Rhinoplasty is a type of surgery that might be considered when a patient wants or requires nasal alteration. This procedure can be performed to improve breathing or change the nose’s appearance, including its shape, size, or proportions. Surgeons can work to change the cartilage, bone or skin of the nose, or in some cases, more than one of these elements.

  • Some patients have it done to correct nasal deformities.
  • Alleviating breathing difficulties, correcting birth defects or altering a person’s looks are also common reasons to have it done.


The surgeon will start with getting the patient’s medical history to ensure that there is nothing in their history that prevents them from being able to have a rhinoplasty. Certain conditions, such as a severe bleeding disorder, could potentially rule someone out as a candidate for this surgery. The doctor will also perform a physical exam. As part of this, they will inspect the nasal area and make note of the patient’s other facial features. If a breathing problem is why rhinoplasty is being considered, examining this issue is also done.

Surgeons may photograph the patient’s face for reference. Several photos from multiple angles are usually taken. After this, expectations are discussed. It is important that patients know what this surgery is capable of so that their expectations are reasonable.

Certain medications, such as those that can increase bleeding risk, may need to be altered in dose or temporarily stopped prior to the surgery. The surgeon will also discuss smoking since it can increase infection risk. Lastly, patients may need to refrain from beverages and food for a specific amount of time before the surgery.


Once the patient is ready for surgery, anesthesia is administered. This might be general anesthesia or sedation with local anesthesia.

The actual procedure depends on what is being done to the nose. There are multiple approaches that a surgeon can take depending on the changes being made. For example, when changing the shape of the nose, the surgeon may shave down the bone or remove some cartilage. The surgeon will discuss the approach with the patient during the consultation that is done prior to surgery.

After the surgery, patients are monitored for at least a few hours. Some may be able to go home the same day as long as everything went smoothly, and their overall general health is good. It is common to have bandages or splints in place. Patients will be instructed about activity restrictions and other post-surgical care before being released.

Possible Risks

Since rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure, there is the potential for risks. Adverse anesthesia reactions and bleeding are possible. Other risks might include recurring nosebleeds. The doctor will discuss further expectations and things to watch for.

Rhinoplasty is a relatively common procedure for both improved breathing and cosmetic purposes. It is important that patients work with their surgeon and ensure that they commit to the preparation and post-surgical instructions to reduce the risk of complications.