What are the risks of a rhinoplasty procedure?

Board-certified plastic surgeons take precautions that minimize the risks of surgical rhinoplasty. According to the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons, common rhinoplasty risks include potential complications related to anesthesia, infection, and bleeding. Additional risks include:

  • Scarring or poor wound healing
  • Lingering pain or numbness in the nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Prolonged swelling or skin discoloration
  • Perforation of the nasal septum is rare but possible
  • Unsatisfactory outcome requiring revision surgery

How can rhinoplasty improve the function of my nose?

Rhinoplasty is sought for either cosmetic or functional improvement. Functional rhinoplasty is often performed to improve the width or alignment of the nasal passages, such as correcting a deviated septum. Known as a septoplasty, this procedure refines the cartilage in the nose to allow air to pass more efficiently through each nostril. By improving airflow, rhinoplasty can reduce or eliminate chronic snoring and a congested sensation.

What is recovery like after a rhinoplasty procedure?

Regardless of specific surgical techniques used during rhinoplasty, patients can expect to wear a splint for 5 to 7 days after surgery. The splint holds nasal tissues in place during initial recovery, ensuring that the new alignment of the nose is maintained.

Many patients worry that their nose will hurt after rhinoplasty. This can be a tricky post-op expectation because it is impossible to predict a patient’s pain threshold. Some patients note very little discomfort after surgery and others take prescription pain medication for a few days to maintain comfort. Taking medication as directed and following post-operative practices suggested by the surgeon can go a long way in supporting a pleasant recovery.

Swelling and bruising are expected side effects of rhinoplasty. These effects may remain close to the nose or may spread to the eye and cheek area. The majority of swelling and bruising disappear about two weeks after surgery. Lingering swelling is so mild that only the plastic surgeon may notice.

Is the procedure painful?

The use of anesthesia techniques (general and/or local anesthesia) keeps patients completely comfortable during their rhinoplasty procedure. Anesthesia also provides some degree of postoperative comfort.

What should I expect at the consultation?

One of the most important aspects of the rhinoplasty consultation is to set realistic expectations. Patients will discuss the following:

  • Surgical goals for cosmetic and functional improvement
  • Previous surgeries, if any
  • Medical conditions and previous medical treatments, if any
  • Current medications, including supplements and vitamins
  • Drug allergies

After a thorough consultation, the surgeon may also conduct a brief examination of the nose and visual observation of the face as a whole. Photographs are often taken to provide a clear before and after perspective. This aspect of the consultation allows the surgeon to determine the nose surgery options that would be most appropriate for the desired outcome.

The initial visit with the plastic surgeon is also the time to ask questions about surgery, recovery, what to expect, and any other factors of concern.

How should I prepare prior to the procedure?

There is very little to do to prepare for a nose job once a reputable and trusted plastic surgeon has been selected. The surgeon may request lab tests or adjustments to certain medications or supplements. Patients who smoke should stop as soon as possible after scheduling their procedure. Surgeons prefer that patients not smoke for at least a week or two before surgery.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Steitz, call our St. Louis office at 314.475.3700.

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