My nose has been operated on three times and I am still unhappy. I have trouble breathing through my nose and I do not like the way it looks. Is it possible for me to have another surgery or should I just live with it?
How Many Revision Rhinoplastys is Too Many?
Doctor Answers (32)
There are many factors that determine whether or not patients are good candidates for secondary (revision) rhinoplasty. The number of prior surgeries is less important that the quality and characteristics of the nasal skin, framework, and the amount of scar tissue present. Other factors include the extent of the deformities, the risk:benefit ratio of correcting problems without causing addtional ones, and also the patient's psychological stability.
These are all factors that must be addressed on an individual basis in a one-on-one setting. Careful analysis of the patients photographs and the expectations for surgery need to addressed. Finally, revision rhinoplasty should usually be performed by a rhinoplasty surgeon who specializes in revision surgery.
Revision Rhinoplasty advice
I certainly appreciate your frustration, as you have been through the surgery and recovery period three times and are still unhappy with your aesthetics and ability to breathe. In my opinion, form and function go hand in hand. That is, a nose which is well constructed and well balanced will also "work" well... Revision rhinoplasty is among the most technically challenging of plastic surgery procedures so be sure to see a rhinoplasty specialist with the training and expertise to address your concerns.
Revision Rhinoplasty - Look for an experienced surgeon
The ideal number of revision rhinoplasties should be zero. For this to happen you and the surgeon need to share a common goal that is realistic. The surgeon needs to make an accurate diagnosis and execute the operation well and the patient needs to co-operate with all postoperative instructions. Now that you're up to 3 surgeries with airway obstruction you need, more than ever, to see someone who can listen to your concerns and then offer a detailed diagnosis and treatment plan. You need a Rhinoplasty specialist. I find that copies of the prior operative notes are very helpful in anticipating what is left to reconstruct the nose with as well as identifying where things might have gone wrong before. It is also very important for you to have realistic expectations concerning the surgery and the results possible. This is a difficult situation but in most cases something positive can be done to improve the breathing and the appearance.
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How many revision rhinoplasty is too many? "Depends"
It is possible for you to have a nose that is natural-looking and functions well. The fact that you have difficulty breathing makes the decision to do a revision rhinoplasty a good option. You should obtain your pictures and operative report and bring it with you to the consultation. The number of the previous operations is not as important as the degree of scarring, cartilage and tissue loss as well as the degree of the deformity. You probably need to have cartilage graft to correct the deformity. The experience and experise of your surgeon has direct correlation to the success of your revision surgery.
Revision rhinoplasty can improve the nose
An experienced rhinoplasty surgeon must assess the nose to give an unbiased opinion as to the likelihood of significant improvement with the next surgery. Each procedure is successively difficult with an increased chance for a complication. The best chance for a good result is the first surgery, so choose your surgeon carefully.
Revision rhinoplasty - breathing and aesthetic issues
Revision rhinoplasty is one of the most complicated procedures in facial plastic surgery. As such, it would require a personal examination and counseling by an experienced surgeon to determine if it is right for you. Certainly, if you are having breathing issues, a combined functional and aesthetic revision may be necessary.
After having had two revisions (three surgeries), it is best that you seek someone with extensive experience in revision rhinoplasty specifically. You may require any of a number of techniques to rebuild/repair your nose--someone with experience can help guide you through this and determine if you are a candidate for this procedure.
Best of luck to you.
Redo rhinoplasties are extremely challenging. In the cosmetic world they may be one of the most difficult things we do. It is impossible to say without a close examination and history if there are things that can be improved.
While a board certified plastic surgeon is always a good place to start, it is reasonable at your third surgery to go to someone with world renown experience. People like Jack Gunter in Texas or Nick Tabbal in NY - there are literally just a handful of kind of "super experts" that you may want to consider.
I have spent some time training with Nick Tabbal in Manhattan years ago and have nothing but positive things to say about his re-do rhinos.
This is not to say that any plastic surgeon cannot make things better but each subsequent surgery creates more scar tissue, weakens support and vascularity of your nasal structures and can create more problems if you don't get a home run. In my San Francisco practice we routinely see and operate on re-do's but are not above referring out very challenging ones (3rd, 4th, 5th redo).
I hope this helps.
Steven Williams, MD
How many revision rhinoplasties is too many?
How Many Revision Rhinoplastys is Too Many?
Revision Rhinoplasty is and should always, IMHO, be evaluated using the idea of diminishing returns. The more the nose is operated upon, the less quickly it heals, the more cartilage and bone that has been removed from previous Rhinoplasties, the more likely excess scar will build up inside blunting the internal nasal shape and the more narrow the benefit curve becomes.
The nose should always, IMO, be evaluated aesthetically to create something that is refined and naturally looking...not perfect as a perfect nose alone does not make an attractive face. Chasing better nasal breathing, symmetry or other minor flaws in the nose through repeated Rhinoplasty is ill advised and not the best way to make the face more naturally, youthful and attractive. Although difficult, it's good to know when enough is enough. An experienced Rhinoplasty Surgeon can help you make that decision if it's an appropriate one in your particular case.
As rhinoplasty is the most difficult and complicated operative procedure that we do in aesthetic plastic surgery, revision rhinoplasty is even more difficult. In my opinion, revision rhinoplasty should only be done by rhinoplasty surgeons with significant amount of these operative procedures. Not only are they difficult procedures, but the patient can only do so many revisional rhinoplasties without significantly and permanently deforming the nose. It would behoove a patient to take the time to find a plastic surgeon who has significant rhinoplasty experience and expertise so you are assured of a realistic potential for a good outcome. One cannot ever totally restore the functional nasal deformity especially if it has had a significant amount of nasal surgery before.