Frequently Asked Questions


  Q. Is rhinoplasty surgery the only answer?

Noses that are too large or too wide, or have a specific deformity may only be able to be modified through nose surgery (see here for the cosmetic and medical issues that rhinoplasty can correct). However, the look of some noses may be adjusted using an injectable filler or fat taken from another part of the body, “injection rhinoplasty” may be an option before resorting to surgery. This is an in-office procedure that can help to soften and camouflage a bump, alter the tip of the nose, and smooth out irregularities.

Whether or not a surgical or non-surgical procedure is chosen will mainly depend on the aesthetic results that are required and the nose structure of the patient (see here for ideal nose measurements). When a significant amount of reshaping is required, the surgeon will opt for a surgical approach in order to get the desired aesthetic appearance, while a non surgical approach will be used when only minor adjustments to the nose shape is sufficient. During the initial consultation with our doctors, the proper procedure will be recommended after evaluating your nose shape, your overall health and other factors. Read more about non-surgical procedures here.


  Q. Who is a good candidate for rhinoplasty surgery?

Rhinoplasty is usually performed in patients between the ages of 18 and 50. In general, men and women that are generally healthy and non-smokers are the ideal candidates. It is best to wait until the nose and face are done growing before performing surgery. This typically happens at around 16 or 17 years of age but varies from person to person.

Patients may be unhappy with a bump or a wide tip, or large flaring nostrils, an older person might not like how the nose elongates and the tip droops as they age. An injury might cause a nose to become crooked. Furthermore, breathing or sinus issues may cause a patient to seek a doctor as their primary concern and they may decide to do some cosmetic improvement at the same time.

For cosmetic revision rhinoplasty, the patient may be unhappy with a nose done a long time ago with a scooped out look, an unnatural upturn, excessively pointy tip or collapsing, asymmetrical areas. Some patients may ask for only profile changes, only tip changes, or both (see here for the cosmetic and medical issues that rhinoplasty can correct). A subtle modification in one's nose can greatly improve one's appearance. Good health and realistic expectations are requirements.

You may be a good candidate for rhinoplasty if:
• Your facial growth is complete
• You are physically healthy
• You don't smoke
• You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for the enhancement of your appearance

Our surgeons will spend a significant amount of time listening to you and establishing shared reasonable expectations of the outcome of the surgery through a unique operative plan to address your individual goals. Each treatment plan can include a range of services, both surgical and non-surgical, to address your needs.

Prior to the surgery, careful examinations will be carried out to determine whether an operation is the right course of action and confirm what can be achieved. Rhinoplasty is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else's desires or to try to fit some sort of ideal image.

Emotional stability is the primary factor to be considered before any aesthetic nose surgery is performed. It's mostly your mental attitude and realistic expectations that determines a successful outcome. A rhinoplasty surgery can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence; the rest is totally up to you.


  Q. How much does rhinoplasty cost?

Rhinoplasty is a customized procedure, therefore the costs will vary depending on the aesthetic goals of the patient and any functional corrections that need to be made. Some procedures involve just the bone, while others involve skin grafts and cartilage reconstruction. The cost of rhinoplasty is determined and affected by the amount of work being considered and is generally higher for secondary, reconstructive or revision rhinoplasty.

Rhinoplasty costs typically includes:
• Anesthesia fees
• Hospital or surgical facility costs
• Medical tests
• Post-surgery garments
• Prescriptions for medication
• Surgeon's fees

On average, patients can expect to pay between $5,000-$13,000 for high quality rhinoplasty surgery when in the US. In Korea, typical prices are $4000-$6000, which can be over 50% less expensive.


  Q. What should I expect during a consultation for rhinoplasty?

At your consultation, you will discuss with your doctor whether you’re a good candidate for rhinoplasty. You will talk about why you want the surgery and what you hope to accomplish by having it. You will receive a detailed and thorough examination of both the internal and external structure of your nose and how it relates to your face as a whole. Your doctor will then discuss with you your options and what his recommendations are.

During your rhinoplasty consultation be prepared to discuss:
• Your surgical goals, with regard to both appearance and breathing
• Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical treatments
• Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
• Previous surgeries
• The recovery process and any potential complications that could emerge

Your rhinoplasty surgeon may also:
• Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
• The options available to you for nose reshaping
• Examine and measure your face
• Take photographs for assessing the long-term results of surgery and for reference to during the surgery
• Discuss your nose surgery options
• Recommend a course of treatment
• Discuss likely outcomes of a nose surgery and any risks or potential complications

At any time, you are encouraged to ask any questions and discuss any concerns that you may have.

It's very important to understand all aspects of your rhinoplasty procedure. It's normal to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative jitters. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your doctor.

You should freely discuss your goals and expectations about looking and feeling better after surgery. You should also always keep in mind that the desired result is improvement, not perfection. To understand what is reasonable to expect from the surgery, it is a good idea to look at before-and-after photos. This will give you a good perspective of what results other patients have achieved through rhinoplasty surgery.

