Nose surgery (rhinoplasty)

For many people, a prominent, asymmetrical, bumpy or undesirable nose leads to extreme self-consciousness. One of the most common of all cosmetic procedures, rhinoplasty is used to improve the appearance, and sometimes function, of the nose.

Rhinoplasty remodels the shape of the nose and it can correct an over-sized nose, a hump on the bridge, an undesirable shape of the nasal tip, or a narrow or wide span of the nostrils. Both frontal and profile views of the nose are corrected to complement other facial features, and to provide a balance of proportions. This procedure is usually performed after physical development is complete and the nose had reached most of its' adult size, which is usually in the late teens or early twenties.

The procedure

Rhinoplasty takes between one and two hours and can be performed under a general or local anaesthetic depending on your, and your surgeon's preferences. Patients often return home on the same day as the surgery, and take up to two weeks off work.

Incisions are made inside the rim of the nostrils, and the cartilage and bone causing the deformity are reshaped. The exact procedure differs depending on the type, and extent, of the individuals' problem. If the nose is being reduced in size then cartilage and bone from the nose is removed. The septum (the wall separating the nostrils) can be realigned to improve breathing, and the nostrils can be reduced in size by a technique called alar narrowing.

Dissolvable sutures, which disappear in 5-6 days, are usually used and a splint is applied to the nose to support the tissues. Scarring is minimal and ismost often hidden inside the nose, depending on the exact technique used.

After your surgery

There is little pain following the surgery, and there is usually just a feeling of pressure and stuffiness. There may be some puffiness, bleeding, and swelling following the procedure, however, most visible signs of surgery disappear within 10 days.

After 3-5 days, the splint and any packing will be removed. By the end of the first or second week, all splints, bandaging and stitches will have been removed and you should avoid blowing your nose for two weeks, and bumping your nose for six weeks.

The long term outcome

The blood flow to the nose, the thickness of the skin, and the appearance of the nose will change significantly during the first three months and it can take up to a year for the nose to reach it's final shape. After this time, the results of the surgery are permanent and patients often have increased levels self-confidence, and no longer feel self-conscious about the shape of their nose.


All surgery carries some risks, which include the possibility of post-operative infection, bleeding, excessive scarring and reaction to the anaesthetic. There are other risks that are more specific to this procedure, and it is important that you talk to your surgeon about the possible complications prior to surgery. Pre-existing medical conditions can alter the level of risk associated with any procedure, and it is important that you notify your surgeon and anaesthetist of any medical problems prior to surgery. It is also important to follow your surgeon's instructions both before, and after, surgery to ensure that these risks are minimised.


The components that determine the cost of the procedure are the surgical theatre costs, hospital costs, anaesthetic fee and the surgeon's fee. Prices vary widely and depend on; the extent/complexity of the procedure, the physical attributes of individual patients, and the surgeon performing the operation. A rhinoplasty typically costs around $11000.

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