Programs & Specialties

Nose Reconstruction

Nose reconstruction (also known as rhinoplasty), changes the shape of the nose. It is sometimes done to correct breathing problems or nasal disease. But it also is performed for cosmetic reasons or to modify structural abnormalities.

Common conditions treated by nose reconstruction include:

  • Nose size in relation to facial balance
  • Nose width
  • Humps on the nose
  • An enlarged, drooping or hooked nose
  • Nostrils that are large, wide or upturned
  • Nasal asymmetry

How Does Nose Reconstruction Work?

Your surgeon will make incisions to access the bones and cartilage that support the nose. The incisions are usually made inside the nose so they won't show. Depending on what needs to be done, bone and cartilage may be removed, or tissue may be added (sometimes from another part of the body). After the surgeon has reshaped the bone and cartilage, the skin and tissue is draped back over the structure of the nose. A splint is placed over the nose to support the new shape of the nose as it heals.

What Can I Expect During and After Nose Reconstruction?

Your physician will provide you with detailed information about your procedure, but in general:

  • In some cases, general anesthesia is required and you will sleep through the operation. In other cases, it requires local anesthesia, where you will be sedated and your nose numbed so you won't feel any pain.
  • Depending on the complexity of the surgery, it will usually take between two and four hours.
  • When the surgery is completed the doctor will place a splint over your nose to help the nose maintain its new shape. The splint also provides additional protection for the nose during the healing process. The splint is usually worn for about a week.
  • Nose reconstruction surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure, so you will likely go home the same day.
  • Apply ice packs to your nose during the first two days after surgery.
  • Swelling and stuffiness of the nose is common for several weeks following surgery.
  • You can expect swelling and some bruising around the eyes after surgery that will begin to improve after the third day.
  • Don't rest eyeglasses on your nose for at least four weeks after the surgery to prevent pressure on your nose. If you wear eyeglasses, you'll have to either use cheek rests, or tape the glasses to your forehead.
  • You may return to light activities after a few days, but you must avoid strenuous activity for several weeks.
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