Rhinoplasty also called a "nose job", is a surgical procedure that changes the shape and/or size of the nose. The nose is a central feature of the face, so even small changes can lead to drastic improvements in overall attractiveness. Nose surgery is one of the oldest forms of plastic surgery and it continues to be very popular today.
1.5 to 3 hours
1 to 2 nights
General or local with sedation
6 to 12 months
The nose is the central feature of the face. In addition, its size and shape contribute to facial balance. While people inherit the features of their nose from your parents, these features usually only begin to develop during the teenage years. A wide variety of nose shapes and sizes can be found on the faces of those around the world, everyone has different ideas about what they think a ‘good’ nose looks like.
Consequently, some people are unhappy with the size or shape of their nose. As a result, they may consider having a rhinoplasty. Some people may have experienced trauma or injury that has damaged their nose, and they may, therefore, wish to fix this. Others may experience difficulty breathing because of their nasal structure and would like to have a nose job to fix this.
Rhinoplasty surgery can cost anywhere between £5,000 and £12,000. The price bracket is relatively wide because there are many variations which may be suitable or recommended for each patient’s individual wants or needs. During the free consultation, a patient and surgeon agree upon the right procedure type and procedure technique. Only after the consultation, will a final price be offered which will reflect the choices and requirements of the procedure. Higher or lower costs may be incurred as a result of the following variables:
- Surgeon experience
- Anaesthetist experience
- The complexity of the individual procedure
- Surgical techniques (whether it is a revision surgery or Rib Graft, for example)
- The time required in surgery for each patient’s case
The final price will be transparent and include no additional costs. The final price will cover:
- Highly rated CQC hospital cost
- Surgeon and Anaesthetist’s time and expertise
- Overnight stays (should they be required)
- Aftercare and follow-up appointments
This procedure can achieve a number of things, including:
- Improving breathing difficulties. Another term for this is functional rhinoplasty.
- Reducing the size and profile of the nose. Another term for this is a reduction rhinoplasty.
- Increasing the size and profile of the nose. the surgeon may refer to this as an augmentation rhinoplasty. This surgery may require the use of a graft or a nasal implant.
- Re-modelling the shape of the tip, bridge and/or nostrils of the nose. This may involve breaking the nasal bone and rearranging the cartilage.
- Altering the angle between the nose and upper lip.
Why have a rhinoplasty?
As mentioned above, there are a number of different reasons patients may consider having a rhinoplasty. These reasons include the desire to make changes to how they look and to make changes to improve their health. A rhinoplasty can, therefore, achieve the following changes:
Rhinoplasty can alter the whole facial balance, therefore, it is recommended patients take time after the consultation to make sure this procedure is definitely what they want. Furthermore, they should consider how changing the appearance of your nose will affect the dynamics of their other facial features like the eyes, the mouth and the chin.
Candidates & Medical Conditions
Who are the best candidates for rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty is a popular cosmetic procedure in the UK for both men and women. Another name for this surgery is a nose job, and it involves altering the size and/or shape of your nose. Rhinoplasty candidates may choose to have this surgery because of an issue with the appearance of their nose. They may also opt to have this procedure done because they are experiencing breathing issues. These can include loud, noisy breathing which is caused by a structural obstruction. In addition, these candidates can also snore very loudly when sleeping due to the same structural issues.
Suitable rhinoplasty candidates are:
- Unhappy and conscious of the current nose shape or size.
- Would like to correct damage or injury which has occurred to the nose.
- Have breathing difficulties because of the nose.
- Snore loudly.
- Have a healthy BMI.
- Are relatively fit and well.
- Have no serious health conditions.
- Have realistic goals for your surgery.
- Feel mentally and emotionally ready for the procedure.
Many patients can suffer from breathing difficulties because of a deviated (bent) septum. A septum is a thin structure inside the nose made of bone and cartilage and is covered by a mucous membrane (a thick slimy fluid) and small blood vessels.
Ideally, the septum separates the nose directly in half, leaving equal space on the left side and right side, with one nostril for each side. A deviated septum does not run straight and so can block the passage of airflow in some places.
A patient can be born with a deviated septum or an injury/trauma can knock it into a new position. As well as breathing issues (through one or both nostrils) other symptoms can include, feeling like a have a blocked nose, sinus infections and pain such as a headache.
A septoplasty can be performed to correct the deviation by straightening the septum or removing parts of it. This operation alone would usually be performed by an ENT surgeon. It’s important to be aware that this will not necessarily change the outside look of the nose.
For patients also unhappy with the shape of their nose a plastic surgeon may be able to perform a septorhinoplasty. This is a specialised rhinoplasty procedure and can be thought of as combining two procedures. The surgeon will change the outside of the nose (as agreed with the patient before surgery) and correct the septum to alleviate any symptoms.
