One thing you often hear plastic surgeons say when they’re discussing any type of procedure, whether it’s facial plastic surgery or a body procedure, is that it’s important for patients to have realistic expectations when it comes to their results.
If you have a good idea of what you can expect from surgery such as rhinoplasty, you are more likely to be happy with the results you get from the procedure. Having realistic expectations goes beyond the appearance of your nose, though. It can also refer to what you expect to happen before, during and after the surgery.
Understanding what changes can be made during rhinoplasty and what you’ll need to do to prepare for and recover from the procedure can help you avoid disappointment.
What Changes Can Be Made to the Nose?
Knowing how a surgeon can and can’t change your nose during rhinoplasty can give you a better sense of whether or not what you’re hoping to get from the surgery is in line with reality.
Surgical rhinoplasty can change many aspects of the nose. It can make a nose smaller or larger. It can change the angle of the tip of the nose or make a bulbous tip look less round. If you have a hump or bump on your nose, rhinoplasty can smooth it out.
During an initial consultation, you’ll talk to a facial plastic surgeon and let them know what you like and don’t like about your nose. The more detail you can provide to your surgeon, the better they’ll be able to determine if rhinoplasty will help you reach your goals.
For example, you might want to make your nostrils narrower or you might want to elevate a droopy tip. A surgeon should be able to tell you exactly what they’ll do during rhinoplasty to accomplish your goals and whether or not they’ll be able to make the physical changes you want.
What Can You Expect During and After Rhinoplasty?
It’s also a good idea to have an understanding of what rhinoplasty will require of you, both during the procedure and after it’s over. For example, you might want to talk to the surgeon about your anesthesia options during the surgery. Although there are cases when IV or oral sedation might be appropriate during rhinoplasty, many surgeons prefer to give patients general anesthesia for safety reasons.
If you’re going to undergo general anesthesia, you’ll want to know how to prepare for it and what you can expect to feel as the anesthetic wears off. If you have concerns about the anesthesia, you can discuss them with your surgeon at your consultation.
Rhinoplasty usually requires a period of recovery afterward. There’s often an initial recovery, during which you’ll want to take time off from work and will most likely need to avoid most of your daily activities.
Even once you go back to work, you might not feel 100% back to normal. Usually, there are some activities that you’ll need to continue to avoid for a few more weeks after the initial surgery. For example, you’ll typically be asked to avoid strenuous exercise and swimming for several weeks after rhinoplasty. Knowing what you’ll be able to do, what you need to avoid, and for how long, can help you decide if rhinoplasty realistically fits into your life at the moment.
How Can You Tell if Your Expectations Are Realistic?
Even once you understand what rhinoplasty can change about your nose and what you can expect from the surgery and recovery process, it can still be difficult to say if you have realistic expectations for the procedure.
One way to determine if your expectations are realistic is to ask yourself what you hope to get from the surgery. In some cases, people (often subconsciously) look at rhinoplasty as a magic bullet, a cure-all procedure that will solve all of their problems.
While rhinoplasty can make you feel more confident about your appearance and can change the size and shape of your nose, it won’t revolutionize your life. Rhinoplasty won’t necessarily lead to you getting a promotion or help you launch a career in Hollywood.
What if You Aren’t Happy With Your Results?
In some cases, even if you have realistic expectations for your rhinoplasty, the results might not turn out as you had expected. There are many reasons people end up dissatisfied with their results. The thing to remember is that you have options if you’re not happy.
First things first, keep in mind that it can take some time before your final results are visible. Your nose needs plenty of time to heal after the surgery. You might have some residual swelling even months afterward. If a year has gone by and you’re still feeling unhappy, you might consider a revision procedure to try to improve the appearance of your nose. If you have realistic expectations and choose a skilled surgeon to perform your procedure, however, you are unlikely to need a revision.
If you’re not sure if what you want from rhinoplasty is realistic or if you’d like more information on the surgery and what it can and can’t do, your best option is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon.
Dr. Naderi is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in nasal surgery at his practice in Virginia. If you would like to learn more about rhinoplasty at the Naderi Center, call 703-481-0002 (Reston, VA) or 301-222-2020 (Chevy Chase, MD). You can also contact us online for more information.