Richard E. Davis, MD FACS - The Center for Facial Restoration in Miramar, Florida

What is Rhinoplasty?

Put simply, rhinoplasty (sometimes called a nose job or nasal reshaping) is the process of permanently enhancing nasal contour by means of plastic surgery. Every rhinoplasty involves reshaping the nasal cartilage and/or nasal bone in order to produce a natural and harmonious nasal contour that beautifies the face. Reconstructive rhinoplasty, or functional rhinoplasty, can also be used to open blocked nasal passages caused by crooked, twisted, or collapsed cartilage or bone; and rhinoplasty is often performed with both cosmetic and functional goals in mind. In most cases, surgery is performed under either semi-conscious anesthesia or general anesthesia and pain is generally light to minimal. Most patients can return to work within 7-10 days and resume full physical activity within a month.

Although a well-executed rhinoplasty can create significant and sometimes even dramatic cosmetic improvement for most patients; in reality there is a finite limit to how much the nose can be safely altered. In addition to anatomic considerations such as skin thickness, skeletal size, and available blood supply; functional limitations and long-term durability may limit the extent of cosmetic change. Although you may want a specific look, for example an ultra-slender nose, rhinoplasty can seldom transform a nose from one extreme to another, and attempting to do so may lead to complications. On the other hand, a better proportioned nose with elegant lines and a more pleasing contour is possible for just about any healthy young patient.

As the scientific and surgical understanding of rhinoplasty has grown in recent decades, so has its sophistication. State-of-the-art techniques promise ever better cosmetic outcomes, but the mastery of these techniques requires the dedication of a rhinoplasty specialist. For patients with small, under-developed, or naturally weak nasal cartilages, damaged skeletal tissues, or surgically over-resected skeletal tissues, grafts or implants may be required to strengthen, reinforce, or replace damaged skeletal components. The skillful, judicious, and artistic removal of cosmetically unnecessary skeletal tissues, combined with the equally skillful and precise application of structural grafts or implants, requires a rare talent that takes years to fully cultivate. For that reason, rhinoplasty is also widely regarded as among the most difficult of all cosmetic procedures, and without the expertise, skill, and experience of a rhinoplasty specialist, the probability for success diminishes precipitously. Perhaps a more accurate way to define rhinoplasty is the complex surgical reconfiguration of the nasal framework by a skilled and experienced artisan in order to create a durable, functional, and attractive nasal appendage.