After a full evaluation, your doctor will discuss with you a surgical plan tailored to you for improving the function and/or the appearance of your nose. This is also a good time for you to show your doctor any photos you may have of noses which you like and would be helpful in guiding your conversation during the consultation.


  Q. When will I see results and how long will the results last?

It is imperative to follow the post operative instructions outlined by our team to ensure you achieve the best results possible.

A few patients may experience long periods of swelling and discoloration, but for many rhinoplasty patients, the results and “new look” will be noticeable within just a few days of the procedure. Be aware that some of the swelling can sometimes take a few months to subsides, with full results emerging after up to a year post surgery. During this time you may notice gradual changes in the appearance of your nose as it refines to a more permanent outcome, and will only get better as all swelling disappears. Most rhinoplasty patients are soon pain-free and even ready to return to work or school within a week or two. Bear in mind that cartilage can reshape over time and slightly adjust the exact new nose size and shape you have established.

The tip of your nose is especially sensitive and can remain numb and swollen for months. If you have the tip of your nose operated on, 60% of the changes will be apparent after three weeks, while the remaining 40% of the changes will evolve over several months or even a year.

The results of rhinoplasty surgery will be long-lasting. As your body ages, it is natural to have some gradual changes to your face including your nose. But most of your improvement should be relatively permanent. A healthy lifestyle and life-long sun protection will help extend the results of your new appearance.


  Q. Will rhinoplasty leave scars?

Depending on the situation, the incision will be made either internally or externally. While a closed incision involves operating on the interior of the nose, resulting in no externally visible scarring, an “open” technique is more appropriate when reshaping asymmetrical noses. To do this, a small, w-shaped incision is made on the lower bridge of the nose. This only leaves behind a small, barely visible scar. Any scarring gradually fades over time.


  Q. How painful is rhinoplasty and how long does the pain last?

One question that high on the list of anyone contemplating surgery is about what to expect when it comes to pain. The answer is not always easy. Every surgical procedure is different. Even the exact same procedure is done in a radically different way today, from how it was performed just a few years ago. What may have involved major incisions and extended healing periods can now be done with a couple of tiny cuts, a miniature camera and equally tiny instruments. The good news is that this also equates to significantly reduced time necessary for recovery, as well as less pain.

Nowadays nasal operations are possible with almost no pain: Our gentle surgical technique only produces a minor feeling of pressure from wearing the splint or from internal swelling. You are able to return to work after 1 week, and able to return to normal social activity after 7 to 10 days, sports after 6 weeks.

One thing to keep in mind is that not only is every surgery unique, so is every patient. Pain thresholds and tolerance levels are rarely the same from one person to the next. This is something that should be addressed during the original consultation with the rhinoplasty surgeon and discussed throughout the process. While being totally pain-free may not be possible, there are often medications that can be helpful, as well as suggestions for post-op practices that may go a long way in making recovery easier and more pleasant.


  Q. Do I need my nose broken during rhinoplasty?

Not necessarily. As most of the nose is cartilage, sometimes breaking the nose to achieve narrowing of the bridge does not need to be done, dramatically expediting the recovery. Cartilage sculpting and suturing is done in most noses to narrow the tip or bridge (see here for the cosmetic and medical issues that rhinoplasty can correct). However, about half of rhinoplasty patients will benefit from a manual nasal fracture during surgery in order to allow the surgeon to reshape the cartilage and bone. This planned break allows access to perform certain functions during surgery such as narrowing the width of the nose or correcting an asymmetrical nose. The broken bone or cartilage will be reshaped and reattached, and then supported by splints during recovery. This is a common practice and heals within just a few weeks following surgery. Your doctor will discuss with you in detail whether it is necessary during your consultation.


  Q. How should I prepare for rhinoplasty?

In preparing for rhinoplasty surgery, you may be asked to:
• Get a lab test
• Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
• Stop smoking
• Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
• Minimize intake of alcoholic beverages

It is important to follow your doctor's instructions precisely in order to achieve the best outcome. Please see instructions for before the surgery for more information.


  Q. What happens during a rhinoplasty procedure?

Rhinoplasty procedures are done in fully accredited day surgeries or hospitals, under local or general anesthesia, depending on the amount of correction needed. If it’s a simple procedure, you’ll receive local anesthesia to your nose, which will also numb your face. With general anesthesia, you’ll inhale a drug or get one through an IV that will make you unconscious.

Operations typically take between one to two hours, depending on the technique being used. If the surgery is complex, it can take longer. Most of the procedures which are done on the nose can be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home the same day, with a recovery time of around one week. All surgeries are performed in fully accredited facilities ensuring your safety.

During surgery, your doctor will create incisions that provide him with access to the nasal bone and cartilage. He modifies the bone and cartilage by gently removing material from certain sections and building up others. If your new nose needs a small amount of additional cartilage to augment or strengthen the nose, your doctor may remove some from your ear or deep inside your nose. This will be discussed with you during your consultation. If more is needed, you might get an implant or a bone graft. A bone graft is additional bone that’s added to the bone in your nose. Please see the sections on open rhinopasty and closed rhinoplasty for more details.

