There are two general categories of aesthetic procedure, those that recreate your look by eliminating aging features, and those that change your look by changing inborn features that may be “improved.” Among the latter, rhinoplasty is the flagship procedure. By beautifying the central feature of your face, for the rest of your life, you will benefit daily, and in every situation. Rhinoplasty is a delicate surgical procedure. Enhancement may be significant with only millimeters of change. The human eye is very sensitive to slight adjustments of angle and proportion.
Interested men and women should seek advice only from well trained and appropriately certified surgeons. In the United States, this includes either a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or perhaps a “facial” plastic surgeon with a library of “before and after” photos demonstrating a track record of successful results. The procedure should be performed in the safest possible environment, at an accredited free-standing ambulatory surgery center or office operating facility. Patients should not hesitate to challenge surgeons regarding credentials. The qualifies surgeon works hard to provide the best circumstances for his or her patients, and is usually proud to show evidence of certifications achieved.
There is no single method or technique of rhinoplasty. For each individual, the procedure is adapted in scope and magnitude to accomplish goals established by patient and surgeon in advance. The result should not be left to the surgeon’s discretion, and should not in any way be a surprise to the patient. Changes to the nose are agreed upon in advance. Both the precise change and the degree of change are discussed. Although there is always an element of unpredictability and swelling and healing occur during several months following nose re-shaping, the overall outcome should match ethnicity, enhance other facial features, and appear naturally in harmony with the remaining facial contours. For example, if the patient is Asian or Hispanic, the nose should not appear obviously caucasian. For women, reduction in nasal size and enhancement of delicacy of the nose enlarges the relative size of eyes and lips, enhancing femininity.
The younger the age at which rhinoplasty is performed, the longer the patient experiences resulting benefits. Because facial growth is not complete until late teens, rhinoplasty should be deferred until age 16 or later for women, and 18 or later for men.
Steve Laverson, MD, FACS
Diplomate, American Board of Surgery and American Board of Plastic Surgery
Member, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons and American Society of Plastic Surgeons