10 Rhinoplasty myths and truths

By Stuart Hunter

Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Claire Clarke - Head of Surgical Services for The Harley Medical Group

Rhinoplasty (or Nose Job) is one of the most commonly performed procedures in aesthetic plastic surgery. Despite the popularity of rhinoplasty, a lot of misconception remains around the details of the procedure. It is important to understand the facts when considering any medical or surgical intervention so that you are able to make a well-informed decision on whether to go ahead. Part of this process involves being able to understand rhinoplasty myths and truths.

Rhinoplasty myths and truths

”All noses look unnatural after rhinoplasty” MYTH

MYTH - The term natural is subjective and so can mean different things to different people. During the consultation process, there will be discussions between the patient and surgeon to discuss the desired results. As part of this a patient will be able to share their thoughts regarding features that may appear unnatural to them, such as a pointed or upturned tip, and this can then be avoided.

Modern surgical techniques and approaches to rhinoplasty often focus on maintaining the nasal cartilage, bone and soft tissue in a natural position, and altering the contour of the nose to achieve the desired result whilst maintaining a natural looking nose. Specific techniques can be used to avoid the presence of unnatural features, such as avoiding the use of tip grafts which can lead to a pointy tip or avoiding nostril asymmetry by retaining cartilage.

Take a look at some of the results that patients have achieved with rhinoplasty at Harley Medical Group here.

“I can choose any nose shape that I like” MYTH

MYTH - Facial configuration is a unique characteristic that varies significantly between individuals. As a result, the perfect nose shape on one person’s face may not look suitable on another. Additionally, whilst rhinoplasty aims to alter the appearance of a person’s nose, it is also essential that the function of the nose is maintained or improved. Sometimes, a nose shape that appears desirable to you may not be achievable without compromising nasal function and would therefore be undesirable.

Despite this, it is the surgeon’s goal to achieve your preferred outcome and choosing features that you like is part of the consultation process. Your surgeon will work with you to determine what is achievable.

woman who has had rhinoplasty touching the tip of her nose and smiling

“Rhinoplasty is painful” MYTH

MYTH - Surgical rhinoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic which means you’ll be ‘asleep’ during the surgery, so will not experience pain during the procedure.

But what about afterwards? Pain management is an integral part of postoperative care, and the Harley Medical Group team are experts in ensuring that your discomfort during recovery is kept to a minimum. It is common for the nose to feel blocked or congested especially if packing has been used but this is generally described as uncomfortable rather than painful.

“Rhinoplasty is exclusively used to alter appearance” MYTH

MYTH - Many patients enquire about rhinoplasty with the primary aim of improving the appearance of their nose. However it is also common for rhinoplasty to be performed to optimise nasal airflow and the procedure can significantly improve quality of life for many people in that regard.

There is an entire field of reconstructive rhinoplasty where deformities (congenital or otherwise) of parts of the nose can be repaired.

“Any surgeon can perform Rhinoplasty” MYTH

MYTH - The surgical training pathway in the UK requires intense dedication and skill. After medical school, an additional 9 years minimum are spent completing the Plastic Surgery training pathway. Surgical trainees are then able to specialise in Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery and become experts in their field. From this point, surgeons are then able to specialise further in a field such as Facial Plastic Surgery. You can view the profiles of The Harley Medical Group rhinoplasty surgeons below and read the details of their training and experience.

Irfan Khan – Consultant Surgeon in Plastic Surgery
Premjit Randhawa – Consultant ENT and Facial Plastic Surgeon
Amir Sadri – Consultant Plastic Surgeon

“I’ll lose sensitivity in the tip of my nose” TRUTH

TRUTH - Due to the nature of nose reshaping surgery, there can be some disruption to the nerves that supply the nose and face. This means that it is possible for there to be some temporary loss of sensation in the area, particularly in the tip of the nose. Over time, during the recovery process, this loss of sensation resolves and there is a gradual return to normal.

You can read more about the rhinoplasty recovery process here.

“Men choose to undergo rhinoplasty too” TRUTH

TRUTH - Whilst it is true that the majority of rhinoplasty procedures are carried out for women, many men elect to undergo the procedure also. In fact, statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that 25% of rhinoplasty surgeries were performed on males in 2018.

If you would like to read more about rhinoplasty for men, click here.

“My face will be swollen and bruised after surgery” TRUTH

TRUTH - During the first week or two after rhinoplasty, bruising and tenderness beneath the eyes and in the cheeks is common, however this will subside. It is understandable that an individual may not want others to see this bruising or other post-operative evidence of rhinoplasty, therefore it is possible to discuss your recovery time frame with your surgeon so that your surgery date can be booked to avoid any important upcoming dates during your initial recovery period.

“Rhinoplasty can lead to scarring” TRUTH

TRUTH - The extent of scarring following rhinoplasty is variable depending on the nature of the procedure.

Closed rhinoplasty involves altering the shape of the nose via incisions made inside the nostrils. In this case, there is no visible scarring.

In open rhinoplasty, incisions are required on the external surface of the nose. However, your surgeon is an expert in ensuring that these incisions heal with minimal aesthetic impact and they are often made along the natural curvature of the nostril. Also, postoperative instructions provided by the surgeon will include information on how to reduce scarring as much as possible.

You can read more about the different rhinoplasty approaches here.

“I’ll lose my sense of smell” TRUTH

TRUTH - It is possible that after rhinoplasty there will be a temporary reduction in your sense of smell or taste, but in most cases this returns to normal within 6 weeks. Total loss of your sense of smell or taste is unlikely following rhinoplasty.

If you are considering rhinoplasty and now understand what is a rhinoplasty myths or truths, start your journey with us! You can read more or book a no obligation consultation with a Patient Advisor today.

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Posted August 16, 2021
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