Nose reshaping, or rhinoplasty, is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic plastic surgeries performed in the United States. While it is very much intended to improve facial attractiveness, a recent JAMA survey has found that patients are also perceived as healthier and more successful after a well-performed rhinoplasty. San Francisco facial plastic surgeons Drs. David Lieberman and Sachin Parikh explain why this surgery is so popular, and what it may entail.
According to data gathered by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, while the number of rhinoplasties performed has increased by 2 percent in 2016, it has been consistently popular for the past several years. To provide more context, there are nearly as many people receiving nose surgery in the country as there are liposuction.
Based on this, the researchers propose that rhinoplasty patients could receive a “multifaceted” benefit during social interactions. While nose surgery isn’t the only way to improve one’s appearance, it has now been proven to result in significant, quantifiable advantages in competitive social scenarios such as dating and job markets.
It is important to note, however, that well-performed nose surgery always emphasizes function over form, and many patients have reported significant improvements in breathing after a rhinoplasty – even when their own goals may have been solely cosmetic.
The delicate balance between how a nose looks and how it works can be a challenging one to achieve, and while there are general ideals that surgeons strive for, what is most suitable – and achievable – for the patient must be considered.
For instance, let us imagine a case where a patient would like to reduce size of their nose in some way. Depending on individual patient factors, a reduction in size may need to be accompanied by alterations in other internal structures or other measures during surgery in order to maintain or enhance nasal airflow.
During a patient consultation, a surgeon may also find that the patient is experiencing inadequate nasal airflow through one or both sides of the nose. This may be due to a broken nose, deviated or perforated septum (the wall separating the airways), and/or enlarged turbinates (conch-shaped structures in the nose that help maintain temperature, humidity, and filtration).
In such cases, a septoplasty and/or turbinate reduction may also be performed during a rhinoplasty procedure. These portions of the surgery may be covered by insurance, while the cosmetic component is usually not.
A rhinoplasty is performed either via an open (external) or closed (endonasal) approach. During an open rhinoplasty, an incision is made to the columella (the fleshy, outer end of the nasal septum). A closed procedure’s incisions would all be performed inside the nose. Besides the exterior incision, the other aspects required for nasal correction are similar in both approaches.
While a columellar incision will leave an external scar, it is typically very inconspicuous. Its main benefit is to provide a better view of the internal structures. But one approach isn’t necessarily better than the other – which one the surgeon employs will depend on multiple factors, such as the complexity of nasal correction required, patient concerns, and the surgeon’s particular training and experience with each approach.
Taking all these factors into account, it is clear that patients need to be discerning and do their research when choosing a surgeon. The consultation stage is not only significant in establishing patient goals and the surgeon’s course of action, but it also serves as a sort of interview for the patient to determine whether the physician is the right fit for their needs.
At the very least, patients should ensure that the surgeon possesses up-to-date certification from the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS). The surgeons most experienced in rhinoplasty tend to be facial plastic surgeons, head and neck surgeons, or otolaryngologists, as they receive specialized training in working with intricate facial structures.
If you are interested in learning more about rhinoplasty to determine whether it may be appropriate for you, Drs. Lieberman and Parikh would be happy to advise you in a consultation. Contact Lieberman & Parikh Facial Plastic Surgery online or call (650) 327-3232.