Cosmetic nasal surgery (rhinoplasty)

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Surgery aimed at changing or refining the appearance of the nose is known as "cosmetic" or "aesthetic" nasal surgery.  


These procedures are known as rhinoplasty or septorhinoplasty.

Is cosmetic nasal surgery right for me?

No two patients are the same. 


Cosmetic nasal surgery is complex, and the changes that are achievable for one individual may not be achievable for another.  It is essential to have a detailed discussion with your surgeon about what is achievable in your individual case, to ensure that you have accurate expectations going into any procedure.

Some changes are commonly requested as part of a cosmetic nasal procedure:

  • Reduction of a prominent nasal bridge (or "dorsal hump")

  • Refinement or narrowing of the nasal tip

  • Elevation of a drooping nasal tip

  • Straightening a deviated nose

  • Narrowing the base of the nose or nostrils

The decision to have surgery to change the appearance of your nose is a highly personal one.  It is essential to work with your potential surgeon to discuss your aims and wishes in detail, and to have a full understanding of the procedure and its limitations.  You should take all the time you need to arrive at a decision, and feel confident that your surgeon understands your aims, and is able to meet your expectations.

Form and function in cosmetic nasal surgery

The nasal septum forms the middle wall between the two nostrils, and is critical for the support of the bridge of the nose.  Because of this, the appearance and the function of the nose are intrinsically linked. 


Almost all procedures that alter the shape of the nose involve the nasal septum in some way, and would most accurately be termed a "septorhinoplasty".  This is especially true if your nose is asymmetrical, or you have any difficulty breathing through the nose.


It is therefore important to work with a surgeon who can assess and treat both the appearance and the function of the nose.  This approach means that the structural integrity of the nose and the nasal airway are considered at the same time as the cosmetic appearance.  It aims to give you a final result that is not only natural and symmetrical, but also maintains a good nasal airway and stable appearance over time.

Before your operation

Our patients are seen on at least two occasions in the outpatient clinic prior to going ahead with surgery.  A thorough examination of the external and internal aspects of the nose is performed, to evaluate all of the anatomical parts of the nose. 


Detailed clinical photographs are always taken.  These photographs can be used for image morphing, to help with communication about the changes you want from your operation.

Subsequent visits are used for further discussion of your wishes, expectations and concerns, and to ensure that we agree about the aims and limitations of your operation.

Before surgery, any issues with your general health should be addressed, and any inflammation of the lining of the nasal cavity should be optimised.  If you smoke, you should stop before surgery takes place. 

After your operation

Rhinoplasty procedures are performed under a general anaesthetic (asleep).  After the operation you may go home the same day, or stay overnight in hospital to recover.

In the first few weeks after a rhinoplasty, the nose and face are often swollen, sometimes with visible bruising under the eyes.  Most of the swelling tends to resolve over two to three weeks, but some milder swelling of the nose may be present for up to a few months.  The nasal airway will feel congested, like having a heavy cold, and you will have some blood-stained nasal discharge, and occasionally small nosebleeds during the first few days.

You will be prescribed painkillers, decongestants, antibiotics, antibiotic cream, and sometimes other medications, to optimise your healing and make you more comfortable.  Take pain relief regularly for the first few days, and try to sleep propped up on extra pillows.  Your nasal dressing is removed about one week after the operation.  We use dissolvable skin stitches, so there is no need to worry about them being removed.

You should avoid heavy lifting or exercise for around two weeks, and refrain from contact sports for at least three months.