Six Surprising Facts About Rhinoplasty

Half a million people seek consultation to change or enhance something about their nose each year, but there’s still likely a lot you don’t know about this uber-popular facial plastic surgery procedure, rhinoplasty. Here are six surprising facts according to American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) plastic surgeons.


1. The Aging Nose

Your nose is not immune to the effects of aging. With advancing age, the tip of the nose droops due to the downward pull of gravity. “By the time a person reaches the age of 50 or 60, the nose’s skin will lose its elasticity and the soft tissue underneath will be stretching and weakening,” says Stephen S. Park, M.D., president of the AAFPRS. “Some skin starts drooping around the tip of the nose and that might appear as a ‘bump.’” A rhinoplasty does more than improve your profile, it can also reverse the signs of aging on your nose.


2. Snore No More

If your septum -- the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of the nose in half -- is significantly off center or “deviated,” you may experience breathing difficulty and have probably been told that you snore. “A nose job can address a deviated septum, which can put an end to snoring and other breathing issues,” says Edwin Williams, M.D., president-elect of the AAFPRS.


3. Everything Old is New Again

Rhinoplasty is as old as time, almost literally, fortunately the techniques have evolved. An Indian doctor in 600 BC performed the first recorded “nose Job.” In those days, the doctor would cut skin from either the cheek or forehead, twist the skin over a leaf of the appropriate size, and sew it on place. Two polished wooden tubes would be inserted into the nostrils to keep the air passage open during healing. “Today’s procedures are much more sophisticated,” says Russell Ries, MD, GVP for Public and Regulatory Affairs of the AAFPRS. “We use 3D imaging to guide surgery to minimize bleeding and swelling and can achieve very precise, sculpted and natural-looking results,” says Dr. Ries. “Most people report little or no pain after nasal surgery, and any discomfort is easily controlled with mild pain medication.”


4. The Changing Face of Ethnic Rhinoplasty

Today African Americans, Asians and other non-Caucasian individuals seek rhinoplasty to enhance ethnic features, not obscure them, says Park. “This is much different than the days where pop icon Michael Jackson embodied ethnic plastic surgery, and largely sought to obscure his ethnic identity with rhinoplasty.”


5. Rhinoplasty Isn’t Always Cosmetic

While it’s common for people to hear about a nose job and assume that it’s about someone trying to ‘fix’ their appearance, often rhinoplasty is reconstructive, says Dr. Williams.  “Today, we actually can address functional and cosmetic issues in the same surgery,” says Williams. “Even individuals who come in to fix a broken nose or breathing problem still desire an improved cosmetic appearance, and those who seek cosmetic work likely also require some functional or breathing improvement too.”


6. There are 14 Plus Types of Nose

Noses all fall into 14 basic types, ranging from the Greek nose (straight) to the hawk nose (sharp and “downward hooking”). Most common is the “fleshy nose” which is wide in appearance, according to a study in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. “This type of classification or generalization can help us illustrate what is possible to fix with rhinoplasty,” says Park.