The vast majority of patients who get rhinoplasty surgery report a demanding but overall smooth postoperative recovery period and immediate satisfaction with their final results. (Some dislike for their results may set in later, which isn’t uncommon, however most patients are initially fairly satisfied.)
“The overall satisfaction rate with rhinoplasty was 83.6%. The satisfaction rate among female patients [87.6%] was significantly higher than among male patients [56.1%].”Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Patient Satisfaction After Rhinoplasty: A Social Media Analysis, January 2016
Nose jobs are “generally safe,” but like all such cosmetic surgical procedures, there are definite risks involved in the treatment, just as there are risks associated with any other kind of elective or medically necessary surgery, from cesarean section to laser eye surgery.
The list that follows covers some of the most prevalent risks associated with rhinoplasty surgery.
Risks of Rhinoplasty Surgery
The risks of rhinoplasty surgery are, in short, about the same as those involved in all cosmetic or elective surgery: Death is one of many side effects that you’ll sign off on being at least a mere possibility—even though death from rhinoplasty is so very rare as to be of almost zero statistical concern.
More commonly, the risks involved in rhinoplasty surgery are:
- Dissatisfaction with your surgical results is the #1 most common risk of rhinoplasty surgery. Rhinoplasty is the single most difficult plastic surgery performed, bar none so it is crucial that you find a surgeon whose work you inspect closely and come to greatly appreciate. Follow him or her on social media, read reviews, look at as many before-and-after pictures as you can.
- Bleeding, bruising, and swelling due to the trauma your nose must go through.
- A deviated septum, which causes difficulty breathing or prevents breathing in one nostril
- Serious adverse reactions to the anesthesia used in the procedure. Be sure your surgeon employs a licensed physician anesthesiologist for your surgery—a “FASA,” of Fellow of the American Society of Anesthesiologists is the best possible and highest-trained knockout professional you can have on your case.
- You may develop a need for additional surgeries, whether to handle difficult or labored breathing, or to correct some aspect of your results that you don’t like.
- The area around the nose may become permanently numb—very rare, but a risk nonetheless.
“[B]reathing disturbances… are reported in 70% of all revision-rhinoplasty-patients.”Gerhard Rettinger, “Risks and complications in rhinoplasty,” Current Topics in Otorhinolaryngology, Head Neck Surgery, March 14, 2008
Additional risks of rhinoplasty include the following:
During the first week after rhinoplasty, some patients may bleed from the nose. Usually, applying pressure locally and using ice can halt this, but sometimes, nasal packing may be necessary. Very infrequently, severe bleeding may need hospitalization or a blood transfusion, but it is also a possible risk associated with a nose job recovery.
Infection following rhinoplasty is rather rare, although it may happen. The soft tissues of the nose, face, and sinuses may become red and painful as a consequence of this. Antibiotics will often help to resolve this.
3. Difficulty breathing
A skilled rhinoplasty surgeon has to be very knowledgeable about the physiology and architecture of the nose. Significant functional issues with the nose might arise if it is too shortened without taking into account the nasal architecture required for breathing. Typically, this would cause nasal obstruction symptoms. With further revision nasal surgery to repair the collapsed area, the majority of these functional issues with the nose may be resolved.
4. Altered nasal sensitivity
The skin surrounding the operated region may feel differently after nose surgery, just as it would after surgery anyplace else on the body. Typically, the nasal skin becomes momentarily painful, sensitive, and numb as a result. These symptoms often go away in 3 to 6 months, however they may in rare cases continue.
5. Changes to sense of smell
In the initial post-operative time, decreased scent sensitivity is common owing to swelling, although it very rarely becomes permanent. In most cases, this is simply a temporary effect that can disappear once your nose has healed.
6. Scarring issues
There are two approaches that may be used while doing a rhinoplasty. The first method is known as the closed approach, and it only requires incisions to be made inside the nose itself. The second method is known as the open approach, and it involves making very small incisions on the surface of the nasal structure, in the area of the skin that runs over the bridge between the two nostrils.
In either scenario, inadequate scarring might increase the risk of developing problems. For instance, aggressive scar tissue that forms within the nose might increase mass, which can lead to an uneven shape of the nose. Scars on the skin around the nose that are obvious and unpleasant to look at may take away from your overall appearance and make it plain to see that you’ve had a rhinoplasty.
7. Unsatisfactory aesthetic results
Unsatisfactory cosmetic results after nose surgery may be the most frequent risk. Of course, the best approach to avoid this is to choose a skilled cosmetic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty. However, the ultimate result of the procedure relies not only on your face plastic surgeon’s talent and judgment, but also on how you recover.
A persistent bulge on the bridge, asymmetry between the two sides, asymmetry of the nostrils, abnormalities in the cartilage, and over- and under-correction of the nasal bridge or tip are a few of the more frequent issues people are looking to fix with a nose job. In the end, even though we always strive for perfection, it is rarely attained.
Some imperfections are anticipated, but glaring issues could call for a subsequent modification or a revision rhinoplasty in the future.
Having a nose job has numerous advantages, but you may be better prepared if any health risks arise by knowing about them ahead of time. Before making a choice, learn as much as you can. Then, you’ll be prepared to go through with the surgery.
[Photo by Idy Tanndy]