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A patient's guide to cosmetic surgery sponsored by Nuffield Health

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Nuffield Health, a leading provider of cosmetic surgery in the UK, with a network of 30 private hospitals across the country.

Cosmetic surgery

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Nose surgery - rhinoplasty guide

Nose jobs

Nose surgery is a common cosmetic surgery procedure, also known as rhinoplasty or a ‘nose job’, which is performed to reshape the nose, or to make it larger or smaller. It is also used to correct damage to the shape of the nose following an accident.

Why consider nose surgery

Your nose is the focal point of your face, and if you are unhappy with its appearance, this can significantly affect your self-confidence. Some people consider their noses to be too large, while others would prefer to have a larger and more pronounced feature.

You might also consider nose surgery if you were happy with your appearance, but this has been altered by a facial injury or trauma, such as a broken nose. Nose surgery can correct the damage and return your features to their former look. In these cases, it can also help to restore normal function, such as in cases where the damage stops you from breathing through your nose.

With nose surgery, you can radically alter your appearance, helping you to move closer to your own idea of an attractive face. Nose reshaping is sometimes used by overseas patients to help them to conform to the typical ‘Western’ image of beauty.

What does a rhinoplasty involve?

Cosmetic surgery is normally carried out under a general anaesthetic, with a day or two in hospital after the operation. The procedure takes around three hours, during which time the bones and cartilage are moved, reduced or augmented depending on the shape you are looking for.

  • Reduction rhinoplasty – in this procedure the cartilage and bone are cut down or moved around to reduce and reshape the nose. Incisions are made inside the nostrils (closed rhinoplasty), or occasionally across the columella, the tissue between the nostrils (open rhinoplasty), to allow your cosmetic surgeon to reach these structures. No change is made to the actual skin of the nose, however, as this will naturally shrink to match the new shape. If the reduction is significant, your surgeon may need to alter the shape and size of your nostrils to retain proportion.
  • Augmentation rhinoplasty – in this procedure, the incisions are made in the same way, either within the nostrils or between the nostrils in the columella. The size of the nose is then increased by either repositioning the existing bone and cartilage, or by adding bone and cartilage grafts from elsewhere in the body. Cartilage is taken from the ears or your ribs, while bone grafts are sourced from your skull, elbow or hips. Alternatively, the nose structure can be augmented with artificial implants.

What to expect after your nose surgery

Following surgery your nose will be sore and numb, and you may find that you are unable to breathe through it at all for the first few days. You may also have your nostrils packed with dressings for a day or two, and the new structure held in place by a splint for the first week to ten days. You will also experience swelling and bruising around the area.

You should try and hold your head up for the first few days to reduce pressure on the wounds. You should also try to avoid blowing your nose or disturbing any scabs or crusting that forms. If you do need to sneeze, it is better to do so straight away than to hold back, increasing the power and potential damage when it finally does occur.

You should expect the bruising and swelling to last for at least two weeks, often longer, and it may take a few months before you fully appreciate the results of your surgery. You should avoid contact sports for a minimum of six weeks.

What risks are involved in rhinoplasty?

Like any operation, particularly those involving general anaesthetic, nose surgery carries risks from bleeding and wound infection. You may also be left with numbness in parts of your nose, especially towards the tip, due to nerve damage. This usually goes away after a few months, but in some cases it is permanent.

There is also a small risk that any implants or grafts may move over time and push out into your nasal cavity. This is rare, but can occur many months, or even years, after your original procedure. If this happens, you will need corrective surgery to remove the implant or graft, followed by a further procedure to replace it.

What does nose surgery cost?

Rhinoplasty costs between £3,000 and £6,000 depending on the skill and complexity of the procedure.

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