Give Online: Help shape patient care for generations to come.
Cleveland Clinic Logo

Treatments & Procedures


(Also Called 'Cosmetic Rhinoplasty', 'Functional And Cosmetic Rhinoplasty')

What is a rhinoplasty, and why is it done?

Rhinoplasty ("nose job") is the surgical alteration of the nose to change its shape or improve its function. Rhinoplasty is performed to correct breathing problems related to the nose. It may also correct disfigurement of the nose that has occurred because of trauma or birth defects. Cosmetic rhinoplasty is performed on normal noses to improve their shape and appearance. Nose surgery can reduce or increase the size of your nose, or change the size or shape of the tip, the bridge, or nostrils.

Who is a good candidate for a cosmetic rhinoplasty?

A good candidate for a rhinoplasty is anyone who has finished growing and who is unhappy with the appearance of his or her nose. Candidates should also be in good physical health and have a positive attitude and realistic expectations.

How do I know if my expectations are realistic?

If you are considering rhinoplasty, be sure to discuss your expectations with your surgeon. During your initial consultation, you will be asked what bothers you about your nose and how you would like to change it. Also, the surgeon will evaluate the structures of your nose such as the underlying nasal bones and cartilage, your overlying skin, and your other facial features.

Is there a "perfect" or "ideal" nasal shape?

There is no one nasal shape that will complement the natural beauty of every face. Today, surgical changes are made to enhance the remaining facial features and emphasize the individual's unique and natural facial beauty. A plastic surgeon can describe the facial features that make you unique and describe the changes that would enhance your appearance.

How is a rhinoplasty done?

Rhinoplasty is usually done as an outpatient procedure under either general or local anesthesia. With general anesthesia, you sleep through the operation. With local anesthesia, you are sedated and the nose is numbed, so you are relaxed and unable to feel the pain. The incisions are made within the nostrils and may also be made across the base of the nose, in more difficult cases. The inner bone and cartilage are reshaped to produce a more pleasing shape.

What is a structure rhinoplasty?

A structure rhinoplasty is a technique where only minor amounts of cartilage are removed. The change in shape is obtained by remolding the existing cartilage or by adding cartilage grafts. Because only a small amount of cartilage is removed, the structural strength of the nose is maintained and this ensures that the shape will not change over time as the nose heals.

How long does it take to recover from a rhinoplasty?

A nasal splint is normally worn for the first week after rhinoplasty. You can expect swelling and some bruising around the eyes after surgery that will begin to improve after the third day. However, swelling and stuffiness commonly lasts for several weeks. After that, you will have a minor degree of swelling noticed only by you and your surgeon. This swelling will go away over the next six months. The final shape of your nose will be apparent after it has healed completely.

You should avoid strenuous activity for several weeks after surgery. You may return to your light activities after a few days. Will insurance cover a rhinoplasty? It’s important to realize that elective cosmetic surgery is not typically covered under most insurance plans. Most insurance companies, however, typically cover that which is medically necessary. Coverage will depend on your insurance carrier.


© Copyright 1995-2014 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

Can't find the health information you're looking for?

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. This document was last reviewed on: 7/26/2010...#11011