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New York Nose Surgery FAQs

Most nasal surgery patients have a lot of the same questions and concerns. Although the patient concerns may be somewhat universal, the answers are not. The answers are not universal because each patient is unique, and not every surgeon provides the same experience. At Profiles & Contours, we have found that the overwhelming majority of patients find the surgical experience and recovery to be better than they had expected. The following section will address frequently asked questions: questions we have received by email from prospective patients and questions we have received from patients who have made the decision to schedule surgery with our nose surgery specialists in New York City and Connecticut.

Therefore, the following questions are answered based on the historical experience of our actual patients, and our particular surgeons. So, if you are one of the many patients considering secondary, or revision nasal surgery, and after reading this section say to yourself, "Hmm, that doesn't sound like my experience" we hope our nose surgery specialists at Profiles & Contours will have the opportunity to improve the result of your previous surgery and provide you with a positive surgical experience.

Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions we get from our septoplasty and rhinoplasty patients in Manhattan and Connecticut.

If you are considering nasal surgery, whether for cosmetic or functional reasons, you should request a free surgical consultation with one of the nasal surgery specialists at Profiles & Contours / New York Plastic Surgery, PC. In Manhattan, we can be reached at 212-861-4100 and our number in Norwalk, Connecticut is 203-852-1650.

What are the benefits of nose surgery?

Nasal surgery can achieve both functional and cosmetic benefits, and often the psychological benefit of increased self confidence. A rhinoplasty procedure focuses on enhancing a patient's appearance, while septoplasty and other functional procedures usually address the need to improve one's breathing. Often, cosmetic and functional procedures are performed at the same time.

When performing rhinoplasty surgery, or the nose job, as it is commonly referred, the goal is to bring the physical components of the nose into better harmony, while also taking into account the other facial features, ethnic background, gender, the patient's personality, and what they perceive as attractive. Because there are so many things to consider when altering the appearance of the nose it is especially helpful to utilize computer imaging to see what is potentially possible. Many patients find it also helpful to view "before & after" photographs of previous patients.

From a functional point of view, the benefits of septoplasty and other function improving procedures is many faceted. Most patients are so happy to finally be able to breathe better that it takes a few weeks for it to sink in that they will probably have fewer headaches, sinus issues, nose bleeds and greater ease sleeping and exercising. They are no longer self-conscious on an elevator because their breathing is no longer audible to the other passengers! For the patient with a significant breathing problem the appearance of the nose may not be a concern, but often those patients who initially want only their breathing corrected come back for cosmetic improvements. Once they experience the typical easy course of surgery in the hands of the nasal surgery specialists at Profiles & Contours they aren't hesitant about addressing the cosmetic concerns.

Am I a good candidate for rhinoplasty or septoplasty?

If you are willing to listen to your surgeon, follow the instructions you are given, and have a realistic expectation about what nasal surgery can do for you, you most likely are a good New York City or Connecticut rhinoplasty candidate.

Patients with medical issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac problems may need special clearance from the physician who is treating them for their condition, but the vast majority of people interested in nose surgery in New York City or Connecticut at Profiles & Contours are medically cleared for surgery and proceed without any issues.

The surgeons at Profiles & Contours, as well as the board-certified anesthesiologists, and experienced staff will work with you, your other physicians, and family to help ensure a safe, pleasant rhinoplasty and/or septoplasty surgery experience.

Rhinoplasty in Manhattan is performed by our surgeons for male and female patients from the early teens to the elderly. The deciding factors are health, physical and mental maturity, and realistic expectations.

Will it hurt?

Most nose surgery patients of Profiles & Contours don't describe nose surgery as painful and report minimal to moderate discomfort for only the first 12 hours following surgery. When asked to rate their discomfort on a scale of 1-10, ten being the worst, most patients rate their level of discomfort "3" and take only Tylenol, not the prescribed pain medication. There is certainly no benefit in experiencing greater discomfort, so although not often taken, the surgeons at Profiles & Contours routinely prescribe a stronger prescription medication.

Because our surgeons have a particular interest in nasal surgery and perform a great number of rhinoplasty and septoplasty surgeries in New York City, they have developed techniques that lessen the length of time of the procedure and have also developed superior techniques in the administration of local anesthetic for nose surgery. The advanced technique for delivery of local anesthetic results in the nose remaining somewhat numb for several hours following surgery - resulting in less discomfort and an easier recovery.

