Rhinoplasty 101: All About Nose Jobs

The human nose performs a lot of important functions through its approximately 12 million olfactory receptor cells. It’s also an essential component of the body’s respiratory system. There are even 14 different human nose shapes

rhinoplasty nose jobs 101

Some individuals experience low self-esteem if their nose is crooked or somehow misshapen, even slightly. Others deal with medical conditions, including breathing problems, because their nose has been damaged through trauma or grew unusually due to a birth defect. That’s where rhinoplasty comes in. 

If you don’t like the look of your nose, you’re not alone. “Nose jobs” — technically referred to as rhinoplasty — are the second most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States and the top such procedure performed in Latin American countries. There were more than 350,000 rhinoplasties done in the U.S. in 2020 alone. 

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) defines rhinoplasty as nose reshaping surgery that improves the shape, size, and symmetry of a person’s nose, bringing it into better proportion with the rest of the face. The word comes from “rhino,” which means nose, and “plasty,” or to shape, mold or form. 

Rhinoplasty isn’t the same thing as septoplasty, which refers to surgery to improve breathing by straightening the wall inside the nose that divides the nasal passages into a right and a left side (nasal septum). In a rhinoplasty procedure, the bone, cartilage, or skin — or all three — can be altered. 

Top Reasons for Rhinoplasty 

Many individuals get rhinoplasty to improve their overall appearance by changing the size or angle of their nose, straightening the bridge or reshaping the tip. Some seek it out to fix a deviated nasal septum, facial fracture, chronic turbinate hypertrophy or an internal or external nasal valve collapse. Nasal valve dysfunction is one of the most common causes of chronic adult nasal obstruction

Through rhinoplasty, a cosmetic surgeon has the ability to achieve one or more of the following:

  • Straighten a crooked nose
  • Smooth a prominent bump in the bridge of the nose
  • Reduce the length of an over-protruding nasal tip
  • Refine the size of a bulbous nasal tip
  • Narrow a nose that is too wide for the face
  • Reduce the size of a nose that is too large
  • Restore symmetry to the nose following injury
  • Correct breathing problems by opening up blocked nasal passages 

Primary Types of Rhinoplasty 

Rhinoplasty is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, with a standard operating time of one-to-two hours. The type of nose surgery you have is based on the results you want to achieve. 

The two main types of rhinoplasties are cosmetic and functional. The goal of cosmetic rhinoplasty is to improve the nose aesthetically, creating enhanced alignment with the other facial features, but a surgeon also might surgically address issues in the nasal airway to improve nasal breathing. 

Functional rhinoplasty can best be explained as changing the anatomy of the nose for the purpose of improving nasal breathing and other functions. Multiple articles published in medical journals report the effectiveness of functional rhinoplasty techniques for treatment of nasal obstruction to range from 65-100 percent. 

Two less invasive rhinoplasty procedures are tiplasty, which involves reshaping only the nasal tip, and nonsurgical rhinoplasty. In this second type, a surgeon uses injections of hyaluronic acid (dermal fillers) to temporarily fill a dip in the nose, lift a droopy nasal tip or correct a small bump. 

Whichever of these types of rhinoplasties you choose will be done through either an open or closed technique. In an open rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision on the strip of skin separating your nostrils (the columella). With this technique, the surgeon has the optimum visibility during surgery and, thus, the most control. 

When a surgeon performs a closed rhinoplasty (also known as a scarless nose job), he or she makes an incision on the interior of the nose, providing patients with well-concealed scars. This technique typically allows for a quicker recovery than with the open approach but doesn’t provide the surgeon with as much visibility and control. 

Except for nonsurgical injection rhinoplasty, almost every type of rhinoplasty includes most or all of the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia
  2. The incision
  3. Reshaping the nose structure
  4. Correcting a deviated septum
  5. Closing the incision 

What to Consider Before Getting a Rhinoplasty 

Not every individual is a good candidate for rhinoplasty. Those who do undergo the procedure must set realistic expectations for both the healing process and results and discuss those with their surgeon. They also need to understand the benefits and risks of the surgical procedure and the length of the recovery process. 

The average recovery period for rhinoplasty is one to two weeks. After the initial recovery period, patients can expect to take four-to-six weeks before their bones are completely healed and swelling to be almost gone. Patients will be able to resume all of their normal activities, including exercise and strenuous activities, approximately 12 weeks after surgery. 

You might be a good candidate for rhinoplasty if:

  • Your facial growth is complete.
  • You are physically healthy.
  • You don’t smoke.
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic goals in mind for the improvement of your appearance. 

It’s crucial for anyone considering rhinoplasty to find a plastic surgeon who is board-certified, has undergone extensive training and is always up-to-date one the latest advances in medicine and plastic and reconstructive surgery. It’s also a good idea to have your rhinoplasty done in an accredited facility. 

Learn about the benefits of rhinoplasty surgery in Tijuana, Mexico, and see real rhinoplasty before and after pictures from our happy patients! Also, schedule a free virtual consultation with a member of our talented team!

More Information About Rhinoplasty

Dr. Juan Carlos Fuentes

Dr. Juan Carlos Fuentes, MD Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon practicing at VIDA clinic Tijuana. Dr. Fuentes served as Chief of Residents in Plastic Surgery in Guadalajara. His postgraduate fellowship training was also completed at the University of California at Irvine and at Texas University. Specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Rhinoplasty, Botox & Facial Fillers, Brow Lift, Blepharoplasty, Facial Enhancement and more. He is a member of the Mexican Association of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery (A.M.C.P.E.R.), American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (A.S.A.P.S.), San Diego International Plastic Surgery Society, Tijuana Medical Association, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (I.S.A.P.S.) and The Rhinoplasty Society.