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Rhinoplasty surgery (sometimes referred to as a “nose job”) is a term that encompasses a variety of procedures to reshape internal or external structures of the nose. The reasons to undergo a rhinoplasty are varied and include people who:

  • wish to alter the cosmetic appearance of their nose
  • were born with a ‘deformity’ they wish to change
  • are dissatisfied with their appearance due to the effects of surgery
  • have had their faces injured after an accident
  • suffer from facial paralysis
  • have structural problems causing inhibited breathing through the nose

This article on rhinoplasty (nose job) surgery is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.


The most common reason for having rhinoplasty surgery is cosmetic, and there are many different things you can have done to alter the shape of your nose. For example, you can have the bridge repositioned, the nose made larger or smaller, straighter or more curved, bumps can be removed, the shape of your nostrils changed, and the position of the tip of the nose altered. It’s possible to have the angle between the end of the nose and the top of your lip changed, and the angle between the tip and the bridge adapted. Depressions can be filled in for a better profile.

Primary rhinoplasty means surgery to noses that have not undergone this kind of operation before. Secondary rhinoplasty (or revision rhinoplasty) means that you have already experienced surgery to the nose, and perhaps have not achieved the desired outcome first time round. A rhinoplasty operation should not affect normal breathing and should leave you with a long-term changed appearance that you are completely happy with.

What happens during the surgery?

A variety of different methods of rhinoplasty surgery are used, and the whole operation can take up to three hours depending on the complexity of the technique. A rhinoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic.

Closed approach – Small cuts are made just inside the nostrils, so that the skin can be separated from the cartilage and bone. The surgeon is then able to make the changes he needs to create your new nose – either taking away some cartilage or adding some extra.

Open approach – Used for more complex rhinoplasty procedures, small cuts are made just inside the nostrils, and one under the tip of the nose across the skin between the nostrils. This allows the surgeon greater access to a broader area.

Sometimes the surgeon made need to take a graft of cartilage from another part of your body, such as your elbow, hip, rib or ear, but this will not affect the function or shape of the donor site. It is often better to use extra material from your own body to prevent any possibility of a rejection of the new material, although artificial material has been used to great success.

After a nose job, your nose may be packed with a dressing to help prevent bleeding, stop scar tissue forming, and give support to the new structures. You may also have a splint or plaster cast over the top of your nose to protect it and keep it stable.

Different types

Reduction rhinoplasty surgery – If you’re having your nose made smaller, a bump removed, or your nostrils reduced, you will be having reduction rhinoplasty (whether it will be open or closed technique depends on what kind of work needs to be done). Often, although bone and cartilage is removed or re-arranged, the skin over the nose is left untouched, and it will reduce itself to fit the new, smaller shape. If no incision is made to the outer skin, scars are not externally visible after your operation.

Augmentation rhinoplasty – If you’re having your nose made larger or the shape of your nose built up in any way (whether through open or closed approach), you will be having augmentation rhinoplasty. Grafts may be taken from other parts of your body, although sometimes artificial materials are used.

There are many techniques and approaches available and a variety of different rhinoplasty surgeries. Your consultant will run through all the options and discuss the best method for your requirements.

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