During your consultation, if there is any aspect of your procedure that would lead our surgeon to expect that you will have an out of the ordinary experience, you will be informed and appropriate medications will be prescribed. The nose surgery specialists in Manhattan and Connecticut at Profiles & Contours believe that the more prepared a patient is about what to expect, the easier the experience.

What is recovery like after nose surgery in New York City?

As discussed in the previous paragraph, most patients don't experience pain following nasal surgery and therefore the recovery is usually quite easy. For the first 48 hours following surgery the patient's main job is to relax, with the head elevated and to apply a cold compress across the bridge of the nose and the eyes.

Because you will receive medications to sedate you during the procedure you shouldn't be alone the first 24 hours following surgery. Ironically, the first 24 hours is sometimes more stressful for the recovery companion than the patient! It is hard for the "companion nurse" to believe that the patient is functioning so well and needs little attention.

Not all patients experience bruising and swelling following surgery and the ones who do find that it is usually less than they had expected. It is recommended that you not put yourself in a strenuous situation the first week following surgery. Easy activities like going to the movies and working from home are usually resumed 3 days following surgery. The bandage is removed approximately 5 to 7 days following surgery and most patients return to their non-strenuous activities 5 to 8 days following the date of surgery.

As common sense tells most of us, the nose is a bit delicate following surgery, as any surgical site would be. Patients should avoid contact sports and the placing of objects such as heavy glasses and scuba masks for about 6 weeks following surgery.

A change in the appearance of the nose is immediate and most patients are comfortable with their appearance just a week following surgery, yet the absolute final result typically takes about 6 to 12 months. The time frame at which most patients are comfortable having wedding, anniversary, graduation, bar / bat mitzvah photos (big documental events!) is usually one month following surgery.

How long can I expect the results to last?

Over time, all noses subtly change shape due to the natural aging process. With the exception of these changes, most results are permanent. Some people find that the tip of the noses starts to drop and droop with age. After having rhinoplasty surgery, this change is usually less dramatic.

Having had nasal surgery does not make your nose more delicate or fragile in the long term. Of course, it is still susceptible to trauma but unless you have an implant or graft as part of your initial surgery, you are not at greater risk than a person who never had nasal surgery should your nose sustain some type of trauma. For patients with nasal implants a forceful blow to the nose could cause the implant to shift, resulting in the need for additional nasal surgery.

Are you going to break my nose during my nose job?

No. And yes. This question is very common and after 25 years still makes even the surgeons and staff cringe. Nasal surgery in Manhattan at Profiles & Contours is a very delicate, artful procedure. Some people have the misconception that the nose is broken into many pieces, like pottery that has been struck, and then pieced back together into a new form. This is not the case at all.

What "breaking the nose" refers to is the narrowing of the nasal bones - making the nose thinner. The name for this step in the nasal surgery is osteotomies - Osteo is Latin for bone. An instrument called an osteotome, which looks like a fine chisel, is gently inserted inside the nose at the base of the nose. The osteotome is used to make a precise incision in the nasal bones so that they can be maneuvered to form a slimmer and narrower nose. Most people who need this step in the nasal surgery have either had a bump on the top of the nose reduced, wish for a "wide" nose to be narrowed, or a crooked or "deviated" nose straightened.

Following the procedure a thin plastic splint is placed on top of the nose to hold the bones in position. This splint is removed 5-7 days following your procedure. The removal of the splint is not a surgical procedure and is done with the patient wake, usually asking questions about how soon they can get back to the gym!

What is the difference between open and closed rhinoplasty?

Our surgeons utilize two approaches to rhinoplasty and septoplasty surgery: open and closed. Open rhinoplasty, which is less commonly called for than closed rhinoplasty, means that the surgeon makes a small incision on the strip of skin between the nostrils to open the nose like the top of a box, to gain easy access to the tip of the nose and the septum. The open technique is usually implemented when grafts need to be used and is typically for the patient with a severe nasal deformity due to trauma or previous surgery.

In contrast, with closed rhinoplasty all incisions are placed inside the nose and the surgeon works through the nostrils. This is usually the preferred approach for primary nasal surgery. If the nostrils are too big, or the base of the nose is too wide, an incision may be made at the edge of the nostrils to make the width of the nose narrower and the nostrils smaller. Half of these sutures extend to the outside of the nose, but heal very well and are rarely noticeable, even on close scrutiny.

