Limits to Rhinoplasty?

How many aspects of the nose can be changed in one Rhinoplasty? (e.g. Length, width, tip, bridge, nostril size) Are there limits as to how many aspects can be changed in one single Rhinoplasty?

Doctor Answers 14

A rhinoplasty can address several areas in one procedure

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In general, a rhinoplasty can address all of the areas you described in one procedure, and in fact, it is usually the best way to get the nicest result. The limits of the procedure are determined by the patient's anatomy and the degree to which any one area can be altered-- in other words, for example, we can narrow the nose, but only to a point, otherwise it will look too unnatural or will cause you breathing problems.

Good luck and hope that helps,

Dr. S

Limits to rhinoplasty

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There are some intangible limits with the amount of change that can occur with a rhinoplasty. The length of the nose can be changed, the width of the nose can be narrowed or widened; there are different tip techniques that can be performed, the bridge can be altered, and the nostril size can be reduced. All of this can be done at the same time with a single rhinoplasty procedure. It is very important to make sure that the nose balances with itself and other facial features. It is impossible to take a very large nose and make it into a very small nose and still have it look well defined, balanced, and match with a person’s face.

Comprehensive Rhinoplasty Addresses All Problem Areas of the Nose

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The best rhinoplasty is one that produces a nose that is proportional and in balance and harmony with the other facial features. This can involve addressing all areas of the nose including: the dorsum (bridge), the boney vault, the tip, and the alar (nostril) base. Not all rhinoplasty patient need to have adjustment to each and every part of the nose -- this is something that needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Ideally, rhinoplasty is a one time operation -- patient's should not need a second surgery or a touch up if the first one is performed correctly. [ The exception to this is complex secondary (revision) rhinoplasty or nasal reconstruction in which the procedure is planned in several stages. These are unusual cases and doesnt apply to the vast majority of primary (first-time) nose jobs.

There are, however, limitations to what rhinoplasty can accomplish. For instance, very large noses or noses with very thick skin can be made somewhat smaller; but in order for the nose to have any shape, the skin must fit tighly around the newly constructed framework. The converse is true for small noses -- the nose can be made larger, but only to the extent that the skin will accomodate the framework.

Rhinoplasty Limits

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Everything you mentioned can be changed during your rhinoplasty. There are limits on how they are changed and how much they are changed. All this depends on the finesse of your surgeon. 

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Rhinoplasty limits

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Hi, there are technically limits to any surgery, but all of the aspects of the nose are fully evaluated at the time of consultation. In general, everything that needs to be altered can be done in one surgery; it would be very unusual to stage a cosmetic rhinoplasty. There are some structures that we routinely preserve, such as a segment of cartilage, to maintain the structure of the nose and prevent future complications, but most other areas can be altered. Good luck, /nsn.


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 Rhinoplasty surgery can improve  multiple cosmetic as well as functional problems with the nose. However, we are limited to some extent by the individual's anatomy.  

Limits to what rhinoplasty can do? Absolutely!!

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The short answer is yes.  Rhinoplasty can alter virtually any aspect of the nose. However, not necessarily to the degree you would prefer. The anatomy and individual characteristics constrain the surgeon options. This is the reality. We all wish it wasnt!

Types of Changes Possible in Rhinoplasty

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All kinds of changes can be achieved in a single rhinoplasty as long as it is a primary (first time) rhinoplasty. The shape, the length, the width, the tip's projection, etc. One thing that cannot be done at the same time is any treatment of the nasal skin. It has to be done at a different time otherwise the compromise of blood supply can cause poor healing of the skin.


Yes there are limits

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There are certain limitations in rhinoplasty depending on what you start off with. Often I have patients bring in a picture of someone's nose they want their nose to look like. Acheiving this is usually impossible because everyone's nose is a little different. General aspects such as taking off a dorsal hump, narrowing a nasal tip, etc. can be performed safely and effectively. The more changes you make to a nose the more potential for complications. Everyone has a different skin type, strength of cartilage, etc. Often people want smaller noses, but this is not always compatible with breathing. Usually a happy medium can be acheived to balance and refine what you have while maintaining function.

Samson Lee, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon


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 With rhinoplasty, several aspects of your nose can be modified within reason.  If you post a picture, we may be able to give you more specific advice.  However, rhinoplasty classically can be used to change the length, width, tip shape and nostril size all in one setting.  Good luck.

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.