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Reconstructive nasal surgery, or rhinoplasty, is surgery that alters the bone structure and cartilage of the nose. This type of surgery is also known as a nose job and is typically done by a plastic surgeon. In addition to improving the appearance of the nose, reconstructive nasal surgery can also help people breathe better. A condition called a deviated septum can misshape the nose and obstruct the nasal passages, hindering effective breathing. Whether the procedure is done to restore breathing or purely for cosmetic reasons, recovery time is similar.
Rhinoplasty or reconstructive nasal surgery is typically done in an outpatient department, which allows the patient to go home on the same day. Immediately following reconstructive nasal surgery, the surgeon packs the nostrils with surgical packing and fits the patient with a splint. The splint is generally worn for approximately one week, and should only be removed by the surgeon or qualified member of his office staff.
Bruising and swelling is typical after reconstructive nasal surgery and can sometimes last for two or more weeks. Swelling and bruising typically occur on and around the nose and around the eyes. In addition, the nose might still exhibit signs of swelling for up to six weeks following the procedure. The surgeon generally prescribes pain medication, though if pain is mild, the patient can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. Certain pain relievers contain aspirin, which can thin the blood and promote bleeding, so prior to taking it, the health care provider should be consulted.
Although considered a routine procedure, reconstructive nasal surgery can cause side effects. These can include infection at the surgical site, bleeding, the build up of fluid in the surrounding tissues, and allergic reactions to anesthesia. Side effects from anesthesia can include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, and extremes in blood pressure. When the patient experiences side effects from reconstructive nasal surgery, he should consult his health care provider as soon as possible.
Unless the procedure was done to facilitate better breathing, medical insurance will probably not cover the rhinoplasty procedure. If, however, an injury is the cause of the nasal disfigurement, the insurance company may cover the costs. Before considering cosmetic surgery of any type, including reconstructive nasal surgery, a surgical consultation should be considered. During the surgical consultation, the surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure, what to expect during the recovery period, and how to prepare for the procedure.