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Home/Face/Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty)


Nose surgery, or rhinoplasty, is an operation performed to change the appearance of the nose. Rhinoplasty can involve reducing the size of the nose, removing a bony hump, refining the nasal tip, narrowing the nasal bridge, reducing nostril flare, and altering the angle between the nose and upper lip. This procedure can also correct previous nasal injuries and nasal birth defects. Usually unrelated to appearance, breathing problems can also be addressed during a rhinoplasty.

Our board-certified plastic surgeons—Dr. Brian Braithwaite and Dr. Lorri Cobbins—are highly experienced in performing rhinoplasty to address both cosmetic and functional concerns. By customizing treatment to meet the unique needs and goals of each individual, they can help patients achieve a more desirable, proportionate nasal contour and improved overall facial harmony with natural-looking results.

Am I a Candidate for Rhinoplasty?

To determine if you are a good candidate for nose surgery, your doctor will review your health history and perform an examination during your consultation. They will ask you how you would like your nose improved, and also inquire about any allergy history and previous nose surgery. Your doctor will carefully examine both the inside and outside of your nose, assessing skin thickness, bone position, cartilage shape, and any breathing concerns. Preoperative photos will also be taken during your visit. During the consultation, your doctor will aim to gain a complete understanding of your goals and desires, as well as review available techniques and limitations based on your specific case.

What Can Rhinoplasty Improve?

The rhinoplasty procedure can be personalized to address multiple areas of the nose based on each patient’s particular needs and goals. The following are specific enhancements that can be made to the different parts of the nose:

What Does the Rhinoplasty Procedure Involve?

Dr. Braithwaite and Dr. Cobbins perform both open and closed rhinoplasty. With the open approach, your doctor will make a small incision across the columella, the narrow strip of skin between the nostrils. They will then elevate the nasal skin, providing generous access to the relevant structures. In closed rhinoplasty, or the endonasal approach, Dr. Braithwaite and Dr. Cobbins only make incisions within the nostrils, providing less direct visualization. Each technique has its advantages depending on the desired alterations, and both can be performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. During your consultation, your doctor will discuss your approach options with you to determine the most effective method for your needs and goals.

What Can I Expect in My Rhinoplasty Recovery?

“Dr. Brian Braithwaite is the most competent, concerned, and dedicated physician I have encountered…He is meticulous in his patient care, completely dedicated to their well-being.”

Following rhinoplasty, an external nasal splint will often be applied to maintain the new shape of the nose during the initial healing period, and nasal packing may be inserted inside the nose if needed. Some degree of bruising and/or swelling in and around the nose is typical, though these side effects are temporary and should subside with time. A significant amount of pain is rare, but any soreness or discomfort can usually be alleviated with medication. Most patients may drive and return to work once they discontinue narcotic pain medicine. Despite this resumption of normal daily routines, any heavy lifting, intense exercise, and/or other strenuous physical activities will need to be avoided for a minimum of three to six weeks to ensure the nose heals fully and properly.

Will I Have Noticeable Scars After Rhinoplasty?

If an open rhinoplasty is performed, a slight scar may form where the incision is made at the base of the columella. Fortunately, the majority of patients find that this scar is virtually invisible once fully healed. In the event the closed rhinoplasty technique is utilized, all incisions are made inside the nose, so no scarring will be apparent.

How Much Does Rhinoplasty Cost?

The average cost of rhinoplasty in the U.S. is $5,409 for the surgeon’s fee. Since every rhinoplasty performed at our practice is individually tailored to suit the patient’s unique needs and goals, the cost of rhinoplasty varies on a case by case basis. Factors that can influence the overall expense of treatment include which technique is performed, how many parts of the nose are being addressed, the overall complexity of the operation, and whether or not rhinoplasty is combined with another procedure. After thoroughly discussing all of these components at the time of the consultation, your doctor can provide a personalized estimate of the total cost.

Is Rhinoplasty Covered by Insurance?

Rhinoplasty is typically only covered by insurance companies if it is deemed medically necessary. Patients with a deviated septum, for example, may receive coverage since the procedure is intended to improve their nasal function for breathing. Those seeking nose surgery for cosmetic improvement, on the other hand, are often not eligible for coverage. To determine whether your policy covers rhinoplasty, you will need to contact your insurance provider.

Additional FAQs About Rhinoplasty

Drs. Braithwaite and Cobbins have answered several frequently asked questions regarding rhinoplasty to help you become more informed about this nasal procedure:

Is There a Difference Between Male and Female Rhinoplasty?

The fundamental surgical technique used for rhinoplasty is not different for women versus men—the open rhinoplasty approach will involve an incision placed across the columella, and closed rhinoplasty will be performed through incisions made within the nostrils. That being said, female and male rhinoplasties do often differ in regard to variances among common characteristics and cosmetic desires of both genders. For example, the female nasal bridge is typically narrower and less prominent in comparison to that of males who share the same ethnicity. In addition, the angle between the nose and upper lip is usually slightly greater for most women than it is for males.

It is important to note, however, that regardless of what is considered “normal” for male or female noses, rhinoplasty procedures performed at The Aesthetic Institute of Chicago will always be customized to meet each individual’s needs and desires.

How Can I Reduce Swelling After Rhinoplasty?

Swelling after nose surgery is a normal part of recovery as the body heals. Patients who undergo open rhinoplasty tend to experience prolonged swelling. To help control swelling in the initial recovery, you should rest in bed for the first 24 hours with your head elevated about your chest. Swelling typically begins to subside after the first week, with most of it fading over the next several weeks. To reduce the amount of swelling you experience, you should avoid overexerting yourself with strenuous activities, refrain from smoking, and avoid direct sunlight. Keep in mind that minor swelling can persist for several months before completely wearing off.

Is There a Non-surgical Rhinoplasty Alternative?

If you are seeking rhinoplasty to improve nasal symmetry, add volume, or enhance the overall shape, you may be a good candidate for a “liquid nose job.” This is a non-surgical alternative that involves the use of dermal fillers to provide temporary improvement for a variety of concerns. From smoothing a bump on the bridge to increasing the size of the nasal tip, filler injections can add subtle volume to create a more balanced nose appearance. Those looking for more significant improvement, a size reduction, or to correct a deviated septum, however, are more appropriate for the rhinoplasty procedure.

Can Rhinoplasty Be Combined with Other Facial Treatments?

For individuals whose aesthetic concerns are not limited to the nose, rhinoplasty can often be combined with other surgical and/or non-surgical treatments for a more comprehensive facial enhancement. Some of the most common procedures our patients choose to receive along with rhinoplasty include dermal fillers and injectables, eyelid surgery, facial fat grafting, and even facelift surgery. After listening to your goals and assessing your specific needs, our doctors can formulate a treatment plan that will help you achieve the facial aesthetic you desire with beautiful, natural-looking results.

For more information about nose surgery or to schedule a consultation at our Chicago plastic surgery practice, please contact us via email or call (312) 361-8108 today.
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