Turbinates are small ridges made of boney structures layered inside the nose that help to filter and warm up air when breathing in. It’s common for turbinates to become enlarged for a short period of time, for example, when suffering from nasal allergies but for some patients suffering from enlarged turbinates is an ongoing problem.
When enlarged, they take up more space in the nose and the physical symptoms are often a feeling of blocked nose, nasal congestion in alternating nostrils, nasal blockage, noisy breathing and increased nasal discharge. The treatment depends on what is causing the enlargement.
Often medications can be used to treat short-lived symptoms but for long term issues, a turbinectomy (removal of turbinates) might be recommended. For most patients simultaneously, be most likely to perform this. But for patients also wanting to change the appearance of their nose, a plastic surgeon might be able to perform a turbinectomy at the same time. In this case, it is likely that the closest turbinate to the nostril will be removed/ shaved down.
The surgery is very patient-specific, and a plastic surgeon might recommend patients discuss it with an ENT doctor first. If a plastic surgeon can perform the surgery simultaneously, it alleviates the need for two separate surgeries.
How is a rhinoplasty procedure performed?
A rhinoplasty procedure usually takes anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours to perform. Often the anaesthetist uses a general anaesthetic to put you to sleep for the procedure, however, they can use local anaesthetic with sedation too. After the procedure is complete, patients may have to stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 nights.
Patients will meet the BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon to sign the consent form before the procedure takes place. This may happen at the pre-operative consultation or on the day of surgery. Although patients may be aware of the risks and complications, it's advised that patients read the consent form fully before signing. The surgeon may use a marker pen to draw some lines on the nose and may also ask for permission to take some before and after pictures.
Patients will meet their anaesthetist on the day of the rhinoplasty surgery. They may decide to use a general anaesthetic to put the patient to sleep for the surgery or they may decide to use a local anaesthetic with sedation. The choice of which to use will be made during the initial consultation. If they use a general anaesthetic, patients may feel drowsy for a while after.
The surgeon can perform a rhinoplasty by using an open or a closed approach. The surgeon will decide which approach will best suit the nose when examining the patient at the consultation.
For a closed rhinoplasty, the surgeon will make an incision inside each one of the nostrils, through which they will perform the surgery. An advantage of this technique is that there will be less swelling and no visible scarring after surgery.
In an open rhinoplasty, the surgeon will make incisions inside the nostrils, and an extra incision on the outside along the columella, which is the area of skin between the nostrils. The benefit of this approach is that it allows greater alteration of the nose shape, which may not always be possible with a closed approach. This technique is most useful when patients want to increase the frame of the nose.
Grafts and implants
Surgeons do not always require the use of a graft or implant in all rhinoplasty procedures. However, they may use them to define and build the nose in augmentation rhinoplasty.
A graft is when the surgeon uses tissue from the patient's own body and moves it to another part of the body. For a rhinoplasty, this may involve taking cartilage from the ears or bone from the hip, elbow or skull to build up the nose. This means that the graft will consist of its own tissue. Therefore, there is less chance the body will reject it. There is, however, the risk that it may absorb or shrink to some extent with time.
In some cases, a patient's own tissue may be too small or weak to support the changes they would like for the procedure. Consequently, the surgeon may choose to use a synthetic nasal implant. These implants are made out of approved materials such as silicone or Gore-Tex and have the advantage of not shrinking or changing over time.
Closing of incisions
Next, the surgeon will use sutures to close the incisions. In addition, they will pack both nostrils using dressings and will apply a splint to the nose to hold it in its new position. This packing will often remain in place for about 7 days after surgery when it will be removed by either the surgeon or nurse.
Return to the ward
Finally, once the nose surgery is over, the medical staff will take the patient back to the ward. If patients have had a general anaesthetic they will wake up gradually and may feel drowsy for a few hours. Patients may be able to return home the same day as surgery after 1 or 2 nights, depending on how well the recovery is going.
What to expect from the rhinoplasty consultation
Patients will meet the BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon for a consultation before having the rhinoplasty. During this meeting, the surgeon will examine the face and nose and may ask for permission to take some before and after pictures. The free rhinoplasty consultation will usually last between 15 minutes to 1 hour. It will be an opportunity for the surgeon to discuss the procedure with the patient and find out more information about them. They will ask for:
- Current health status
- Any medical conditions
- Past medical history
- Past surgical history
- Any medication use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter and herbal medications
- Alcohol consumption, smoking, and recreational drug use
- Any allergies
- Goals for the surgery.
