What Is Rhinoplasty Surgery? - Definition, Risks & Recovery

Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct some aspect of the nose! Not all rhinoplasty procedures are for cosmetic reasons, so read more to learn why someone might have nasal surgery, what the risks are, and the details on the recovery process.

What is Rhinoplasty?

Picture yourself playing softball and the outfielder throws you the ball. Right as you are preparing to catch it - oh no! - you sneeze and completely miss the ball...with your glove. Instead, it hits you right in the face and breaks your nose. What do you do? Depending on the extent of your injury, one option may be rhinoplasty.

Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure for correcting and reconstructing the nose (sometimes referred to as a 'nose job'). Surgery may be performed on the bones and cartilage of the nose to restore lost functions, aesthetically improve the shape or angle, fix an injury or breathing problem, or to fix a previous surgery.

There are two types of rhinoplasty surgery - open and closed. The location and types of incisions (cuts) created by the surgeon dictates which type of procedure it is. So, in open rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes cuts to the columella, which is the end of the nasal septum (the material that separates the left and right airways of the nose, dividing into nostrils). In closed rhinoplasty, the surgeon only makes incisions within the nose itself, and doesn't cut the columella. The degree of scarring and post-operative care a patient requires is different between the two types of rhinoplasty. Typically closed rhinoplasty is less invasive and allows the patient to recover faster with less scarring.

Risks of Rhinoplasty

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with have a nose surgery. The most common risks of rhinoplasty are bleeding, injury to the septum (the material separating your nostrils), skin problems that could include necrosis (skin death) and irritation, skin discoloration, change in skin sensitivity, infection, nasal blockage due to swelling, and anesthesia complications. And, of course, if you are having rhinoplasty done for cosmetic reasons, there's no real guarantee that you'll be happy with the results. If you're considering rhinoplasty surgery, you should discuss all of the risks with your doctor.

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