No one is perfect, by any means. But we do want to look a certain way, and our noses can have a lot to do with how we feel about our appearance. We can lose weight if we are unhappy with our size, or body shape—to an extent. We can change our hair color with dyes, and we can change our eye color with contacts. Unfortunately, there are no natural modifications we can make to our diet or accessories we can add to change the shape and size of our nose.

We are born with a specific nose shape and size that is unique to each and every individual. The only way to change our nose is to have a rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty is one of the most popular facial plastic surgery procedures out there, and we can see why. Rhinoplasty changes the look of the face and is a fairly quick confidence booster.

What is a rhinoplasty?

A rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that will reshape the nose and nostrils that can change the overall look of the nose. This procedure is the only way to change the shape and size of the nose which can be altered over time with defects from birth, related injuries, and any other conditions that cause an unnatural shift to the placement of the nose.

Video on the Rhinoplasty Procedure

The Structure of the Nose

The nose is composed of mostly cartilage and from the beginning bridge of the nose, usually, where glasses sit, down to the tip, and forms the intersection between the left and right sides. The upper third that is a part of the skull is bone. Either of these, bone or cartilage, can be removed or added to using grafts or transporting cartilage from other parts of the body such as the ears and rib cage (floating ribs are made of cartilage).

How is the rhinoplasty performed?

Rhinoplasty surgery can be done in one of two ways; the first is that we do an open rhinoplasty, which is performed by adding small incisions through the nostrils on both sides and one incision at the base of the nose—area of skin between the nostrils. This surgery is done as the patient is under general anesthesia and sedation, or without sedation. Dr. Elias will let you know all the details of rhinoplasty before the surgery is performed.

The second way to perform the rhinoplasty is to perform a closed rhinoplasty that requires only two small incisions done through the nostrils and inside the nose. This surgery can sometimes be performed in addition to other procedures such as tonsil removal, to help with increased breathing space during sleep.

Rhinoplasty Modifications

There are variations to each surgical method during rhinoplasty depending on the specific modifications of each patient’s cosmetic needs. Should the nose be large in width, some sutures will be placed through the incisions and cartilage of the nostril area. The sutures can then be pulled to tighten and lessen the width of the nose. Of course, some of the cartilage can be cut away from the nostril area and the bridge should there be a hump on the bridge of the nose.

After the surgery is through, Dr. Elias will close internal nose incisions with dissolving sutures so there’s no need to worry about suture removal. Skin incisions will be closed with non-dissolving sutures which are generally removed a week after surgery. Your nose may be placed in some splints on the inside and outside of the nostrils, or at the base of the nose for support; some bandages will be placed over any sutures on the surface of the skin to complete the closure.

Who performs the surgery?

Dr. Elias of Southern California Center for Surgical Arts performs all rhinoplasty surgeries himself. With an extensive background in plastic surgery and cosmetic techniques, Dr. Elias will walk you through the specific procedure details based on the modifications of your particular procedure.

How do I prepare for rhinoplasty?

Before the rhinoplasty surgery can take place, it’s important to have a full medical history done with the physician so that they will know whether or not your procedure is purely cosmetic, or if it’s for medical (breathing) purposes.

Breathing can be obstructed by something called a deviated septum which can greatly decrease the air volume coming in and out of the nose while sleeping. The next thing we like to check on is if you would be susceptible to any anesthetic allergies. Depending on the medical history, Dr. Elias will offer the best methods of treatment for your rhinoplasty.

Because rhinoplasty surgery mostly isn’t covered by insurances, it’s a good idea to explore all financial options (however in some cases rhinoplasty can be covered by medical insurance, if the surgery is performed to correct nasal obstruction and birth defects such as cleft lip, and palate or traumatic injury). At the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts, we can help you through the decision to see what the best financial options will be for you.

What to expect after surgery?

After treatment, bruising occurs around the area of the rhinoplasty. Usually, we see bruising around the eyes and nose. This bruising will subside over the course of a few weeks. Full recovery can take months, and depending on the extent of rhinoplasty may take longer to see the full effect.