You could say the human nose is front and center. After your eyes, it’s often the focus when meeting a new person. That’s why it’s a shame many people aren’t happy with the appearance of their noses. Whether it’s the nose you were born with or whether you damaged it at some point in your life, Dr. Watterson can perform nose surgery to change it.
What is rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty is the clinical term for nose surgery. This is a delicate surgery whose goal is to reshape the nose to improve the appearance and in some cases the function. Most patients want to change a feature of their nose: maybe the nostrils are overly flared; maybe the bridge arches too prominently; maybe the tip is bulbous, or sometimes a person feels his or her nose is just not proportional on their face.
Other patients have broken their noses earlier in life. This not only can be aesthetically problematic but it often partially blocks one or both airways.
What issues can rhinoplasty correct?
People coming to Dr. Watterson in our Draper practice usually have one of three issues with their noses. Of course, most of these are cosmetic concerns, a bump on the bridge, a flared nostril, and the like. But other patients look to repair a previous injury or to improve breathing function.
These are the three areas patients seek nose surgery with Dr. Watterson:
- Appearance — This is the most common reason for nose surgery, to change the look of the patient’s nose. The surgery can really impact a person’s self-confidence. These are some of the most common reasons for cosmetic nose surgery:
- The tip droops or plunges
- The tip is enlarged or bulbous
- There is a bump or depression on the bridge
- The nostrils are excessively flared
- The nose is too wide or too large proportionally
- The nose is crooked or off-center
- Injury — Sports injuries, car accidents, and other trauma can leave the nose misshapen. Dr. Watterson can return the patient’s nose to its pre-accident condition.
- Breathing — Some people are born with constricted nasal passages. Rhinoplasty can open the nasal passages and improve function.
Who is a good candidate for nose surgery?
One thing about our nose — there’s no way to hide it. And if you’re not a fan of your nose, it’s right there looking back at you every morning in the mirror. Pretty much anyone who doesn’t like the appearance of their nose is a great candidate to have Dr. Watterson make changes. This is also true if you’d like to correct either a congenital problem or a prior injury that was never set right at the time.
The only requirement for rhinoplasty is that the nose must be fully developed and finished growing. That occurs at the age of 15 or 16 for a girl, at 17 for a boy.
How is rhinoplasty done?
Dr. Watterson uses two methods for his nose surgeries. The changes sought by the patient can dictate which method he uses. During your consultation, after he sees your unique situation, he will discuss with you the method he feels will work the best.
- Open — A small incision is made across the columella (the small strip of skin between the nostrils). The skin is then lifted up and back from the tip of the nose, exposing the underlying bone and cartilage. The open method is effective for addressing issues with the bridge. After alterations are made, the skin and tissue are re-draped over the new structure beneath. The open method leaves a small scar underneath the nose, but it is almost invisible over time.
- Closed — In the closed method, all incisions are made within the nose. This method is used when the nose is being reshaped or re-sized, or when there is a nasal obstruction. Once the incisions are made, the soft tissues are separated from the underlying bone and cartilage. If the nose is to be made thinner or smaller, the nasal bones will be fractured to allow them to be reduced. If the nose is being built up, Dr. Watterson may use synthetic material, or if the patient prefers, he can use cartilage or bone from the patient’s ears or ribs.
What is recovery like after rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure. When you return home, Dr. Watterson will have placed a splint to help your nose hold its new shape. Your nostrils will be packed for additional stability and because of discharge. You will have some pain and swelling, but they will be manageable with medication. It’s likely that both of your eyes will blacken. After about a week, the splint will be removed, but your nose will continue to be swollen for up to two weeks. Swelling can come and go in the first year after your surgery, being evident in the morning and fading as the day progresses. This can be discouraging for some patients, but Dr. Watterson advises patience. The swelling will resolve with time. Contact lenses can be worn immediately, but glasses will need to be taped to your forehead or propped up on your cheeks for up to seven weeks. Most people feel much better in two days or so and can return to work in a week. Strenuous activity, however, is out for several weeks. You need to avoid raising the blood pressure on your face. Any sports or activities where you can bump your nose need to be avoided, as you would assume.
What are the potential risks with nose surgery?
Rhinoplasty is one of the original cosmetic surgeries, with the first documented “nose job” performed by an American surgeon in 1887. It has been performed millions of times around the world since its debut. Each year in the U.S., around a quarter of a million people have nose surgery. That points to the ultimate safety of these procedures.
There are the general risks that accompany any surgery: anesthesia reaction, infection, bleeding, poor wound healing, scarring, and changes in skin sensation. Specific to this procedure, the patient may have difficulty breathing, skin discoloration, and continued swelling, possible perforation of the nasal septum, or unsatisfactory final results. If further changes are needed, revision surgery may be necessary.
All of these risks are even more remote thanks to the board-certified expertise and decades of surgical experience of Dr. Watterson. Rhinoplasty is definitely not a procedure to trust to just anyone; it is quite delicate. Do your research, and when you’re ready to move forward, Dr. Watterson is the perfect choice as your surgeon.
When will I really be able to see what my new nose looks like?
As mentioned above, swelling can come and go with nose surgery, so you need to be patient during your recovery. But you’ll notice your changes as soon as your splint is removed in about one week. You’ll have swelling, so you won’t see your final nose, but issues such as a bump on the bridge will be gone and noticeable. After a couple of months, your swelling should be pretty much over, and you’ll enjoy your new nose for the rest of your life.
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