What is rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty is the medical term for plastic surgery procedures involving the nose, which is commonly referred to as a “nose job”. It can be performed to correct functional problems such as nasal airway obstruction resulting in breathing difficulty, birth defects like an orofacial cleft, or simply a purely aesthetics procedure.

Different approaches to Rhinoplasty

There are 2 main approaches to rhinoplasty. In closed rhinoplasty, all incisions are made within the nostrils and all required adjustments are made from these incisions. This allows for a faster recovery with no visible scars post-surgery and is usually preferred for simpler procedures. In open rhinoplasty, the surgeon will make an incision at the base of the columella so the skin of the nose can be lifted off, allowing complete exposure of the underlying cartilage and bony framework. This will allow the surgeon to make more precise and accurate adjustments and is usually preferred for more complex cases.

Rhinoplasty can be divided into further subtypes depending on the exact region of nose to be sculpted.

Nasal tip plasty

Tip plasty is usually performed to reduce the size of an overprominent, rounded nose tip to a smaller and sharper one. The procedure is usually a combination of strategically placed sutures, careful trimming and autologous grafting to shape the nasal tip cartilage.


Alarplasty aims to reduce the width of the nostrils. This is done by excising small, crescent shaped wedge of the alar and anchoring the alar into the new, narrower position.

Possible Risks

Each of these procedures are rarely performed alone. Rhinoplasty is usually a combination of these procedures to optimise the proportions of the nose for a more harmonious, natural-looking result. Rhinoplasty is performed under local or general anaesthesia.

As with all surgical procedures, there are some risks involved. Some of these may include

  • Damaged/disturbed nerves around the operated area, causing temporary numbness, breathing, smell and taste issues. This may be permanent in rare cases
  • Infection and inflammation
  • Perforation of nasal septum during or after the surgery, causing intense pain and discomfort
  • Bleeding

In cases with severe complications, a follow up surgery may be required to address the issue and prevent the conditions from worsening. However, all of these can be avoided with good surgical technique and post-surgical care. Be sure to consult an experienced and reputable plastic surgeon to minimise the risk of complications

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Is the procedure painful?

The procedure will be performed under local or general anaesthesia so there will be minimal pain and discomfort.

Is there any downtime?

Depending on individual conditions, recovery can take up to 2 weeks, during which a nasal splint may be needed to maintain the shape of the nose and facilitate recovery. Also, some swelling and bruising is expected during this period.

What should I take note of before the procedure?

You should be in generally good health before a rhinoplasty.

Please inform the surgeon of your medical history and any drug allergies to prevent unnecessary complications. Also inform the surgeon of any medication or supplements you are currently taking. You may be asked to stop certain blood thinners or any other anti-inflammatory drugs.

All tobacco consumption should cease about 4 weeks before the surgery as advised by the surgeon.

What should I take note of after the procedure?

Follow the post care instructions given by the doctor closely. You will be required to wear a compression bandage around the cheeks for up to 3 days after the surgery to reduce swelling. There may still be some swelling after the bandage is removed, which will completely subside in about 2 to 3 weeks.

The cheeks are expected to feel slightly tight and sore for 2 to 3 weeks during the recovery. The doctor will usually prescribe painkillers to help with this.

Sedentary activities can resume after about 7 days, but strenuous exercise should be avoided for 2 weeks or more.
If incisions were made in the mouth, you should avoid spicy or irritating foods for several days. You may be required to consume only soft, easy to chew foods for this period and gargle with and antiseptic mouthwash.

As mentioned, you may need to wear a nasal splint for up to 14 days after the surgery. Daily activities can resume after the nasal splint has been removed.
Also, expect some bloody discharge from the nose for a few days after the procedure. This is perfectly normal.

Avoid smoking and tobacco for at least 14 days after the procedure. Do not put any excessive force/weight on your nose for about a month after the procedure.

This may include but is not limited to:

  • Blowing your nose
  • Sneezing – Try to open your mouth while doing so to redirect the air away from the nose
  • Wearing glasses/shades. Try to wear contact lenses if possible. Otherwise, glasses may need to be suspended from your forehead using a specialised tape as advised by the surgeon
  • Strenuous activities should also be avoided for about 6 weeks following the procedure to prevent complications. Our surgeon and staff will discuss further details on how to facilitate recovery after the surgery.