After surgery, there will be some soreness or swelling around the nose area because of the use of incisions. You will wear a nose splint and will experience bruising and swelling around the nose and eyes. You will need to have a splint held over your nose by tape for seven days, and a pad under your nose for 12 hours. The side effects will remain for at least a week after the surgical procedure and the splint will be removed. Once the bandages and splint are removed, you will be able to see the results almost immediately, but it may take longer for the bruising to subside completely. It can take up to a full year for the nose to gain its final contour and softness. Please see the after surgery section for more details.


  Q. How does the nose age?

As we age, the skin in our nose becomes thicker and the nose "drops". What happens is the tip attachments to the dorsum (or top of the nose) weakens and the tip starts falling and this gives the appearance that one is developing a bump. However, this is usually a "relative" bump, meaning that it is a bump relative to the lower tip, and as the tip is lifted to a more youthful position, the bump disappears. This can be done with a minor soft rhinoplasty, without touching the nasal bones, and heals very quickly either as an isolated procedure or with other facial rejuvenation procedures. Sometimes, the tip is also refined at the same time as lifting it a little.

Often a facelift or an eyelift can be a good complement to a minor rhinoplasty to refine or rejuvenate your appearance. Read more about how the nose ages in our blog: How the Nose Changes as You Age. Find out more about the structure of the nose here.


  Q. What are the risks of rhinoplasty?

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications. The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of rhinoplasty are acceptable.

Your plastic surgeon will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks or potential complications.

Rhinoplasty surgery risks include:
• Skin swelling, bruising, and discoloration
• Persistent, visible swelling for up to one year
• Anesthesia risks, including deep vein thrombosis
• Bleeding, haematoma formation
• Reactions to medications, such as allergy
• Infection (which can be treated with antibiotics and other medications)
• Change in skin sensation (numbness or pain), which may persist for weeks
• Reduced sense of smell
• Changes in breathing after surgery
• Airway obstruction
• Unsatisfactory nasal appearance
• Nose asymmetry
• Internal nasal scars/adhesions
• Thick scar tissue formation, poor wound healing, slow healing
• Small surface vessel (spider veins) on the nose
• Depression
• Loss of structural support resulting in a “flattened” nose
• Possibility of revision Rhinoplasty to refine or improve results or correct unfavorable healing.
• Nasal septal perforation (a hole in the nasal septum) is rare. Additional surgical treatment may be necessary to repair the septum but it may be impossible to correct this complication. These are more common if a patient uses cocaine or traumatizes their nose with fingers or Q-tips after surgery.

Occasionally, patients aren’t satisfied with their surgery. Usually it is best to accept what improvement has been achieved and not opt for a further operation. However, it is sometimes reasonable to consider a further slight adjustment. For people who return for additional surgery, there is also a risk that the structural scaffolding of the nose could collapse. The nose is a delicate structure, and too much surgery can weaken and damage it. If you want a second surgery, you must wait until your nose is fully healed before operating again. This may take a year.

The potential risks and complications of the surgery will be fully discussed in detail at your consultation. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. Understanding the benefits and risks of any surgery can help you decide if this surgery is a good option for you. Please prepare for your consultation with your doctor by reviewing the list and discussing any concerns you may have.


  Q. How is male rhinoplasty different?

Male noses have thicker skin and stronger bones and the aesthetics of the male nose is different. Male rhinoplasty has to address the thick skin in the nose to achieve excellent results. Also, removing the bump or lifting the tip has to be done very conservatively, in order not to feminize the appearance of the nose. Additionally, the nose has to fit other facial features of the male face to achieve a natural outcome. The angle between nose and upper lip in a male nose should not exceed 90 degrees, otherwise the nose appears too rotated or feminine. In the female nose, it should be 95 degrees or higher depending on the distance between nose and lips and other features.


  Q. How is Asian rhinoplasty different?

Asian rhinoplasty techniques are different from Caucasian rhinoplasty techniques. The traditional Caucasian rhinoplasty techniques of reducing the size of the nose with cartilage reduction and reshaping does not necessarily produce a pleasing result in Asian rhinoplasty. The goal of Asian rhinoplasty is to create a refined and natural nose that is in harmony with the rest of the facial features. Read more about Asian rhinoplasty in our blog: Is Rhinoplasty Different for Different Ethnicities?


  Q. How is African rhinoplasty different?

Most African rhinoplasty patients seek to improve the appearance of their nose without erasing their heritage and identity. Africans often have broader and somewhat flatter noses than individuals of European descent, and African nasal bones are comparatively short, requiring special care in ethnic rhinoplasty procedures. Read more about African rhinoplasty in our blog: Is Rhinoplasty Different for Different Ethnicities?


  Q. Is rhinoplasty surgery right for me?

A. When you have a personal consultation with one of our Korea-based doctors, he will evaluate the nature and extent of your nose and face structure, the potential of improvement of your appearance, and the best procedures for your specific case. You can be assured that you will obtain an honest opinion here. If he feels that you are a poor candidate (perhaps too young, in need of health improvements, or have unrealistic expectations) you will be told outright. Contact us now to have a consultation with one of our doctors, who will give you advice on the best way to proceed.

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