The decision to move forward with rhinoplasty might not have been an easy choice for you. You probably weighed the pros and cons of having the surgery carefully before deciding that going ahead with the procedure was the best option for you.
Flash forward months or even years after your rhinoplasty and you find that you’re not a hundred percent happy with the results. It could be that the surgery didn’t turn out the way you expected it to or it could be that the surgeon didn’t create the beautiful results you were hoping for. Or, you may have experienced a rare complication.
In this tricky situation, what are your options? Well, you can either live with a nose you don’t love, or you can try again. A revision rhinoplasty, also known as secondary rhinoplasty, is a procedure that is performed to improve the results of a previous rhinoplasty. It’s usually (though not always) performed by a different surgeon.
Why Have a Revision Rhinoplasty?
After going through the whole process of having a primary rhinoplasty, why would you want to have a second one? There are a few reasons that some patients ultimately decide on a revision procedure.
The first reason is that they aren’t satisfied with the results of their previous surgery. For example, a patient might have had their first surgery because they wanted to change the size of their nose. Now that the nose is healed, they find that they want to make it even smaller or larger.
It’s also sometimes the case that an initial rhinoplasty creates more problems with the nose, which can be either aesthetic concerns or functional issues. In some instances, the way the nose healed might have affected the results of the surgery, leading to patient dissatisfaction.
One thing that’s important to understand about revision rhinoplasty is that not every issue can be corrected through a secondary procedure. Some patients might have significant scar tissue in the nasal area after their first surgery, which can limit the corrections a surgeon can make during a secondary procedure. However, a skilled rhinoplasty specialist can usually produce at least some improvement.
What Can You Expect from Revision Rhinoplasty?
The goal of revision rhinoplasty is to correct issues created by a patient’s previous nose surgery. Depending on the extent of the changes the patient is seeking, the surgery might be performed as a closed procedure, meaning that all of the incisions are made inside of the nose. The majority of revision procedures are open surgery, however, meaning that some of the incisions are made inside of the nose, but there is one additional small incision made on the exterior of the nose, just below the nostrils.
Whether an open or closed revision surgery is right for you depends on what changes you are looking for. Your surgeon will discuss each option with you and let you know which approach they recommend.
Like your first rhinoplasty, you’ll need to take some time to recover and heal after revision rhinoplasty. Usually, the initial recovery takes about a week. You’ll be asked to avoid strenuous activities for up to a month afterward. Discomfort after the surgery is usually pretty minimal.
As your nose heals, you’ll begin to see the results from the procedure. Many people begin to notice a positive change in their appearance after about a month. Like primary rhinoplasty, however, it can take a year or more before you see the full results from the surgery.
Are You a Candidate for Revision Rhinoplasty?
Not everyone is a candidate for revision rhinoplasty. The surgery is recommended for people who have had at least one previous rhinoplasty and who are in overall good health. Most surgeons will not perform revision surgery for at least six months following the initial procedure.
If you’re considering revision rhinoplasty, it’s important that you have realistic goals and expectations for the surgery. A facial plastic surgeon should be happy to speak with you and discuss what the procedure can and can’t do to change the way your nose looks and functions.
Who Should Perform Revision Rhinoplasty?
One major question patients often have about revision rhinoplasty is: Should I go back to the surgeon I saw the first time?
For the most part, it’s a good idea to see a new surgeon for revision rhinoplasty. The goal of the surgery is often to correct errors or issues created by the initial surgeon. If you see the same doctor, the things that concern you may not be corrected.
More importantly, the surgeon you choose for your revision surgeon should have experience in performing revision surgeries. Ideally, they’ll specialize in rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty, as this is an extremely complex and difficult procedure that requires a great deal of skill. You can get a sense of a surgeon’s experience and expertise by scheduling a consultation with them before the surgery and by asking to look at photos of past patients before and after their revision surgeries.
Your comfort level with the surgeon also matters. Gauge how you feel during the consultation and pay attention to how the surgeon answers your questions. You should feel at ease and comfortable trusting your plastic surgeon with the appearance of your nose.
Dr. Naderi is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in nasal surgery at his practice in Virginia. To learn more about revision rhinoplasty, call 703-481-0002 (Reston, VA) or 301-222-2020 (Chevy Chase, MD). You can also contact us online for more information.