Patients who choose to have rhinoplasty with the nose surgery specialists at Profiles & Contours are particularly lucky. The ability to perform closed rhinoplasty is being taught less and less and we have in our practice some of the best surgeons at performing closed rhinoplasty. Not only are the patients at Profiles & Contours fortunate to have this expertise available to them, but many surgery residents in local hospitals benefit from teaching of this technique by our surgeons. Our surgeons are involved with teaching hospitals and often find that the surgical residents are exposed to this great technique only when they are teaching.

Does rhinoplasty leave scars?

Only an open rhinoplasty will leave visible scarring. Even so, our patients who require the open approach are almost always surprised at how small and well-concealed the incision heals. Most people you meet do not pay close attention to the strip of skin between your nostrils, but after the incision has fully healed, the resulting thin scar is typically not an issue, even on close inspection.

How soon can I return to work and other activities?

Most people return to their jobs about 7 to 10 days after their rhinoplasty or septoplasty procedure. If you have a very physical job, you may need to take additional days off work. You can begin adding in light physical activity when you return to work, though more strenuous activities such as heavy lifting or jogging should be avoided for about 3 weeks. Contact sports must be avoided for at least 6 weeks to avoid damage to the healing nose.

Is nose surgery covered by my insurance?

It depends. Most rhinoplasty procedures are deemed to be purely cosmetic, and won't be covered by insurance. If the insurance company considers your surgery to be the correction of an acquired deformity due to trauma or previous surgery, some carriers will allow a benefit to be paid for the surgery. Most insurance plans do cover functional nose surgery in New York City.

Septoplasty to improve obstructed air passages, and other function-improving procedures, are often covered. Our office staff will be able to check with your insurance carrier and provide you with a detailed overview of your coverage. The determination as to whether a procedure is covered by your insurance is entirely at the discretion of your insurance carrier, not your provider of care.

Can my procedure be financed?

Yes. At Profiles & Contours, we offer financing for our patients who wish to make installment payments for their surgical fee. You can learn more about nose surgery financing here. Our practice also accepts major charge cards for which you may have greater flexibility in the amount you pay each month, as well as receive other benefits from your card company, such as frequent flyer miles.

Are there risks and complications?

All surgery carries risk. However, you can minimize your risk by choosing your surgeon wisely and following all pre- and post-surgical instructions. At our practice, complications are extremely infrequent and in many cases can be addressed without the need for additional surgery. The two issues that most concern our surgeons are bleeding and infection (both extremely rare). To reduce the chance of bleeding you will be advised about medications that contribute to bleeding as well as activities you should avoid for a while following surgery. Infection is extremely rare and is usually related to an activity outside of the surgical setting, such as pet contact or returning to work at a hospital or healthcare environment during your initial recovery period. To minimize the opportunity of infection during your procedure we provide a clean operating room environment, appropriately sterilize and handle the surgical instruments, give intravenous antibiotics during your procedure, and prescribe an antibiotic to be taken by you for several days following your procedure. Because our operating room is part of a private, tightly run office, we have greater control over the introduction of possible organisms that may lead to infection, as well as a staff that understands the importance of a proper surgical environment. You can get a more complete picture of the risks associated with nose surgery when you view our risks & complications page or schedule a consultation and ask one of our surgeons more detailed question in person.

How do I select a surgeon?

Nose surgery is one of the most difficult operations performed in the area of the face and requires refined surgical skill that can only be achieved through years of experience. When you call to schedule a consultation the staff will try to arrange your consultation with the surgeon that is best suited to your needs. When this is not easily determined by phone, your consultation will be with Dr. Erlich and based on your examination he will advise which surgeon or surgeons will best suit your needs. Many patients have specific time scheduling constraints and benefit hugely from the practice of Profiles & Contours being able to offer the skill of 4 superb surgeons. Also ask to see before and after photos of past patients and ask to speak with others who have had nose surgery from that surgeon. You can meet our doctors online and they will be happy to share even more information about their experience in person.

What if I'm not happy with my results?

Although not common, some procedures may call for a little fine tuning after healing is complete. Because our surgeons try to give the patient realistic expectations, the rate of revision surgery is quite low at Profiles & Contours. Before undergoing additional surgery, however, it is important to give your nose enough time to heal and to make sure that any minor imperfections will not simply resolve by themselves.

Your Next Step

If you would like to request a free surgical consultation regarding New York and Connecticut nose surgery please call 212-861-4100 in Manhattan or 203-852-1650 in Connecticut to reach Profiles & Contours / New York Plastic Surgery, P.C. If you would like to bring a friend or family member with you, please do so.

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