A rhinoplasty is a routine outpatient surgery that requires general anesthesia. The length of a nose surgery depends on the individual’s nasal anatomy and the scope of the work to be done. Revision rhinoplasties tend to be more complicated and delicate procedures to perform when compared to primary rhinoplasties; this is because complications from a prior nose surgery can often be extensive and challenging to rectify. The general steps involved in a rhinoplasty are as follows:
- Administering anesthesia. To begin a rhinoplasty procedure, Dr. Morin’s anesthesiologist will administer general anesthesia.
- Making the incisions. Once the patient is asleep, Dr. Morin will make incisions so that he can gently lift the skin and access the underlying tissues of bone and cartilage, which he will resculpt. Incisions can be made either inside the nose or they can be made both inside the nose and on the of skin that separates the nostrils, or the columella. The former technique is known as a closed rhinoplasty and the latter is called an open rhinoplasty. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the closed and open rhinoplasties and Dr. Morin will use the technique best suited to the individual patient. Incisions made on the columella generally usually heal well, resulting in a barely perceptible external scar after an open rhinoplasty.
- Sculpting the nose. When the skin has been lifted, Dr. Morin can remove and adjust cartilage and bone to reshape the nose. If an individual needs additional tissue to give the nose form, Dr. Morin will graft cartilage and sculpt the tissue accordingly. Graft tissue can be taken from the septum or, if necessary, from the ears.
- Correcting a deviated septum. In some cases, an individual may opt to have a deviated septum treated during a rhinoplasty. The septum is the bone and cartilage partition that separates the nasal passages. If it is maligned, or deviated, it can block nasal passages and lead to functional problems, specifically impaired breathing. A deviated septum is a common condition and can be readily addressed at the same time as a cosmetic procedure. To correct the problem, Dr. Morin straightens the septum so that breathing can be improved.
- Closing the incisions. After Dr. Morin has reshaped the nose, he will carefully close the incisions.
- Healing the nose. Although it only takes about a week or two for much of the post-operative swelling and bruising to go down, it can take up to a year for the nose to fully heal and settle permanently into its new shape. Dr. Morin recommends avoiding strenuous activity during the initial weeks following a rhinoplasty. To help reduce swelling, ice packs can be applied to the nose.