Rhinoplasty surgery is one of the most frequent operations I perform, yet it is considered to be one of the most difficult in all of plastic surgery. After all, the nose does occupy a very expensive piece of real estate on the body: the center of your face! Every maneuver and millimeter is important, so it is important that I fully understand my patient’s goals before performing a rhinoplasty procedure here in Chicago.
Sometimes I sense that patients are nervous when they come in for a rhinoplasty consult. They either have difficulty expressing in words what they do not like about their nose, are self-conscious, or are nervous about the final result, not wanting their nose to look artificial. I hope this “rhinoplasty consult 101” serves as a guide for what to expect when you come in for a rhinoplasty consultation and will serve you well as you begin the process of considering this procedure.
Comprehensive Attention to Detail
I love meeting patients and respect that considering surgery is a big decision for everyone. For this reason, I block off 1 hour of my own time for every rhinoplasty consultation; I do not have patients sit with a nurse or other provider to obtain critical information.
After they meet my team briefly and take photographs with my nurse, it is important for me to spend a lot of time 1-on-1 with each patient to learn about them and understand everything there is to know about their nose. This can include complaints such as a bulbous rounded tip, hump, long nose, droopy tip, nostril asymmetry, wide bones or nostrils, crooked nose, and airway obstruction.
Understanding Form & Function
I like to listen to all of the complaints patients have about their nose, both aesthetic and functional, such as breathing problems. I then examine the nose both externally and internally, looking inside as well to assess the breathing valves. There are both aesthetic and functional components to a nose, so I make sure that I fully analyze both aspects.
Even in a purely aesthetic rhinoplasty, it is important to the patient and I that the nose functions every bit as well after surgery as it did before. On the other hand, some patients present with more functional airway issues and less cosmetic concern, so it is important to significantly improve breathing while making the nose more attractive.
Learn more about the relationship between cosmetic and functional rhinoplasty in our previous blog post.
State-of-the-Art Imaging & Analysis
I analyze every nose in 2D images and highlight each patient’s complaints. Then, I use state-of-the-art VECTRA® 3-D imaging to alter the nose to achieve a final result that both the patient and I like. This is critical for patient education and satisfaction and is a major advantage of my consultation.
After that, we discuss the exact steps on a TouchMD simulator that reviews what maneuvers need to be done on the structures inside the nose.
With the goals and game plan in mind, we next transition from the exam room to my office where we review numerous images of patients who had similar noses. Showing before-and-after photos of patients with a wide range of issues but similar complaints and what I was able to accomplish helps patients feel more reassured that their nose will look great after surgery.
For every patient, I complete a “rhinoplasty worksheet” listing the complaints with the nose, the specific maneuvers required, and the degree to which to perform these maneuvers, thus making each rhinoplasty truly unique.
The nose is like a gemstone that sits on the center of the face: it has to be handled with great care. The consultation is the first step in this process, and I hope this outline has helped you understand the importance and attention to detail I place on meeting with prospective rhinoplasty patients.
If you would like to learn more about rhinoplasty or set up a consultation of your own at our Chicago office, you can contact us online or call our office at (312) 788-2560 to schedule an appointment.