Rhinoplasty, or surgery to reshape the nose, is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures. Rhinoplasty can be used to reduce or increase the size of your nose, change the shape of the tip or the bridge, narrow the span of the nostrils, or change the angle between your nose and your upper lip. It may also be used to correct a birth defect or injury, or to help relieve specific breathing problems.
Rhinoplasty takes approximately one to two hours, however, more complicated surgeries may take longer. During the surgery, the skin of the nose is separated from its supporting framework of bone and cartilage. The supporting framework is then sculpted to correct your specific problem. Finally, the skin is redraped over the new framework.
There are two main techniques for rhinoplasty. Many plastic surgeons operate from within the nose, making their incisions inside the nostril, while others prefer an "open" procedure. The "open" procedure is used in more complicated cases. The surgeon will make a small incision across the columella, which is the vertical strip of tissue separating the nostrils. Upon completion of the procedure a splint is placed on the nose to help maintain its new shape. Nasal packs or soft plastic splints may also be placed in your nostrils to stabilize the septum, which is the dividing wall between the air passages.
Usually within one week, the swelling will have subsided and you will begin to be able to see the new shape of your nose. In many cases the final shape is not apparent until approximately six to twelve months following the procedure.