9 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Rhinoplasty
- Last updated: 2 months ago
A rhinoplasty may seem like a straightforward procedure. You want a new nose, you get a nose job.
But there is a lot about the procedure you may not expect. Did you know that a rhinoplasty could limit your ability to wear sunglasses for a while? Or how much pain to expect after surgery? Or that it can take up to a year or longer to see final results?
We tapped into the expertise of RealSelf doctors and the experiences of RealSelf members just like you to highlight a few things you should know about rhinoplasty before your surgery.
1. There is no such thing as the perfect nose.
A successful rhinoplasty is designed to improve the look of your nose. It can change the shape, it can change the profile, it can make it go from crooked to straight. That doesn’t mean with a successful rhinoplasty you will end up with an absolutely perfect nose from a magazine.
“There is no such thing as a perfect nose,” Dr. Elliot Heller, a New York facial plastic surgeon, said in a RealSelf Q&A. “Rhinoplasty does help improve the shape of the face and give new definition to your face.”
Seek improvement, not perfection.
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2. You’ll look like a mummy for a few days post-op.
Usually, bandaging is a required part of rhinoplasty recovery. To prevent bones from moving after surgery and control swelling, you will likely need to wear a splint over your nose for at least a week. Depending on your specific results, some additional bandaging could be needed for at least a few days.
3. You shouldn’t wear glasses or sunglasses for a month after surgery.
The bridge of your nose will need some time to heal after surgery. Wearing glasses or sunglasses immediately after surgery can apply pressure to the bridge and cause indentations, Dr. Rod Rohrich, a Dallas plastic surgeon, said in a RealSelf Q&A.
Many doctors recommend not wearing glasses for at least six weeks after surgery. If wearing glasses is unavoidable, it is possible to use a nasal splint or tape the glasses to your forehead to avoid pressure on your nose.
4. Rhinoplasty can be almost painless.
Medication will help your recovery process. Several RealSelf members report experiencing little or no pain following surgery, however, your recovery will be a very personal experience and can greatly differ from someone else. It is possible to get through the process with little pain.
“I had absolutely no pain from start to finish,” RealSelf member rus121 wrote in a review. "I truly mean 0/10 on the pain scale. I even told my mom during my recovery week that the most painful part of the whole thing was when the nurse took the tape off my arm from the IV.”
5. Breathing might be more difficult than it was before rhinoplasty.
Rhinoplasty isn’t strictly a cosmetic procedure. Nasal airway function is also an important part of the procedure, either in preservation or correction. However, sometimes support for the nasal airway can be compromised during the procedure. If that happens, you could have a congested feeling and difficulty breathing through your nose, like camuji experienced.
A rhinoplasty revision can be done to restore the support you need to give you both a better looking and functioning nose.
6. There are non-surgical options.
Rhinoplasty surgery is the best way to make permanent changes to your nose. However, if you are only seeking subtle changes, there may be a non-surgical solution. Fillers can help with minor issues including small humps, bumps, or slight asymmetry. Usually, the process is quick and easy, but don’t expect long-term results.
“Non-surgical rhinoplasty takes less than five minutes to perform and has minimal discomfort and minimal recovery associated with it,” Dr. Sam Naficy, a Seattle facial plastic surgeon, said in a RealSelf Q&A. “Results typically last up to one year.”
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7. Rhinoplasty could change your voice at least temporarily.
It is possible, although most doctors say it is rare, for a rhinoplasty to have a subtle impact on your voice. This is more likely if you have a nasally voice prior to surgery. If that is a result of breathing issues, the procedure could correct those and remove that nasal quality of your voice, Dr. Peyman Solieman, a Beverly Hills facial plastic surgeon, said in a RealSelf Q&A.
8. You may feel a sense of disappointment or even horror right after reveal.
Rhinoplasty surgery results in significant swelling, and it will take months to fully recover. Some doctors suggest you won’t see your final results until 18 months after surgery. The swelling will go down, and parts of your nose will settle into place. It’s a considerable process.
The nose you see at your initial unveiling will likely look significantly different than the nose you end up with. You should see a change to the profile of your nose shortly after surgery, but don’t judge the overall result.
“Many patients have an uncertain helpless feeling after the surgery when they look at themselves in the mirror,” Dr. Robert Freund, a New York plastic surgeon, said in a RealSelf Q&A. “It takes time to see the final results.”
9. Plastic surgeons can sculpt your nose and make it look better, but within limits.
You may have a vision of what you want your nose to look like. You may even have a photo of exactly what you want your nose to look like. That doesn’t mean that is the nose you will get. Some doctors will show you a computer-generated projected outcome, but even that isn’t a guarantee.
The nose you end up with depends significantly on a number of factors individual to you: How thick your skin is, how much support your cartilage needs, and your existing nasal structure.
“There is only so much that we, as plastic surgeons, can do,” Dr. Kenneth Francis, a New York plastic surgeon, said in a RealSelf Q&A. “Something is always left to the devices of your genetics, your tissues, and the healing process.”
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