What is cosmetic nose surgery (rhinoplasty)?
Cosmetic nose surgery, also known as rhinoplasty, can improve the appearance and proportion of your nose – enhancing facial harmony and self-confidence. Nose surgery may also improve a breathing problem or correct abnormalities caused by trauma or a birth defect, and the procedure can change your nose’s overall size, tip, bridge and nostrils.
Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center offer refined cosmetic nose surgery techniques that can positively transform the most defining characteristic of your face.
Am I a candidate for cosmetic nose surgery (rhinoplasty)?
Cosmetic nose surgery is a highly individualized procedure, with the best results achieved through a thorough consultation with your cosmetic surgeon. While almost any physical change is possible through nose surgery, a cosmetic surgeon from a Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center will be able to recommend the best approach to achieve a balanced result based on your nose’s unique characteristics as they relate to the context of the entire face.
The best candidates for nose surgery include:
- Individuals whose facial growth is complete; generally, surgery is performed on individuals age 18 or older
- Individuals who are physically healthy
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific, but realistic goals in mind for the improvement of their appearance
How do I prepare for cosmetic nose surgery (rhinoplasty)?
Preparing for your nose surgery at a Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center may include:
- Lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Taking photos of your nose to allow for computer images to demonstrate potential post-operative results
- Taking certain medications or adjusting your current medications
- Stopping smoking well in advance of surgery
- Avoiding taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding
How is cosmetic nose surgery (rhinoplasty) performed?
To reshape the nose, surgery is performed either using a closed procedure, where incisions are hidden inside the nose, or an open procedure, where an incision is made across the columella, or the narrow strip of tissue that separates the nostrils. The rest of the incision is similar to the closed technique. Through these incisions, the soft tissues that cover the nose are gently raised, allowing access to reshape the structure of the nose.
Nose surgery can reduce or enlarge nasal structures with the use of cartilage grafted from other areas of your body. Typically, pieces of cartilage from the septum (the division in the middle of the nose) are used for this reason. Occasionally, a piece of cartilage from the ear and, rarely, a section of rib cartilage can be used.
If your nose’s septum is deviated, it can be straightened and the projections inside the nose reduced to improve breathing. Once the underlying structure of the nose is sculpted to the desired shape, nasal skin and tissue is redraped and incisions are closed. Additional incisions may be placed in the natural creases of the nostrils to alter their size.
Your cosmetic surgeon may place splints and internal tubes to support the nose as it begins to heal for a week following surgery if the septum is operated on. Nose surgery usually takes one to two hours to complete, although it may take longer based on the procedure being completed.
What are the different types of cosmetic nose surgery (rhinoplasty)?
The two primary types of rhinoplasty include "open" and "closed," though there are other types of cosmetic nose surgery:
- Open Rhinoplasty is used for major nose reshaping. Incisions are made in the vertical strip of skin separating the nostrils, called the columella. The skin and soft tissue are then lifted off the underlying structures of the nose so the surgeon can see the nasal anatomy.
- Closed Rhinoplasty is used for minor nose reshaping. Incisions can be made within the nose. The skin of the nose is then separated from the bone and cartilage, which form its supporting framework. Once exposed, bone and cartilage can be removed, reshaped, augmented or rearranged to achieve the desired new shape.
- Secondary Rhinoplasty. Also called revision rhinoplasty, this is performed to correct problems that persist or develop after a previous nose surgery. Although the problems may be minor and easily corrected, the problems may be more complex, which makes the secondary rhinoplasty more difficult. Secondary rhinoplasty can also be done as an open or closed procedure.
- Filler Rhinoplasty. This involves the use of injectable fillers to “fill” depressions, smooth out sharp angles or change the angle of the tip of the nose to restore symmetry. For instance, instead of removing a bump, your surgeon would use an injectable filler to make the nose more even. While effective, injectable fillers do not offer permanent results. Learn more about Injectable Fillers.
What results can I expect?
Cosmetic nose surgery can dramatically change your appearance. It is common to feel dissatisfied with the appearance of your nose immediately after surgery. At this point, the nose is still quite swollen and it may take up to a year for your new nasal contour to fully refine.
During this time, there may be gradual changes in the appearance of your nose as it refines to a more permanent outcome. While the results of nose surgery are permanent, the surgery won’t prevent the effects of aging. Follow-up with your Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center cosmetic surgeon is important to maintaining your results.
What is involved in recovery?
Cosmetic nose surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center. Your recovery will depend on the type of procedure completed.
If the nose is being reduced in size, a splint will be used or the nose will be packed lightly with medicated gauze. An external splint may also be used as the primary support while the nose is healing. Your stitches are self-absorbing and will not need removed.
If an incision is made across the vertical strip of tissue separating the nostrils (columella), skin stitches are used and will need removed in four to seven days.
Swelling and stuffiness of the nose is common for several weeks following surgery. Most patients usually resume light activities after a few days, but it will take several weeks before the nose is completely healed to allow for full physical activity.
Is cosmetic nose surgery (rhinoplasty) safe?
All surgical procedures carry some risk. Possible complications from nose surgery include:
- Swelling around the eyes
- Bruising around the eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty smelling (usually temporary due to swelling)
Why Choose Us
If you’re considering cosmetic nose surgery, look for a board-certified plastic or facial plastic surgeon with specialized training and significant experience performing nose surgery procedures. Consider going to a surgeon who is affiliated with a major medical center, such as Cleveland Clinic. Ask your surgeon about credentials, training and how many nose surgery procedures he or she has performed.
Is this procedure covered by health insurance?
Cosmetic nose surgery is usually not covered by health insurance except for cases of injury or a deviated septum. Ask to talk with a financial representative from a Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center who can explain costs of the procedure and if insurance coverage is an option for you.
This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.