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Nose operation (Rhinoplasty)

This webpage will give you information about a rhinoplasty. If you have any questions, you should ask your surgeon.


What is a rhinoplasty?

A rhinoplasty (or ‘nose job’) is a cosmetic operation to improve the appearance of your nose. It involves operating on the bones and cartilage that give your nose its shape and structure as in the figure below.

The bones and cartilages that shape the nose

What are the benefits of a rhinoplasty?

Most people who have a successful rhinoplasty are more comfortable with their appearance. If the operation is successful, your nose will be the size and shape you want, and it may relieve any symptoms of a blocked nose.


Are there any alternatives to a rhinoplasty?

A rhinoplasty is the only way to change the appearance of your nose.


If you have a blocked nose because your nasal bones are crooked or damaged, or the bone and cartilage between your nostrils (septum) is deviated (bent), you may be able to have a septoplasty or submucous resection to improve how you breathe. A rhinoplasty can be performed at the same time to change the appearance of your nose.


What does the operation involve?

A rhinoplasty is usually performed under a general anesthetic.

Your surgeon can refine the tip of your nose by reducing the cartilage. If you have a hump (dorsum) on your nose, they will shave it down. Your surgeon will usually need to break the base of the bones on the side of your nose so they can narrow and set them. Your surgeon may need to rebuild part of your nose.


What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clots


2 Specific complications

  • Bruising and swelling
  • Bleeding caused by infection
  • Redness
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Injury to nerves
  • Cosmetic problems
  • Graft rejection
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Toxic shock syndrome


How soon will I recover?

If you had some packing in your nose, it will usually be removed on the morning after your operation. Once this has been removed you will be able to go home.


You will need to stay off work and away from groups of people for two weeks to avoid catching a cold, which could result in an infection. You should also not do any exercise, hot baths or bend   down. Most swelling and bruising will usually have settled after the third week.


Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible.


It can take many months for your nose to settle down and for the final appearance to develop.



A rhinoplasty is a cosmetic operation to improve the appearance of your nose. You should have realistic expectations about the results.


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