Rhinoplasty can be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the exact procedure and the person’s preference. It is performed in a surgeon’s office, a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center. Complex procedures may require a short hospital stay. The procedure usually takes 1 to 2 hours. It may take longer.
With local anesthesia, the nose and the area around it is numbed. You will probably be lightly sedated, but awake during the surgery (relaxed and not feeling pain). General anesthesia allows you to sleep through the operation.
The surgery is usually done through a cut (incision) made inside the nostrils. In some cases, the cut is made from outside, around the base of the nose. This type of cut is used to perform work on the tip of the nose or if you need a cartilage graft.
A splint (metal or plastic) may be placed on the outside of the nose. This helps maintain the new shape of the bone when the surgery is finished. Soft plastic splints or nasal packs also may be placed in the nostrils. This helps keep the dividing wall between the air passages (septum) stable.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Rhinoplasty is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures. It can be used to:
- Reduce or increase the size of the nose
- Change the shape of the tip or the nasal bridge
- Narrow the opening of the nostrils
- Change the angle between the nose and the upper lip
- Correct a birth defect or injury
- Help relieve some breathing problems
Nose surgery is considered elective when it is done for cosmetic reasons. In these cases, the purpose is to change the shape of the nose to one that the person finds more desirable. Many surgeons prefer to perform cosmetic nose surgery after the nasal bone has finished growing. This is around age 14 or 15 for girls and a bit later for boys.