Should I Bring Pictures of Desired Noses to Rhinoplasty Consultation?

Hello, I was considering having a rhinoplasty procedure, but had some questions concerning it. I have read up on this for almost a year, but this question tends to stir up the most controversy: Would it be good for me to bring pictures in of desired noses? Second, I am a male with a very long nose, so would I be able to make my nose smaller and more defined; rather than long, and "chubby." The reason I ask this second question is because most of the before and after photos that I have seen of people with long noses has not demonstrated much difference in them. Meaning it seems as if the surgeon only made slight decreases in his/her nose. Why is this?

Doctor Answers 67

Nose pictures and an experienced surgeon equals winning combination

It is always helpful to bring pictures as long as you do not expect to look exactly like any of them. However, it is useful to discuss your sense of what you consider aesthetic for YOUR nose. This will help you and your doctor to arrive on the same page.

In addition, drawings help a lot as well. Software computer imaging is also helpful but not necessary and in my opinion is best used to demonstrate the curve desired on the profile view.

You are correct, many surgeons do NOT take the necessary steps to shorten a long nose. The skin and soft tissue needs to be debulked and structural grafts as well as major septum modifications are usually required. Tip suturing techniques that last long term are also used to shape and maintain the shape and position of your tip so it does not dropp again (that awful banana shape).

An experienced Rhinoplasty specialist can hopefully arrive on the " same page" when it comes to your needs and desires. You should feel confident and comfortable with him/her and his/her abilities. Do not go for hype and advertising but seek out carefully the best talent. Sometimes, tarvelling may be required to arrive at your goals.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Balanced contours in rhinoplasty lead to the most natural result

Pictures are valuable, in order to give you talking points during the consult. They can illustrate specific desires for highlights, size, definition, or tip rotation. Those talking points can then be extrapolated to your current nose shape, and thats when the real conversation begins. You can then discuss with your rhinoplasty surgeon what is applicable to your anatomy, and whether those changes can be accomplished. Imaging is central to this process in my practice.

As for your second question of tip definition, I have to make a point or two. One, it is probably the most common part of rhinoplasty-requests to improve tip definition. So it is a consideration with most surgeries, with multiple techniques to achieve that endpoint. But patients must realize that a natural tip is not a single tent pole, but a nuanced transition involving two tip defining points. Something too narrow here will look operated. And might be pinched so tight that the airway is compromised. So you need to speak about this compromise with your surgeon at the time of your consult.

Kevin Robertson, MD
Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Bring photos to rhinoplasty consultation

Yes, but with a few caveats...

Remember, the consultation is all about communication. You need to make sure the physician understands what you are looking for. For this reason, I also suggest computer simulation (esp for profile changes) to help both surgeon and patient understand what things might look like.

Photo of celebrities, etc. may help the surgeon understand where you're coming from. However, you must realize:

1. Celebrity photos are almost always idealized/touched up

2. Only 'good shots' are shown

3. They are not the same in terms of lighting/angles, etc as medical photography

4. Your face is different--even if we would make your nose look just like the photos (which we probably can't), it may not look right on you....

If you understand these points, then bringing photos can help the communication with your doctor, which is very important in rhinoplasty surgery.

Hope this helps.

Sam Most, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Long and chubby noses postop

In answer to your first question, yes you should bring in photos but they must be realistic. People often bring me noses on faces that don't at all resemble the patient's face. That's not so helpful because usually the patient is subconsciously looking at the other facial features and likes that. Morphing on the computer can help with preop communication but often isn't achieved postoperatively to the degree that one expects. Usually, the morphed photo isn't looked at in the postoperative period simply because the nose doesn't usually meet the morphed goal...but it typically does look good so there's no real reason to go back to that. This is the reason I stay away from relying on morphing too much. The times I do morph, I print up the morphed photo and give it to the patient with a date that they can come back to me with to discuss their result (one year later). They rarely come back with it.

