American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Is a rhinoplasty right for you?

Ongoing dissatisfaction with one or more physical features of your nose, as well as functional or aesthetic problems due to injury or trauma, are just some of the common reasons why patients decide to undergo rhinoplasty surgery.

Commonly known as a "nose job," rhinoplasty consistently ranks among the top ten most sought-after plastic surgery procedures. While it may seem like a straightforward surgery, rhinoplasty requires a high level of experience and training to produce superior quality results. If you do decide that a rhinoplasty is right for you, it is important to seek a qualified plastic surgeon that has an eye for aesthetics and detail.

What is rhinoplasty?

Your nose is composed of cartilage, soft tissue and small bones, all of which work together to create the shape and appearance of your nose. Any changes made to any one of these components can significantly alter the appearance of your nose, which is why rhinoplasty can be an intricate, complicated procedure.

During rhinoplasty surgery, your plastic surgeon works on, and with, these individual parts, utilizing a range of techniques to alter the nose both aesthetically and functionally. The techniques used for your rhinoplasty will depend on both your personal goals as well as on the natural anatomical makeup of your nose and any previous trauma or surgery that might have occurred there.

What are the reasons to consider a rhinoplasty?

To change the way your nose looks

Many people considering rhinoplasty want to change the shape and appearance of their nose, which is known as cosmetic rhinoplasty. Depending on the anatomical makeup of your nose and the look one is looking for, cosmetic rhinoplasty may only involve minor changes in structure that are reflected in visibly noticeable improvements.

However, in some cases, altering multiple components of the internal structure of the nose will be necessary to achieve the look you want. Cosmetic rhinoplasty is typically done to change the overall shape of the nose, making it wider, larger, narrower or smaller – with the goal being to improve the overall proportion and balance of the face. To that end, the tip of your nose can be altered as well.

To improve your breathing

Injuries, genetic abnormalities and growths inside the nose can impede the flow of air into the nose and make breathing difficult. Under these conditions, rhinoplasty can include work on the passageways that the air takes and the changes in shape or structure of the nose are designed so air can flow through normally.

This type of procedure will likely involve altering the septum. The septum is the long, large piece of cartilage tissue that runs along the very center of the nose. Changing the position or size of the septum typically is considered a medically necessary surgery because the goal entails a marked improvement in function, and may be covered by health insurance. Sometimes, work on the soft tissue inside the nostril can improve the airflow by widening the space between the septum and the sidewalls and soft tissue of the nose, commonly referred to the nasal valve area.

To complement your ethnicity

Ethnic rhinoplasty is an approach that changes the appearance of the nose, but in doing so, remains true to the patient's ethnicity – enhancing one's nose and balancing your features without sacrificing the various nasal features that characterize different ethnicities. The objective is to give an individual a beautiful, natural-looking nose that remains in harmony with the rest of the face and unique features.

Are you a good candidate for rhinoplasty?

The decision to undergo rhinoplasty is a personal one, based on dissatisfaction with certain features of one's nose and the desire for a different look. The presence of one or more undesired nasal features may well make you a good candidate for rhinoplasty, some common reasons include:

  • A crooked septum that makes the nose appear off-center
  • A bump on the bridge of the nose
  • A wide nose
  • A thick nasal tip, asymmetric, or an overly projecting, or even drooping, tip
  • Cosmetic irregularities due to injury or trauma

Who should you see for a rhinoplasty?

While there are many surgeons who might be technically qualified to perform rhinoplasty procedures, you want to entrust the alterations of the focal point of your face to someone with extensive experience and training in the procedure. You want to make certain that the plastic surgeon you choose possesses the level of expertise necessary to deliver the superior results you expect.

Considering how precise this procedure can be, it's especially important to choose a plastic with extensive training and experience in aesthetic surgery of the face – being a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery helps assure one that the surgeon is qualified and undertakes continual education of the procedure.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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