Some people are born with a nose that is just not the right fit for their face. Others grow dissatisfied with their nose and facial balance as they age. It's an interesting fact that, although we stop getting taller somewhere in our early to mid twenties, our facial features, such as nose and ears, appear to become larger as we age.
Rhinoplasty, commonly called a nose job, is a procedure done to change the shape and size of your nose by surgically modifying the bone and cartilage. A rhinoplasty can change the size of your nose; make alteration to the angle, straighten the bridge of your nose, reshape the nose bone, narrow the nostrils or modify the shape of the tip of your nose.
Since your nose continues to grow as you get older, you should wait until your mid to late teens to have the operation. For girls this age is about 15 or 16; for a boy it can be a little older. A cosmetic surgeon can let you know if the time is right for you during a consultation and physical exam.
No matter how old you are when you decide to get a rhinoplasty, the first step is getting that initial consultation and physical exam from an experienced, properly educated, and fully qualified plastic surgeon. Ideally, you would want to choose a doctor with significant experience who can show you before and after pictures of similar operations to the one he or she will be performing on you.
During your consultation you and the doctor will discuss whether you are a good candidate for a nose reshaping operation. He or she will want to know your goals for the rhinoplasty, why you want the surgery and what you hope to accomplish. The surgeon will go over your medical history and current state of your health. He or she will examine your nose and skin in the surrounding area to determine what alterations can realistically be made.
This initial consultation is also a good opportunity to also talk to your surgeon about any other procedures that should or could be done at the same time. For instance, some patients elect to get a chin augmentation at the same time as they are getting their rhinoplasty.
The surgery itself takes about two hours and is performed under either general or, for less lengthy and complicated procedures, local anesthetic. The rhinoplasty operation can take place in a hospital, a doctor's office, or an outpatient surgical facility.
You will probably be sent home with a bandage and a splint on your nose to protect it and hold its shape after the procedure. Splints and dressings should remain in place for a week or so after the surgery. If your stitches are of the absorbable variety they will dissolve, otherwise you will head back to your doctor's office to have them removed about a week after the operation.
Follow-up care is important after rhinoplasty. Be sure to keep your appointments and follow your doctor's instructions. If you have been thinking about getting a rhinoplasty or are dissatisfied with the look of your nose, get a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon. Find out if nose reshaping is right for you.