Rhinoplasty, a popular plastic surgery that is often known as a “nose job,” modifies the size and shape of the nose to help create a balanced look that enhances facial aesthetics. Although many nose jobs are performed purely for cosmetic reasons, the procedure can also help patients with certain breathing problems to regain nasal function and enjoy an improved quality of life. Rhinoplasty is one of the most complex facial plastic surgeries available, but when it is executed well and customized to the patient’s needs, the results can be incredible. Dr. Thompson is uniquely qualified for nasal surgery as he is trained in head and neck surgery and has completed a highly competitive fellowship in plastic surgery solely dedicated to the face and neck. As a facial plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the face, he takes a particular interest in performing surgeries that improve the aesthetic appearance of the nose while simultaneously preserving or improving breathing function to achieve the best possible outcomes for his patients.
Reasons for Choosing Rhinoplasty
The nose is one of the most prominent facial features, and it plays a significant role in both facial aesthetics and breathing function. People choose to get a nose job for all kinds of reasons: dissatisfaction with the nose’s appearance, defects from a poorly healed break, a deviated septum, or even poor facial balance. Rhinoplasty is extremely versatile and can address a wide variety of concerns, both cosmetic and functional. Depending on the needs and goals of the patient, a plastic surgeon might:
- Raise or refine the tip of the nose
- Remove dips or bumps on the bridge of the nose
- Narrow the nasal bridge
- Modify the size of the nostrils that are excessively wide or upturned
Additionally, nasal surgery is not always used for cosmetic reasons and may be used to reconstruct the nasal airway to make it much easier for patients to breathe. Breathing problems can be present from birth or occur after an accident, injury, or previous surgery. A rhinoplasty or septoplasty can be combined with other nasal surgeries to help treat nasal obstruction caused by a deviated septum, the collapse of the nostrils on inspiration, a floppy or weak nasal tip, and swelling inside the nose. These problems can lead to chronic nasal congestion or stuffiness, postnasal drip, and snoring that can interfere with physical activity, disrupt sleep, and negatively impact a patient’s overall quality of life. Medicare and private insurance typically cover these types of procedures. Dr. Thompson takes great satisfaction in improving a patient’s quality of life by improving their breathing, even in the absence of other cosmetic concerns.
Men and women who would like to improve the appearance of their nose or breathe better may be potential rhinoplasty candidates. Patients who have been involved in an accident or sustained an injury that has changed their nasal anatomy and function may also be candidates. The procedure is usually reserved for patients who have no serious medical conditions or illnesses that can pose a safety risk or compromise the results of the procedure.
Patients who have realistic expectations and a positive attitude make for the best candidates. Before getting a nose job, patients should quit smoking, as cigarettes inhibit healing and can increase the risk of complications. To fully determine if you are a good candidate for nasal surgery, it would be our pleasure to see you for a personal consultation with Dr. Thompson and to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Your Rhinoplasty Consultation at our Denver Practice
The goal of an initial rhinoplasty consultation is to create a customized treatment plan that will result in a beautiful, natural-looking new nose for the patient. Dr. Thompson seeks to customize each rhinoplasty to create a well-proportioned nose that enhances the natural beauty of the patient’s other facial features to achieve harmony between the nose, eyes, cheeks, and chin. During the consultation, the surgeon will go over the following with the patient:
- Medical history. Medical conditions, previous medical treatments, drug allergies, current medications, herbal supplements, vitamins will be discussed and reviewed to ensure the patient is healthy enough for elective surgery.
- Physical exam. The face is examined, measured, and photographed. The overall size and shape of the face, including the lips and chin, are measured and documented so the surgeon can observe the patient’s current facial balance. The internal structures of the nose that impact breathing are examined as well.
- Goals and expectations. The patient’s aesthetic vision and expected results will be discussed. Computer imaging will be used to help the patient visualize potential modifications. Questions and concerns are answered and addressed.
After the patient is completely informed and has everything they need, they may make their decision about whether or not they would like to move forward with surgery. Patients who wish to have a rhinoplasty have their procedure scheduled at a convenient date and time.
