Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty)

The nose is a central part of our face, and critical for good breathing and cosmetic appearance. You may have concerns that have developed naturally or after an injury. Common concerns are a nasal hump, big nasal tip (bulbous nasal tip) or deviation of the nose. You may notice that you have trouble with breathing through your nose (nasal obstruction).

Nose surgery (called Rhinoplasty) is performed for cosmetic reasons, for breathing issues, or for both nasal appearance and nasal obstruction concerns. Typically, surgery addresses the underlying shape of the nose by adjusting the bone or cartilage structure of the nose. As your nose is individual to you, your surgery is tailored to your nose and desire through expert nasal surgery with your plastic surgeon. It is important to be clear in your expectations so that your plastic surgeon can determine the best method and explain the measures (and potential risks) required to meet these.

Nasal surgery performed by your plastic surgeon is usually undertaken with hidden scars inside the nostril and a small scar between the nostrils that is usually hard to see in the long term. The nasal structure is exposed and modified – smoothing a nasal hump, controlled fracture of the nose to straighten it, or fine work on the nasal tip to reshape it. When nasal obstruction is a concern, the septum between the two nasal passages may be straightened (septoplasty) or cartilage may be placed to widen tight areas in your nose (spreader graft) – both measures will improve your breathing.

If you have problems breathing through your nose or appearance concerns that regularly disturb you, a nose job may be beneficial. Rhinoplasty is performed in adults after the face is fully grown to avoid disturbing natural nose growth. The decision about nose job surgery is very important, and you should have balanced mental health and taken sufficient time to consider your options before proceeding. Individual suitability, type of surgery and expectations of outcome will be discussed with your plastic surgeon at your consultation.

A consultation with your plastic surgeon will enable personalisation of the procedure and care to your unique situation. If you have problems with nasal obstruction, or your concern results from an injury or birth defect, the procedure may be partly rebatable – you will require a referral from your family doctor and routinely complete a questionnaire about your level of breathing difficulty when you attend – don’t worry we can help you with this process.

Surgery is usually booked as a day procedure under general anaesthetic for your comfort, though in some cases an overnight stay may be recommended. You will need to fast on the day of surgery, and organise a support person to take you home and be around the first night after surgery.

After surgery, it is normal to have some bruising and swelling in the nose and eye area that will be most evident 1-2 days after surgery and mostly resolve over 2-3 weeks. Your surgeon will apply an external nasal splint to protect and support the changes from surgery, you will need to wear this for one week. It is important to rest after surgery and use ice packs to the area to reduce swelling and discomfort.

Surgery to adjust the nasal tip is not particularly painful (simple pain medications such as paracetamol usually suffice). When nasal surgery requires correcting deformity in the bone or the septum, it will be more painful (often requiring opiate type pain relief for the first few days).

We recommend that you avoid driving for 1 week and typically need to take 2-3 weeks off work, and up to 6 weeks off for heavy physical jobs or activity (including gym or exercise). A post-operative appointment will be organised for you to see your plastic surgeon 1 week after surgery to remove your splint and several small stitches between the nostrils, check your progress and provide advice to care for your scars as you recover.

Substantial improvement will be noticed once the early swelling from surgery settles in 1-2 weeks. It may take up to 6 months for all swelling to settle and scars to mature, to see your long-term result. Results from nasal surgery are usually long-lasting.

It is important to know that you will notice a greater improvement if your nose has more deformity or obstruction before surgery, than if a smaller adjustment is required. Remember that the desired outcome is a natural nose that is in harmony with your face.

All operations have risks, though major complications are rare after rhinpolasty surgery. There is a small risk of concerns that may delay healing and require a little extra care (eg minor bleeding, infection, over-active scars). Excessive bleeding that requires blood transfusion is incredibly rare. There are small risks of worsening nasal breathing or of the cosmetic appearance not improving as planned (perhaps from minor asymmetry or small bumps) despite the best efforts of your plastic surgeon. These risks may vary depending on your specific situation and will be discussed with you at your consultation. Please feel reassured that your plastic surgeon will only recommend surgery if they feel that the benefit of the procedure substantially outweighs the risks.

When nose job surgery is undertaken for improvement in breathing, or to correct deformity after injury or birth defect, part of the cost is rebatable through Medicare and standard private health insurance. This does require a referral from your family doctor and confirmation of nasal obstruction (if breathing concern is the issue) on your questionnaire (you may fill this out prior to your consultation). When rhinoplasty surgery is performed purely for appearance, it is considered cosmetic – no rebate is available from Medicare or private health insurance. After your consultation, a detailed quote will be provided to you including the surgeon fee, anaesthetic fee and hospital fee.

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Please be aware that all surgical procedures require a consultation with our plastic surgeons to allow a thorough assessment and discussion of your specific needs.