Rhinoplasty and Septoplasty - Nose Surgery

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What is the difference between rhinoplasty and septoplasty?

Rhinoplasty refers to any cosmetic alteration in the external appearance of the nose. Septoplasty is the nose surgery procedure performed to remove deviated cartilage from the middle of the nose. Septoplasty and rhinoplasty are often performed as part of the same nose surgery in order to combine the recovery period.

Dr. Horn is a NYC based facial plastic surgeon trained in both ear, nose, throat, and facial cosmetic surgery, which provides her patients with the highest level of training and expertise. She will examine the structure of your nose, both externally and internally, to evaluate what you can expect from rhinoplasty. You are most likely to be pleased with the results of your surgery if you have a realistic idea of what nasal surgery can and cannot do.

You can expect a thorough explanation of Dr. Horn’s expectations and the risks involved in surgery. Following a joint decision by you and Dr. Horn to proceed with rhinoplasty, she will take photographs and discuss the options available. Dr. Horn performs computer imaging to show you what your nose is likely to look like after surgery. Dr. Horn will also explain how the nasal structures, including bone and cartilage, can be sculpted to reshape the nose and indicate how reshaping the chin, for example, could enhance the desired results.

Who is an ideal candidate?

Good health and realistic expectations are prerequisites and understanding nasal surgery is also critical. The goal is to improve the nose aesthetically, making it harmonize better with other facial features. Skin type, facial symmetry, and age are important factors to be considered in discussions with your surgeon prior to surgery. Before the nose is altered, a young patient must reach full growth, usually around age fifteen to sixteen. If you already breathe well through your nose, you should know that many rhinoplasties can also be performed without altering the internal breathing structure of the nose.

How long will the results last?

Rhinoplasty results are considered fairly permanent. Over many years, gravitational effects on the rest of the face will also act on the nose, but the cartilaginous support of the nose generally maintains its structure well.

How long does the nose surgery take?

Under normal conditions, rhinoplasty takes one to three hours, depending on the complexity of work needed.

Is it done at a hospital/surgical center or in the office?

Rhinoplasty is performed at either a hospital or a surgical center. Dr. Horn performs rhinoplasty under general anesthesia because she believes this is safest, and patients go home after they have recovered from surgery.

How long is the recovery time?

A small cast will be placed on your nose to protect it and to keep the structure stable for one week. Dr. Horn will place small splints inside your nose during surgery, which are removed one week after surgery. Your face will feel puffy, especially the first day after surgery. Pain medication may be required. Dr. Horn will advise you to avoid exercise, heavy lifting, and blowing your nose for seven days after surgery.

In the days immediately following surgery, you may experience bruising and minor swelling in the eye area. Cold compresses often reduce the bruising and discomfort, as does sleeping with the head elevated. Absorbable sutures are used on the inside of the nose–these do not have to be removed. Occasionally, removable sutures are used on the outside of the nose, which are removed with the cast and splints seven days after surgery. Sun exposure, exertion, and risk of injury must be avoided. If you wear glasses, these may need to be taped so that they do not rest on the bridge of the nose.

What are some of the common complications of nose surgery?

Rhinoplasty surgery is generally very safe; however, any surgery can have complications. Dr. Horn will discuss these complications is depth with you, including bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications, scarring, asymmetries, and need for further surgery.

Will I need to take time off from work?

Most patients take one to two weeks off of work. You will not feel ill or the need to be in bed, but you will certainly have facial pressure and nasal stuffiness for the first week.

How much swelling and scarring should I anticipate?

Swelling and scarring vary from person to person. Most people have enough bruising and swelling that they prefer wear a hat while in public during the first week. By the end of the second week almost all patients have comfortably returned to the public arena. Prolonged swelling is unlikely, but swelling can be minimized by keeping the nose out of the sun for the first year.

Does insurance cover rhinoplasty or septoplasty?

Insurance does not generally cover surgery that is done purely for cosmetic reasons. Surgery to correct or improve nasal function, major deformities or injuries may be reimbursable in whole or in part. It is the patient’s responsibility to check with the insurance carrier for information on the degree of coverage.