Rhinoplasty is one of the top 5 cosmetic plastic surgical procedures performed yearly with over 200,000 in 2017 according to statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The ASPS represents over 6,000 board-certified plastic surgeons and is the largest plastic surgery society in the world. So while rhinoplasty is a trusted and well understood surgery many of my prospective rhinoplasty patients in San Diego share very specific anxieties about the procedure. Let’s explore these fears and see why they’re often overblown.
Fear #1: “My nose will have to be broken.”
We all can remember a time when our nose struck something solid and how painful it felt. This is especially true for my patients that describe a previous nasal fracture or broken nose. The pain often lasted hours to days. This fear may be a common reason patients delay seeing a plastic surgeon for rhinoplasty. However, this is not the experience for a patient undergoing rhinoplasty.
If work is limited to the nasal tip, the nasal bones are often left undisturbed in what is described as a tip rhinoplasty. If it is necessary to alter the nasal bones when removing a nasal hump and narrowing the nasal bridge, then tiny chisels are used to surgically fracture the nasal bones in a controlled manner while the patient is under anesthesia. Once the patient wakes up from surgery, the nose usually feels quite numb because many of the nerves that transmit pain from the nose are temporarily divided at surgery. Because these nerve fibers take several weeks to recover, pain following rhinoplasty is not common—unlike the pain from a traumatic nasal fracture where the nerves that transmit pain are mostly intact.
Fear #2: “My nose will be packed with gauze.”
I always tell my patients that this is an outmoded technique, something I haven’t done since my days in training. If any packing is used following surgery, it is soft, conforming, and dissolvable in most cases. Typically, gauze packing and plastic internal nasal splints tend to cause damage to the delicate nasal linings. They usually result in more postoperative swelling, bruising, and discomfort than dissolvable materials. It is the fear of having gauze removed after surgery that may cause many prospective rhinoplasty patients to hesitate consulting with a plastic surgeon. Today, those fears are largely unfounded.
Fear #3: “Everyone will know I’ve had a rhinoplasty.”
One of my favorite sayings is that bad plastic surgery screams while great plastic surgery whispers. We’ve all seen examples of rhinoplasties that were anything but natural looking. Fortunately, these are exceptions to the rule. Most people who undergo rhinoplasty just look better, yet very natural and certainly not “operated on” or artificial. Most rhinoplasty patients are ready to return to work within about a week.
No one will generally notice you’ve even had surgery, unless you tell them! There are no visible scars (learn more in this post) and most bruising has resolved within a week’s time. A great rhinoplasty can be powerful as it creates a natural-appearing nose that aesthetically fits your face often enhancing your other facial features. Most patients feel much more confident and content after a successful rhinoplasty and only regret not having undergone this surgery sooner.
So now that the main myths and misconceptions about rhinoplasty have been dispelled it should be much easier to consider a consultation to take the first step toward achieving your aesthetic goals.
It’s easy to contact our office for a complimentary consultation and computer imaging with Dr. Chaffoo; simply fill out our online form or call us at
(858) 623-6333. Until then, feel free to review Dr. Chaffoo’s numerous case studies of rhinoplasty in the following links:
Watch Doctor Chaffoo resident health expert on Fox 5 San Diego.