The size and shape of a nose is determined by the inherent size, shape, and consistency of an individual’s cartilage, bone, and overlying skin. While everyone has the same basic anatomical elements, the specific arrangement and contour of these elements varies greatly from person to person and is influenced by ethnicity and age.
Rhinoplasty is the surgical art of re-shaping the nose. Primary rhinoplasty refers to the operation performed on a patient who has never undergone rhinoplasty in the past. First, inconspicuous incisions are made and the skin of the nose is lifted from its underlying bone and cartilage framework. Next, some of the bone and/or cartilage is removed or rearranged, and the nasal support system is reconstituted, thus providing a newly shaped and structurally sound nose. The skin is then redraped over the new frame and the incisions are closed.
A soft packing material is usually placed inside the nose and removed the day after surgery. Small stitches and an external splint are usually removed one week after surgery. The majority of swelling, bruising, and discomfort is experienced during the first week following surgery, and most people return to school or work after this time period.