When considering surgery to reshape the nose to correct a defect caused by a sports or auto accident injury, make breathing easier, or boost your self-image, it's important to learn more about the rhinoplasty before having it done. It doesn't matter whether you want the procedure for medical or cosmetic reasons, asking questions can help you make an informed decision.
What does the surgery involve?
Usually, when performing rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes the incisions inside the nose. That way, no scars will be visible on the outside. But if you are having work done on the tip of your nose, the incision is made on the outside at the base of the nose.
Depending on why you are having the surgery, the surgeon may remove some bone and cartilage. In some cases, a synthetic filler or tissue from another part of your body may be added to reshape the nose.
Where is rhinoplasty performed?
Generally, a plastic surgeon or an ear, nose, and throat specialist performs the surgery. They use general or local anesthesia on an out-patient basis in a hospital, outpatient surgery clinic, or even in the surgeon's office. However, a more complex surgery may require that you spend the night in the hospital.
What should you expect during the recovery period?
After the surgery, a metal or plastic splint is placed on the nose to support the new shape while your nose heals. The surgeon may also place nasal packs inside the nostrils. There will be bandaging around your nose and your face will likely feel puffy. The area around your eyes and nose may be swollen and bruised for several days. Your nose and face will hurt, and you may have headaches.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medication and recommend the use of cold compresses to reduce swelling and pain. He or she may caution against performing strenuous activities for several weeks and suggest that you elevate your head and keep it as still as possible for a few days after the surgery.
What are the possible complications following surgery?
Although swelling and bruising around your eyes and nose are common after the surgery, possible complications include bleeding and nasal blockage due to swelling inside the nose. While in most cases, anesthesia is safe, some people experience complications, such as an allergic reaction to the anesthetic medication. Because infection is always a possibility, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics following the surgery to reduce the risk of infection.
Does insurance cover rhinoplasty?
The price tag for rhinoplasty varies and health insurance plans generally don't cover the costs associated with the surgery, especially if it's an elective cosmetic procedure to correct the size or shape of your nose. But if you are having the procedure to correct a structural problem with the nose that causes breathing problems or chronic sinus congestion, your insurer may cover some of the costs.
Medical expenses associated with rhinoplasty include the surgeon's fee, the fee for the anesthesiologist, the use of the operating facility, medications, splints and other medical supplies, and follow-up care. For more information, you can consult resources like William M. Parell, MD, PSC.