Skip to main content
Dartmouth-Hitchcock logo
Summer Flowers In This Section

Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery)

Nose surgery, or rhinoplasty, is the most common plastic surgery procedure and may be the answer for people who feel like their nose doesn't fit their face.

Who are the best candidates for rhinoplasty?

The goal of rhinoplasty is to create a natural looking nose by reshaping, decreasing or enhancing the patient's current nose. The surgery can be tailored to each patient's individual needs and desired outcome.

For some people who have breathing problems due to a birth defect or injury, rhinoplasty may provide relief.

The best candidates for rhinoplasty are people who are looking to improve their features, not achieve perfection. As with all cosmetic surgery procedures, it's important to discuss your expectations with your surgeon.

What are the risks?

As with any surgery, there are some risks involved with proper healing. When performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, complications with rhinoplasty are infrequent and minimal.

After surgery, small burst blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin's surface; these are usually minor but may be permanent.

Does rhinoplasty leave any visible scars?

When rhinoplasty is performed from inside the nose, there is no visible scarring at all. When an "open" technique is used, or when the procedure calls for the narrowing of flared nostrils, there will be small scars on the base of the nose, however these scars are usually not visible.

Where will my surgery take place?

Most often rhinoplasty procedures are done in the operating room.

What type of anesthesia is used?

Normally general anesthesia is used to perform rhinoplasty.

How long is the recovery period?

For the first 24 hours you should plan on staying in bed with your head elevated. Most patients are moving around within two days after surgery. You should be able to return to sedentary work (or school) within a week to ten days following the procedure. It will take several weeks to get totally up to speed.

What happens after surgery?

After surgery, particularly during the first 24 hours, your face will feel puffy, your nose may ache, and you may have a dull headache. You can control any discomfort with the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. Plan on staying in bed with your head elevated (except for going to the bathroom) for the first day.

You'll notice that the swelling and bruising around your eyes will increase at first, reaching a peak after two or three days. Applying cold compresses will reduce this swelling and make you feel a bit better. Most of the swelling and bruising should disappear within two weeks or so.

A little bleeding is common during the first few days following surgery, and you may continue to feel some stuffiness for several weeks. Your surgeon will probably ask you not to blow your nose for a week or so, while the tissues heal.

If you have nasal packing, it will be removed after a few days and you'll feel much more comfortable. By the end of one or two weeks, all dressings, splints, and stitches should be removed.

Is this procedure covered by insurance?

Most insurance companies do not pay for this kind of procedure. If your rhinoplasty is done for reconstructive purposes, to correct a breathing problem you may be having, or to correct a marked deformity following an injury, then the procedure may be at least partly covered. You should check with your insurance agency and you may wish to get pre-authorization for coverage in advance of your surgery. (Because of this, you should be sure to tell the surgeon that you see if you have had any previous nose surgery or injuries, even it was a number of years ago. You should also be sure and tell them of any breathing problems you suffer from.)

Contact Us