Rhinoplasty (Nose Reshaping)


What is a rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty is a type of plastic surgery (sometimes called cosmetic surgery) that changes your nose’s shape and size. Some people have rhinoplasty to improve how their nose and face look. Others choose rhinoplasty to improve breathing and nasal function. Doctors called plastic surgeons perform this procedure, which is also called a "nose job.

Who needs rhinoplasty?

People may get rhinoplasty to:

What does rhinoplasty do?

Rhinoplasty reshapes your nose. The procedure can:

  • Correct a nose that looks bulbous, upturned, hooked or droopy.
  • Fix nostrils that are too wide, too large or turn upward.
  • Get rid of noticeable dips or bumps on the bridge of the nose.
  • Make a nose smaller or bigger to create facial balance.
  • Open blocked nasal passages.

What are the types of rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty types include:

  • Cosmetic rhinoplasty improves the appearance of the nose and face.
  • Functional rhinoplasty restores nasal form and function after cancer treatments or traumatic injuries. This type of reconstructive surgery also corrects birth defects and deviated septums.
  • Nonsurgical injection rhinoplasty uses dermal fillers or botulinum toxin (Botox®) injections to temporarily fill a dip in the nose, lift a droopy nasal tip or correct a small bump.

How common is rhinoplasty?

More than 157,000 women and close to 50,000 men had rhinoplasty in 2019. It’s the most popular cosmetic surgery among men and the fourth most common cosmetic surgery overall.

Who is a candidate for rhinoplasty?

To be considered for rhinoplasty, you should:

  • Be finished growing and in good physical health.
  • Not smoke.
  • Understand the limitations of nose surgery (it can’t give you the perfect appearance).
  • Want the procedure for your own reasons, not because someone else thinks you’d look better.

Procedure Details

How should I prepare for rhinoplasty?

You’ll meet with your plastic surgeon for an initial consultation. This meeting provides an opportunity for you to ask questions and explain the results you hope to get. Your doctor will examine and measure your face and take photographs. The two of you can discuss surgery options, outcomes and risks.

You should bring:

  • List of current medications and supplements, including dosages.
  • Photographs (if you have them) of how you’d like your nose to look after surgery.

How is rhinoplasty performed?

Rhinoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure, which means you go home the same day. Someone needs to drive you home and stay with you overnight. You may receive general anesthesia (you’ll be asleep). Or you might have local anesthesia (the nose is numbed) and intravenous sedation (you’re relaxed, but not quite asleep). The procedure may take place at a hospital or outpatient medical facility.

During the procedure, your surgeon:

  • Makes an incision inside the nostrils (closed rhinoplasty). You may also have an incision across the base of the nose (open rhinoplasty).
  • Raises the skin covering the nasal bones and cartilage.
  • Reduces, adds to or rearranges the underlying bone and cartilage to create a new shape or fix a deviated septum.
  • Replaces the skin covering the nasal bones and cartilage.
  • Uses small dissolvable stitches to secure the skin in place.

What should I expect after getting rhinoplasty?

Your surgeon will administer a long-acting numbing agent at the end of the procedure, so you should only have mild to moderate pain or discomfort. After surgery, you may have:

  • A small plastic splint to minimize swelling and maintain your nose’s new shape while it heals. You’ll wear the splint for five to 10 days.
  • Cotton gauze (packing) inside the nose. You can remove the packing 24 to 48 hours after surgery.
  • Swelling and bruising around your nose and eyes for several weeks. You may experience mild facial swelling, especially in the morning, for up to a year after surgery.

Risks / Benefits

What are the potential risks or complications of rhinoplasty?

All surgical procedures, including rhinoplasty, carry some degree of risk. Potential complications after rhinoplasty include:

  • Hole in the nasal septum (nasal septal perforation).
  • Infections.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Poor wound healing or scarring.
  • Skin discoloration.
  • Unsatisfactory appearance.

Recovery and Outlook

How can I speed healing after a rhinoplasty?

To help your nose heal properly in the first few weeks after surgery, you should:

  • Apply cool compresses (not ice) to the cheeks or under the eyes (not directly on the nose).
  • Avoid any impact to the face.
  • Be careful not to put too much pressure on the bridge of the nose when wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses.
  • Keep your head elevated, especially when sleeping.
  • Minimize sun exposure.
  • Not blow your nose.
  • Not lift anything heavy.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medicines.

When can I return to work and activities?

Follow your doctor’s recommendations. You should be able to return to work or school in one to two weeks, and light exercise and lifting within four weeks. You shouldn’t lift anything heavy for three to four weeks.

When will I see results?

You should notice a difference in appearance about a week after surgery when the splint comes off. It can take up to a year for your nose to fully settle into its new shape. During this time, some facial swelling is normal. Most people who have functional rhinoplasty to fix a deviated septum or other medical problem see improvements within six weeks. About 15% of people need a follow-up (revision) surgery to make small changes after the initial surgery.

When to Call the Doctor

When should I call the doctor?

You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Signs of infection, such as fever or yellow discharge.
  • Severe pain or swelling.
  • Uncontrolled nosebleeds.

Additional Details

How much does rhinoplasty cost?

Rhinoplasty costs around $5,400, which doesn’t include the medical facility, anesthesia and other fees. The price may be higher if you live in a big metropolitan city. Fees also depend on the surgeon’s level of experience and type of procedure.

Is rhinoplasty covered by insurance?

Your health insurer may cover the costs of rhinoplasty if you need the procedure to correct a deviated septum or for other medical reasons. Insurers don’t typically cover cosmetic rhinoplasty to improve appearance. Health insurance policies vary, so always check with your provider. You should also see if your plastic surgeon offers a payment plan.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

If you’re self-conscious about the way your nose looks, you can see a specialist to discuss whether you’re a good candidate for cosmetic rhinoplasty. Nose surgery can improve appearance, but you need to have realistic expectations about results. Functional rhinoplasty can help you breathe better if you have a broken nose, deviated septum or other medical problem. It can take six months to a year to see noticeable results. Getting nose surgery is a big decision. Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns, and learn more about outcomes and risks.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/02/2020.


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