Reconstructive nose surgery, or rhinoplasty is done to alter the shape or size of the nose, and sometimes to facilitate breathing. Reconstructive cosmetic nasal surgery should not be performed until the nose has reached its full growth, typically between the ages of 15 and 16 years old. During reconstructive nose surgery, the cosmetic surgeon typically makes incisions to access the cartilage of the nose, and the bone. Then, portions of cartilage and bone are removed or rearranged to create a new shape.
Since most of the surgical incisions from reconstructive nose surgery are made on the inside of the nose, they will not be visible. After the nasal area has been reshaped, the tissue and skin is then replaced over the nose and the surgical incisions sutured closed. The nose is then splinted to maintain the new dimensions and shape of the nose, while it undergoes the healing process. The nostrils are then packed to prevent collapse and the packing is subsequently removed the day after surgery. The splint, however, usually stays in place for up to eight days.
After reconstructive nose surgery, the patient will be advised to refrain from blowing his nose for about a week. Pain medications will be given to help minimize discomfort and swelling. Bruising is also common around the nose and under the eyes, which may be helped by applying cold compresses to the area, a few times a day. Generally, the sutures or stitches do not need to be removed, because the type of sutures used for reconstructive nose surgery are those that dissolve.
A condition known as a deviated septum can cause an alteration of the shape of the nose, obstructing breathing passages. Reconstructive nose surgery can help normalize the shape and reduce the obstruction. Following reconstructive nose surgery, the patient should keep his head elevated until instructed otherwise by the surgeon, and he should also avoid bending or stooping, exertion or getting too much sun.
Although reconstructive plastic surgery to the nose is generally considered a minor procedure and tolerated fairly well, adverse reactions can occur. These reactions may include bleeding, infection, and reaction to anesthesia. If pain becomes severe, or if excessive bleeding occurs, the surgeon should be notified as soon as possible. Similarly, if the patient experiences difficulty breathing, fever, chills, or drainage, he should also contact the surgeon, who will need to evaluate the surgical site to determine if an infection has developed.