Ask the Surgeon: 5 Rhinoplasty Questions Answered


One of the most popular plastic surgery procedures performed year after year is rhinoplasty. In Chicago, I consult with hundreds of patients each year who are interested in reshaping their noses. Many of the men and women who want a “nose job” require only slight alterations to get the results they desire.

Because the procedure is so popular, I’ve compiled a list of common questions often asked about rhinoplasty. These 5 answers should help you learn more about the procedure’s benefits and whether it is the right thing for you.

1. What is the cost of rhinoplasty?

It’s understandable that the cost of cosmetic surgery is one of the top concerns patients have. The cost includes the surgeon’s fee and fees paid for the operating room and anesthesia. Other variables influencing the total price, which can make it difficult to comparison shop, include the geographic location of a practice, a surgeon’s training and experience, and the extensiveness of the surgery itself. In the Chicago area, rhinoplasty can range from $6,000 to $12,000. My advice is to avoid bargain shopping when it comes to plastic surgery. Up to a third of the rhinoplasty procedures I perform are done to revise or correct the outcome of surgeries performed by other surgeons. You’re investing in your health and beauty.

2. How long is the recovery?

The recovery after rhinoplasty has different stages. When most patients ask about recovery times they are referring to how long they need to take off work or how much time they have to refrain from exercising. In most cases, patients can return to work and other normal activities approximately 7 days after surgery. Most visible bruising resolves by then, and most swelling subsides within a few weeks. You can ease back into working out after a week as well but start slow. You can resume full activities after 4 to 6 weeks. Results appear gradually as the swelling goes down, but the final changes to the shape of the nose usually appear about a year after the procedure. Here are some rhinoplasty recovery tips for more details.

3. What concerns can surgery fix?

I recently published a blog post outlining the most common aesthetic concerns that lead people to seek cosmetic nose surgery. Changing the shape or size of a nose are a couple of general reasons for rhinoplasty, and patients also often want to reduce a hump. Patients sometimes can’t exactly pinpoint the reason they want rhinoplasty other than saying they don’t like the way their noses look. Difficulty breathing through the nose is another reason for nose surgery, called functional rhinoplasty.

4. How is revision rhinoplasty different?

As I mentioned, about a third of the rhinoplasty patients I see at my practice are disappointed in the results of a previous surgery performed by another surgeon. Revision rhinoplasty poses additional challenges not present during an initial nose job, and it is important to choose a surgeon with expertise in the procedure. In many cases, for example, I use specialized techniques during a revision rhinoplasty because scar tissue is present or to compensate for the lack of cartilage and other nasal structures. For the patient, the procedure and recovery are very similar to the initial rhinoplasty, but for the surgeon, the process is often more challenging.

5. Does nonsurgical rhinoplasty really work?

Nonsurgical rhinoplasty is a phrase some plastic surgeons use to describe using injectables, such as fillers, to change the appearance of the nose. I generally don’t recommend pursuing a nonsurgical approach to rhinoplasty. To begin with, even under optimal conditions the surgical precision needed for successful rhinoplasty cannot be matched with injectable fillers. It is also important to consider that even patients who are satisfied with the results of nonsurgical rhinoplasty can only enjoy them temporarily. Surgical rhinoplasty can have extensive, lasting results.

I hope this information is helpful to anyone considering rhinoplasty. If you’re currently considering cosmetic nose surgery, contact us to request a consultation or call us at (312) 788-2560 to schedule an appointment.

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