Rhinoplasty is one of the top 5 plastic surgery procedures performed each year, with more than 200,000 performed in 2017, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). But 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.
“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 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 then 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. These nerve fibers take several weeks to recover, so pain following rhinoplasty is not common, unlike the pain from a traumatic nasal fracture where the nerves that transmit pain are mostly intact.
“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, then it is soft, conforming, and dissolvable in most cases. In most cases, gauze packing and plastic internal nasal splints tend to cause damage to the delicate nasal linings. They result in more postoperative swelling, bruising and discomfort than dissolvable materials in most cases. 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.
“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 which 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.
If a patient has a rhinoplasty, then it’s commonplace to return to work within about one week. No one will generally notice you’ve even had surgery, unless you tell them! There are no visible scars and most bruising has resolved within a week’s time. A great rhinoplasty can be powerful as it creates a natural appearing nose which 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 so that your aesthetic goals can be achieved.