It is strongly advised that patients are as honest with the surgeon as possible at this consultation so they can gather accurate information about you. Being open and honest allows the surgeon to formulate a clear picture of the patient's health and in turn, allows them to make decisions that are appropriate. If the information provided is not accurate, patients may hinder the surgeon's ability to make good decisions about the care offered. Furthermore, it is in the patient's best interests for the surgeon to have a true idea of their personal goals for the rhinoplasty. This way, they can assure patients whether or not their goals are realistic and as a result, patients are more likely to be happy with the final results.
Questions to ask during the rhinoplasty consultation?
While the consultation is an opportunity for the surgeon to ask questions, it is also the time when patients get to ask any questions they may have. It is recommended that patients spend some time thinking of questions beforehand and writing them down. Consequently, patients will feel prepared and are less likely to forget to ask the things that are important to them. Below is a list of questions patients may like to ask:
- Is rhinoplasty suitable for me?
- Which surgical approach do you think is best for me?
- Will I be in pain after the surgery?
- Will there be any scarring and if so, where?
- How long will it take to recover from the rhinoplasty?
- Do you think my expectations are realistic?
- Have you got any before and after pictures of rhinoplasties you have done previously?
- What are my options if I am not happy with the results?
Risks and Complications
What are the main rhinoplasty risks and complications?
Before patients consent to having a nose job, they should take time to consider the risks and complications of the procedure. Many of the rhinoplasty risks and complications are rare, and patients may, therefore, think it is unnecessary to know about them. It is, however, vital that patients fully educate themselves on them.
All BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeons strongly recommend that patients wait at least two weeks after the consultation before agreeing to have the surgery. This will give you time to make an informed decision about the procedure.
Rhinoplasty risks and complications include:
Minor bleeding is common after this procedure. It is common to experience mild nosebleeds. The surgeon will be able to give the patient advice on how to manage these if they occur and how best to avoid them.
Heavy bleeding is rare but is possible and may be severe. This can happen directly after the procedure or a few weeks after and requires immediate medical attention.
Surgery is invasive and introduces the risk of infection to the body. If patients develop an infection because of the surgery, they will notice that things are not settling down as expected.
Signs of infection to look out for are:
- A temperature of 38° C or over
- Redness at the wound line that begins to spread away from the wound
- Yellow pus-like or foul-smelling fluid from your wounds
- An increase in pain or discomfort that is your pain medication does not help.
Mild infections (often wound infections or delayed wound healing) usually settle down with antibiotics. There is a small chance that an infection may affect the final results of the operation. If this were the case, the patient may require further surgery.
It is quite common to have difficulty breathing through the nose during the first week after the operation. This may be due to the swelling within the nostrils. This is because the swelling reduces the area of the nasal airway. Although uncommon, these breathing disturbances may continue and become permanent. This should, however, not be the case as all rhinoplasty procedures try to optimise breathing.
Altered sense of smell
A change in sense of smell is temporary in most cases and is usually only noted when tested for by a doctor. A total, permanent loss of smell is a very rare complication of a nose job.
Damage to the nasal septum
Damage to the cartilage wall in the middle of the nose (the septum) may occur during this procedure. Depending on the extent of damage, medical and/or surgical options are available to fix this.
Graft or implant migration
In cases where an implant has been used in an augmentation rhinoplasty, there is a small risk that the implant may make its way out through the skin of the nose or its lining. This may occur out of the blue, months or years after the operation. It may also happen if there is an injury to the nose. Patients may require another operation to fix this.
Scarring from your nose job is normally not visible, especially if your surgeon uses a closed incision approach. However, the extent of scarring is highly dependent on the ability of your skin to heal. You may like to ask your surgeon about the scars specific to the technique that they choose for you.
There is always the risk that you will be unhappy with the result of your procedure and the appearance of your nose. We, therefore, advise patients to choose their surgeon carefully and make sure he or she fully understands your goals before you have your surgery.
In patients who require further rhinoplasty-related surgery, there is a risk that the structure of the nose may collapse. This is because the nose is a delicate structure. Therefore, re-operation is only recommended in a small number of cases.
How to prepare for rhinoplasty?
After surgery, patients will want to be able to relax as much as possible to aid in recovery. Getting things prepared before surgery can help to do this.
It is recommended that patients try to get some of the big jobs out of the way before having surgery. For example, patients may like to do the washing, take out the bins and do a general clean the day before the procedure. This way, patients will hopefully not have to stress or worry about doing these things in the first few days of recovery.
It is likely that patients will not feel like going to the supermarket to do a food shop in the first few days after the rhinoplasty. Therefore, it is advised that patients do a big food shop and stock up the fridge a day or so before they come into the hospital for the surgery. Patients may even like to make some meals and freeze them. This will mean that they won’t need to worry about cooking for a few days, as the nose begins to heal.
