There is no official (or even widely agreed upon) limit to the number of nose jobs that a patient can get.
And there probably never will be.
However, what there is professional consensus on is important for any patient to understand:
- Just as the reasons for getting a nose job vary greatly, so, too, do the possible complications that can arise from each subsequent surgery.
It is in your own best interest to avoid having “too many” nose jobs.
How many is too many?
That depends on a number of factors, and all of them are unique to each patient.
Getting as many as five (5) nose jobs is not unheard of. Six is less common, but still occurs. The higher you count, the fewer the number of patients you will find who have had that many revision rhinoplasties, but they are likely out there.
What is it called?
The technical or medical term for a nose job is “rhinoplasty.” A patient’s first nose job is called a “rhinoplasty” or “primary rhinoplasty.” All subsequent nose jobs are called “revision rhinoplasty,” and specific names have been given to some of these surgeries as detailed in the table below.
|Surgery||What it’s called|
|1st nose job||Primary rhinoplasty|
|Surgeon revising own patient’s nose job||Revision rhinoplasty (or secondary rhinoplasty)|
|2nd nose job||Secondary rhinoplasty (or revision rhinoplasty)|
|3rd nose job||Tertiary rhinoplasty|
|4th nose job||Fourth rhinoplasty|
|5th nose job||Fifth rhinoplasty|
A popular revision rhinoplasty surgeon frequently shares that he is doing a patient’s fourth, fifth, or even sixth rhinoplasty, presumably after a previous surgeon’s results failed to meet the patient’s expectations.
But surgeons alone aren’t to blame for the trend of revision rhinoplasties.
Patient’s ideals change all the time, and after he or she has overcome the fear of a first nose job, the idea of getting another, and yet another until “perfection” is reached, is easier and easier to swallow.
(Compared to nose job revision surgeries, breast and body revision surgeries are more frequent among “surgiholics,” and the plastic-surgery obsessed.)
Nose jobs: A surgeon’s biggest challenge
Nose jobs are among the most commonly performed plastic surgical procedures in the U.S.
Despite their extreme popularity, nose jobs are one of the hardest plastic surgery procedures to get right.
The number of separate actions that have to be done well by a surgeon in such a small area of the face make rhinoplasty surgery extremely demanding.
It is estimated that for every 10 rhinoplasty surgeries done, 2 will have to be revised at some point in the patient’s lifetime.
Often, these revisions are not done decades after the first nose job (called a “primary rhinoplasty”), but, rather, they are done within a few years of the first operation.
Common causes of revision rhinoplasty
Patients usually want their nose job revised because the first surgery failed to meet their expectations.
Granted, it can be extremely difficult for both the patient as well as his or her surgeon to be able to get a complete picture of what the nose will look like after surgery and recovery.
Even a “perfect nose” may still fail to meet a patient’s ideals, or his or her ideals may change once they are more accustomed to their “new nose.”
Among the most common reasons for revision rhinoplasty are the following:
- Complications of surgery
- Unsatisfactory results
- The desire for further (additional) improvement
The above three categories break down into the following:
- Patient ideals have changed. This accounts for most revisions.
- Patient developed difficulty breathing after rhinoplasty surgery.
- Patient desires the addition or removal of nasal volume; a thinner or wider nose.
- Patient wants the tip of their nose adjusted upward or downward, to better integrate with the remainder of their nose and face.
Who gets the most (and fewest) nose job revisions
Patients who decide to undergo rhinoplasty surgery in order to produce a very dramatic change in the size, shape, or projection of their nose are the most likely to be satisfied with their primary rhinoplasty and are the least likely to desire a revision rhinoplasty.
It could be said that these patients are particularly grateful for the life-altering changes that were accomplished for them, and that, barring medical issues such as difficulty breathing, they are unlikely to desire a second, third, or fourth surgery.
On the other hand, patients whose primary rhinoplasty was done to correct only a small or minor aesthetic dislike on the patient’s part are among the most prone to having another or several more rhinoplasty surgeries.
“A patient who is focused on minor or uncorrectable problems or with unrealistic expectations despite extensive discussion will likely be disappointed postoperatively regardless of the aesthetic improvement.”The Rhinoplasty Consult, Drs. Rod J. Rohrich and Ira L. Savetsky
Revision rhinoplasty limitations
Is there a limit to the number of rhinoplasty surgeries you can get?
No, there is not an official limit on the number of rhinoplasty surgeries or “nose jobs” one can get.
However, if a patient’s nose is operated on by an inexperienced surgeon, or if it is repeatedly operated on by even experienced surgeons, there will very likely come a point when surgical work on the nose is best avoided.
This is due to the already-sensitive and delicate structure of the nose and the fact rhinoplasty is the most demanding plastic surgical procedure performed today.
With each new rhinoplasty, the nose can become harder and harder to operate on. In each subsequent revision rhinoplasty, more and more tissue will have been removed, repositioned, and manipulated.
New scar tissue will have formed after each prior surgery. Bone may need to be rasped down. The walls of the septum may get thinner and thinner, or harder to work with, and the lower lateral cartilages of the nose may lose strength.
This and many more anatomical reasons are why it is important for both patient and provider to work toward limiting the number of revision rhinoplasty surgeries that may be needed or wanted.
It is in the best interests of both the patient and his or her facial plastic surgeon to do so.
How to avoid having too many nose jobs
Patients can avoid the need to have multiple rhinoplasty surgeries by conducting careful due diligence on who they have operate on them.
While this alone will not prevent all instances of revision rhinoplasty, it will greatly reduce the likelihood of needing them.
Other actions patients can and should take to avoid unnecessary revision rhinoplasty or nose job surgeries include the following:
- Ensure their surgeon is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).
- Ensure their surgeon is board-certified by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS).
- Critically review a surgeon’s rhinoplasty gallery before committing to surgery with them.
- Carefully follow all postoperative recovery guidelines they are given.
- Never choose a surgeon based on their price alone. That is a sure way to get discount cosmetic surgery that a patient is more likely to regret and have to have redone.
- If unhappy with one’s first nose job, be willing to pay premium rates for a best-in-class revision rhinoplasty specialist.