The Surgical Procedure
Rhinoplasty is usually performed under general anesthesia. The patient is asleep throughout the entire procedure and cannot feel any pain or discomfort. Dr. Thompson performs the procedure using one of two approaches depending on the needs of the patient:
- An open approach. An open approach uses incisions inside the nostrils along with a small incision at the base of the nose between the two nostrils. This approach is used for better visualization and precision for aesthetic work. It is also the preferred approach for correcting significant defects and traumatic injuries of the nose. The external incision heals very well with minimal visibility of a scar.
- A closed approach. A closed or endonasal approach places all incisions within the nostrils to avoid visible scarring. This is also a common approach for cosmetic rhinoplasty and can be applied to a variety of patient conditions or complaints.
Incisions are always strategically placed so that they are not readily seen, blend with natural skin lines, and do not form a visible scar after surgery.
After incisions are made, bone and cartilage are carefully shaved and shaped to achieve the patient’s desired look. Cartilage may be added as an augmentation option. Autologous cartilage grafts are taken from the nasal septum, ear, or rib cartilage. Fillers or fat grafts may be used to add volume to certain areas. Silicone is not used as it has a high risk of reacting poorly with existing tissue and can cause infection or tissue breakdown.
Once all the patient’s desired changes have been made, incisions are carefully closed with either permanent or dissolvable sutures. Dissolvable or absorbable sutures do not require removal. The nose is not typically packed, but in some instances, a thin splint is left in each nasal cavity. Depending on the details of the surgery, an external nasal splint may be placed over the nose to protect it and decrease swelling. The total procedure time is usually 60-90 minutes but may be longer depending on the cosmetic goals. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. A family member or friend must drive the patient home after they are alert, and their pain is under control.
The nasal splint shields the nose from accidental bumps during the first week of healing. Sometimes splints are not needed. When indicated, surgical splints are left inside the nose to support the new nasal structures. Most swelling in the nose will resolve within a few months. A small amount of minor, virtually unnoticeable swelling is seen for up to one year.
Strenuous exercise must be avoided for 10 to 14 days following surgery because elevated blood pressure associated with exercise increases the risk of bleeding, swelling, and bruising. Social activities may be resumed within a similar timeframe if the patient is concerned about bruising or swelling. Otherwise, routine daily activities may be resumed immediately after surgery. Detailed recovery instructions are given to the patient before surgery. Most patients return to work within 7 to 14 days. Patients who desire to return to work earlier can be cleared within 24 hours after surgery if the work is non-strenuous.
Your Nose Job Results
Initial results can be seen as the postsurgical swelling goes down. Noticeable improvements will emerge within a few weeks. Subtle improvements will continue as swelling continues to go down over weeks to months. Final results may take up to a year. Our rhinoplasty patients typically receive a new natural-looking nose that complements their other facial features and personality. Patients feel less self-conscious and receive a boost of self-confidence. Breathing and nasal congestion also improve.
FAQs about Rhinoplasty
Most rhinoplasty incisions are made inside the nostrils. These incisions form scars, but they are not visible. The open approach creates the possibility of a small scar at the base of the nose. However, the scar typically heals very well and is nearly invisible. Additionally, it is located in an inconspicuous spot where it is difficult for others to see. Patients can view rhinoplasty before-and-after photos to get peace of mind that visible scars do not form after the procedure.
It is more challenging to work with thin skin because it does not hide small imperfections as well as thick skin; however, Dr. Thompson uses meticulous surgical skills and patience to achieve excellent results on patients with thin skin.
Late adolescence and early adulthood are considered the promising ages for optimal rhinoplasty results. Surgery is also possible for younger patients with structural defects and for older patients who are willing to accept a slightly longer recovery time.
Rhinoplasty carries the same risks as all surgeries, including bleeding and infection. While always a potential problem, both complications are minimized through good surgical practices with extensive training as board-certified surgeons. Specific rhinoplasty risks include:
• Unfavorable scarring
• Difficulty breathing
Patients can minimize risks by being honest about any potential health concerns and by following their surgeon’s pre- and post-operative instructions closely.
Schedule Your Rhinoplasty Consultation in Denver Today
Rhinoplasty is a primary focus of Dr. Thompson. He has dedicated himself to acquiring the skill and artistry to create beautiful, custom results for each patient. Patients who are ready to schedule their initial consultation can call our Denver office at (303) 667-1474 to set up an appointment.