Children and pets
To minimise stress levels during the recovery, they may like to organise that some family or friends help look after young children and pets.
It is important that no pressure is applied to the nasal bone in the weeks following your rhinoplasty. Consequently, if patients normally wear glasses, they should avoid using these for the first 6 weeks after surgery, at least. Patients may like to purchase some prescribed, temporary contact lenses for this period of recovery before the operation.
Patients will be unable to drive themselves home after the surgery. They may like to ask a family member or friend if they will be able to drive them home after surgery.
After the surgery, the BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will recommend eating high-protein, low-sodium foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. They should try to stay hydrated with water and caffeine-free beverages. Perhaps consider avoiding consuming high amounts of salt and sugar during the recovery period.
Following the rhinoplasty, patients should wear items of clothing that fasten easily from the front or the back. Avoiding clothing that needs to be pulled over their head will help to avoid the surgery area.
Patients may find it more comfortable to sleep propped up after surgery, so make sure there are plenty of extra pillows. It is advised that patients rest and sleep in an inclined position on their back for the first few days. This will help to avoid contact with the surgical area and will also help reduce swelling.
The surgeon will give you specific advice on your rhinoplasty preparation. Following the surgeon’s advice will help to achieve the results patients desire.
What to expect after a rhinoplasty?
The BAAPS/BAPRAS consultant will speak to the patient about their rhinoplasty aftercare during the consultation for the surgery. They will give specific time frames for when patients can begin to start activities like driving, exercising and when they can go back to work.
Below are some general rhinoplasty aftercare tips:
Directly after the surgery
If the surgeon decides to use a general anaesthetic, patients will awaken slowly after the surgery. Memory and concentration may be affected, however, this will only last for 1 to 2 days. If the surgeon chooses to use a local anaesthetic, patients may experience altered sensation on the nose but this will eventually wear off. Patients will not be able to breathe through the nose for a while after the surgery.
Patients will usually be able to return home within 1 to 2 days. They will be unable to drive so you should arrange for someone to collect you from the hospital. Before patients leave the hospital, the surgeon will arrange within 1 to 2 weeks for a follow-up appointment to take place. They will examine the nose, remove any non-dissolvable sutures and may replace the dressing if necessary. They will also advise the patient on the next steps of care.
Patients should expect to experience some pain, swelling and bruising around the nose and eyes after rhinoplasty surgery. This can take 3 to 6 weeks to settle. In the meantime, patients can manage it by using a cool compress and over-the-counter pain relief such as paracetamol. Patients should also sleep with their head propped up by pillows for a couple of days. This will help to reduce swelling and in turn, pain.
It is likely that the surgeon will “pack” both nostrils with dressings and apply a splint to the nose to maintain its new shape. Because of this, it is important that patients remember to breathe through their mouth following the rhinoplasty. If patients need to sneeze, they will need to try and remember to do this with their mouth open. Patients should avoid blowing their nose or removing any crust until the surgeon removes the splint. They usually remove the splint around 7 to 10 days after the operation during the follow-up appointment.
Returning to work
After the procedure, it is recommended that patients take around 2 weeks off before returning to work. In addition, it is essential that patients avoid dusty or smoky areas and heavy lifting for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
Returning to exercise
Patients should avoid strenuous activity, heavy lifting and contact sports for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
Patients should try to avoid blowing their nose and sneezing after rhinoplasty surgery. If patients usually struggle with allergies, they may like to avoid any known triggers. It is also advised that patients avoid hot baths and getting the splint wet after the procedure.
Patients may see an instant difference to the nose in the first few weeks following surgery. Despite this, it can take around 6 to 12 months to appreciate the full cosmetic results so it is important to be patient.
Usually, the scars tend to be pink and raised in the first few weeks after surgery but they will eventually fade to faint white lines over the following months. As the incisions used for this procedure are either inside the nostril or on the area of skin between the nostrils of the nose, scarring will be well hidden.
The nose will feel stiff following an augmentation rhinoplasty and this is likely to be a permanent change. This is because it no longer has the flexibility of the natural frame of the nose. Most rhinoplasty patients say that you get used to this change with time.
Following the surgeon’s specific rhinoplasty aftercare advice will reduce the risk of complications and help achieve the best results from the procedure.
What are some common rhinoplasty FAQs?
Here are some of the most common rhinoplasty FAQs below. These may answer any questions you have or may help you to think of more to ask at the free rhinoplasty consultation.
Rhinoplasty Surgery Recovery and Postoperative FAQs
Rhinoplasty Surgery FAQs
Rhinoplasty Surgery Risks and Complications FAQs
Find out more about rhinoplasty
Rhinoplasty surgery offers aesthetic changes, but functional ones too, learn more about the goals of the surgery