will be given pain relief medication.

Going home after rhinoplasty surgery

  • You may experience bruising, swelling or numbness
  • Icing the nasal area will help ease swelling and bruising
  • You will need to be off work and stay way from groups of people for at least 2 weeks to avoid catching a cold
  • Strenuous activity should be avoided for 4 - 6 weeks
  • You will need to rest in an upright position and avoid bending down for the first few days post surgery
  • The splint will be removed after 7 - 10 days
  • Although you will see immediate improvement following your rhinoplasty, your appearance will continue to improve over the next 6 - 12 months
  • You will need to have a discussion with your surgeon before engaging in any strenuous impact/contact sports.

The below chart is only a guide as to the stages of rhinoplasty recovery and every patient heals at a different rate.

Day 1-3

  • Might be some blood coloured watery fluid coming from your nose
  • You might feel a bit down and will feel like you have a heavy cold. Do not blow your nose
  • May have slight nose bleeds

Day 4-7

  • Should begin to feel a lot brighter. Bruising and Swelling beginning to go down now
  • You should be able to wear your contact lenses but continue to sleep sitting up
  • Make sure that you keep the nasal splint dry. Any external stitches will be removed

Day 7-10

  • You can blow your nose now (gently) and sleep lying down
  • Check your outpatient appointment time – you can soon have that splint removed
  • Eyes may still be black but the bruising is beginning to fade

2 weeks

  • Much of the bruising and swelling is gone
  • Most patients are ready to go back to work or at least feel they can go out and about
  • Any remaining bruising can be covered up with make-up

3 weeks

  • Most of the swelling has gone now
  • At the end of this week, you can return to more vigorous exercise if you like

2 months

  • You will still feel some numbness and stiffness at the end of your nose – this will continue to improve with time
  • It will be fine to return to any form of contact sport
  • Apply high factor sunscreen until at least the six month stage

6 months

  • Swelling continues to reduce. The shape of your nose will continue to refine

12 months

  • Nearly all healing complete
  • Any refinement needed will be done at this time

Every surgical procedure has a small risk of complications. Be sure and discuss any concerns you might have about these risks with your surgeon.

Specific complications of a rhinoplasty may include:

  • Bruising and swelling
  • Altered sense of smell
  • Altered breathing
  • Minor bleeding
  • Injury to nerves
  • Graft rejection.
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