It's tough to tell about the long chubby nose issue you're talking about. I think I know what you mean, and most of it may be because many are really eager to show their rhino results and they still have some edema/swelling. This fluid in the tissues can make them look chubby. Secondly, if you take too much off a nose, then it could be too much. Many, many patients don't want too much a of a change and they in fact request for things to not be changed very significantly out of fear that it will change their appearance. This could explain every single rhino you've seen.

Shortening a long nose is no simple task, especially if you want it shortened greatly. In generic terms, the nose can be shortened to a significant degree but I always tell patients that you can't shorten a nose more than 2 points. If it's a size 11 you can only make it a size 9 even if the patient want's a size 6. You just can't reduce it that much because then the skin and SMAS sleeve has memory maintaining it somewhat. I hope this helps, it's a long winded answer to a fairly simple question.

Best Wishes,


Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Rhinoplasty Consultation

It would be a wonderful idea to have pictures ready to show your plastic surgeon of your desired results for rhinoplasty. A picture is a good reference for the results you'd like to expect however we are all structurally different and not every face or nose is the same. A general idea of what the nose will look like can be determined but no surgeon can determine the exact results that a person will have before having rhinoplasty surgery. As far as acheiveable results that is another question to ask your surgeon, you want to make sure you have a clear understanding of the realistic results you can have after rhinoplasty.

M. Azhar Ali, MD, FACS
Bloomfield Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Rhinoplasty Results Are Unique to You - Have Realistic Expectations

Many surgeons’ offices are equipped with the latest computer technology, which allows the doctor to alter a patient’s nose on screen and show them directly what their new nose is likely to look like. In this way, you can work together to achieve your desired changes and can alter and re-alter the look of your potential new nose in line with your specific desires. If you are set on bringing in pictures of noses you like, I’m sure your doctor will be happy to go over them with you and to talk about their implications for you. It is important, as always, to keep realistic expectations and to be aware that your new nose may look different than pictures of past patients or of celebrities you see because of the other, surrounding facial features that affect your look. 

Sam Rizk, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Should I Bring Pictures of Desired Noses to Rhinoplasty Consultation?

Bringing photos of desired noses to a rhinoplasty consultation can be useful as it conveys the aesthetic of noses that you like including the size, shape, definition and tip position. This can be useful to the surgeon in discussing the objectives of your surgery and expectations from surgery.
Sometimes bringing photographs can be useful in that it may be that the celebrity’s nose is just not realistic for your rhinoplasty. For example if you have thick skin it may not be realistic to expect a very fine tipped nose at the end of the surgery as this will be masked by the thickness of the skin.
Other considerations with magazine photographs or celebrity photographs are that often these photographs have been heavily edited and touched up which may result in unachievable perfect symmetry.

Julian De Silva, MD
London Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Magazine photos at preop appointment



Any information that can be brought to the consultation is helpful including photos of celebrities and othe magazine models.  It helps begin a discussion regarding what your expectations are and whether or not this is reasonable.  For others, it helps them convey in  words what they are not able to convey otherwise. g

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Additional photos and collateral for your rhinoplasty consultation

Absolutely, it is always great to bring in as much information and photos as you and your surgeon need to be on the same page. Most important though, make sure your surgeon has a sophisticated morphing program so you and he can review what is realistic and what the results are going to resemble after the surgery.

Philip J. Miller, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Pictures to Help Acheive Your Aesthetic Goals

Bringing pictures to a surgical consultation is usually very helpful, since they will help you explain your goals more clearly to your surgeon. It is often difficult for patients to articulate their aesthetic ideas since they are often not familiar with the medical and anatomical terminology for features of the nose and surrounding parts of the face. However, it is important to remember that while these pictures will help in fostering clearer communication between you and and your surgeon, they do not represent an exact model of how your nose will appear after the surgery. With a skilled and conscientious surgeon, you can refine and strategically change your nose to more closely resemble the shape and size you desire, however, it is important to keep a certain level of harmony within your face, and your new nose still must fit with the rest of your natural features.

Lawrence Bass, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.