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Rhinoplasty involves surgery to the nose to alter the appearance and/or function of the nose. It may repair, reshape, or remove cartilage and/or bone, aiming to correct nose injuries, deviations, or an aspect of the nose you would like altered for aesthetic reasons.

Often referred to as a ‘nose job’, a rhinoplasty procedure involves repairing, reshaping, and removing certain components of the nose cartilage and bone to achieve a change in size or shape of the nose. This modification can be done to address breathing difficulties due to the nose structure or to alter the nasal appearance, or frequently to address both; what we commonly to refer to in plastic surgery as ‘form and function’. Changes in appearance may include straightening and/or reducing the bridge of the nose, reducing nostril size, correcting nose width, and reshaping the nose tip.

Opening the nasal passages and improving breathing may involve surgery to the nasal septum, which is the middle internal wall of the nose that separates the right nasal airway from the left. This surgery is known as a septoplasty and may be performed together with a rhinoplasty, which generally refers to the modification of the external nose that is visible. The combination is often referred to as Septo-Rhinoplasty or Functional Rhinoplasty.

To modify the appearance of the nose, many factors come into play such as certain lines, shadows, and highlights covering the nasal dorsum tip, and base. During rhinoplasty surgery, these proportions can be maintained, emphasised, or created depending on the goals of the patient.

Rhinoplasty can also be considered to correct structural problems that may be causing pain and discomfort. For example, when an individual is facing breathing difficulties, inflammation, or has an issue from a birth, nose deviation and/or injuries; this surgery may relieve these issues.

At Avery, we welcome the opportunity to have an open conversation with you to understand the changes you are looking for with surgery. Our patients’ stories matter a great deal to us. You can discover some of our wonderful patients’ journeys here.

Wherever you are on your personal journey, we would like to assist you. Dr Avery will listen to your concerns and what you want to achieve with surgery. Dr Avery will assess your health and medical history to ensure any surgical procedure you are considering is a safe and appropriate choice for you.

Procedure

Every rhinoplasty procedure is highly personalised, with skill and delicacy needed to create a nose that not only functions as it should but fits well in proportion to other facial features.

There may be limits to the changes that can be achieved to the nasal appearance, which is significantly influenced by the size and structure of the nose before surgery, the overlying skin thickness and quality, and the nature of any prior trauma. It can also take up to 12 to 18 months to see the final results of rhinoplasty surgery.

Rhinoplasty is performed under a general anaesthetic, with a local anaesthetic used to help with post-operative pain relief. An incision will be made on the underside of the nose in the bridge of skin between the nostrils, known as the columella, this generally heals very well to be imperceptible at a conversational distance. Further incisions are made inside the nostrils, separating the skin from the bone and cartilage.

Several techniques may be used for reshaping in nose surgery, depending on the original condition of the nose and the desired outcome.

Additional cartilage may be removed from the ear or deep within the nose (the nasal septum) to replace damaged tissue. In some cases, cartilage from a rib, an implant or bone graft may be necessary to repair severe damage.

The surgery will often take between 2-3 hours and can be combined with other procedures as appropriate. Dr Avery will generally have the patient stay one night in the hospital for constant monitoring.

Consultation

There are two main pathways to a consultation with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon. Your GP or another health practitioner can make a referral to Dr Avery. Alternatively, it is possible to refer yourself for a consultation. The decision to have surgery may be made after talking with family or friends or following your own research into plastic surgery and Dr Avery.

The purpose of your initial consultation with Dr Avery is to discuss both your concerns and your goals. It is an opportunity to openly communicate what you want to change, alleviate, improve, restore, enhance, or remove. We will discuss any concerns you may have about your potential surgery and its outcome. We will also collect information that is specific and tailored to you, to add to the knowledge you acquired through your research outside of the consultation process.

When you arrive at Avery, you will check in with our front-desk team and complete a medical history form, if not already completed. We encourage you to bring a supportive family member or friend who can remain with you throughout the consultation if you like, and be a sounding board during your decision-making process following the consultation.

The consultation with Dr Avery will include an examination of the area of your body that you are concerned with and considering changing. Our aim will be to determine if plastic surgery can achieve what you hope it will, and if so, what specific plastic surgery procedures will address your concerns and meet your expectations in a realistic way.

Plastic surgery procedures generally impact both physical appearance and your psychological response to the new changes in your body. Besides all the advantages of having plastic surgery, it is important to be fully aware of any potential limitations of the operation and how they apply to your unique situation. This includes possible complications and what can be done if these occur.

We will discuss what the surgery involves, how it relates to you specifically given your uniqueness and current state of health, what the possible risks of the surgery are, and then decide if having the surgery is a safe and appropriate choice for you as an individual.

After your consultation, our support team will be there to talk through any further questions you have, including the cost of the surgery.

At Avery, our goal is to ensure you are equipped with the knowledge needed for you to feel empowered throughout the decision-making process, surgery and post-surgery.

Recovery

An overnight stay in hospital is often recommended following rhinoplasty surgery. As with any operation, it is recommended that you organise somebody to drive you home from the hospital and have an adult stay with you after surgery.

Following rhinoplasty surgery, you may return to work and normal activities within 1–2 weeks, depending on the complexity of the procedure. A firm supportive splint is generally applied to the nose at the completion of surgery and generally stays in place for 2 weeks which may influence social outings and early return to work. We do not recommend blowing your nose, excessive chewing, swimming, or other activities that may damage the nose until it has completely healed.

There will be some bruising, swelling, and occasional bleeding, which generally subsides about 2 weeks after the operation. Patients recovering from nose surgery will be required to wear a splint and/or nasal packs to provide septum support and help the nose retain its shape while healing. An immediate change is usually evident, but the final appearance of the nose may take up to 18 months to be seen, particularly at the nasal tip, where swelling takes the longest to resolve.

A customised pain relief program will be created for each patient and issued before leaving the hospital. If circumstances change at any stage during the recovery period, then the pain medication can be adjusted accordingly.

Scars from nose surgery are generally not visible, as most incisions are made from the inside of the nose. A small incision will be made at the base of the nose in more complicated procedures. Visible scars can vary depending on the complexity of the rhinoplasty and how well your skin copes with scarring.

Rhinoplasty Frequently Asked Questions

How much bruising and swelling should I expect?

Some bruising and swelling is expected following rhinoplasty surgery. It may take about 7- 10 days for bruising to resolve and several weeks for the swelling to subside. Elevating your head when sleeping and resting, applying ice, and use of over-the-counter medications may assist in the relief of these symptoms.

Can I blow my nose after rhinoplasty surgery?

You should not blow your nose for 7 to 10 days after rhinoplasty surgery to avoid any potential trauma to the nasal structures.

When can I return to my normal activities?

It is a good idea to discuss with Dr Avery when the best time for you to return to work is, as each case is different. We recommend limiting heavy lifting and exposure to dusty or smoky environments, especially in the first two weeks after surgery.

What are the complications that may occur after rhinoplasty?

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with rhinoplasty surgery. You may experience bleeding, infection, persistent numbness, persistent change in smell or taste, abnormal scarring, nasal asymmetry, or persistent nasal obstruction. Dr Avery and the Avery team will assist you if you have any concerns during your recovery.

Will I be under general anesthesia?

Yes, general anesthesia is used in conjunction with local anesthesia with adrenaline, to reduce post-operative discomfort and additionally to reduce bleeding, which allows better visualisation during surgery and less swelling post-operatively.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Dr Avery is a member of the two leading professional associations for plastic surgeons in Australia, ASAPS and ASPS. Their websites provide additional information regarding plastic surgery in Australia that you might find useful, please visit ASAPS and ASPS.