Is Revision Rhinoplasty Right for You?

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If you talk to different plastic surgeons, you’ll find that most are in agreement regarding the challenges of rhinoplasty procedures. The nose is a complex structure positioned in the middle of the face. In addition to being vital for respiration, it’s also the first thing people see. Many individuals don’t notice someone’s nose unless it’s particularly incongruous with the rest of their facial features, and then they can’t stop noticing it.

Because the nose serves a vital function as well as being the aesthetic centerpiece of the face, surgeons have a difficult job. Their priority must always be to preserve the function of the nasal airways. The most beautiful nose in the world isn’t a success story if the person can’t breathe through it. Once the airways have been prioritized, the next step is to modify the shape and size of the nose until it meets the patient’s ideal look.

The Purpose of Revision Rhinoplasty

Revision rhinoplasty is even more challenging than the typical rhinoplasty procedure. Revision rhinoplasty is a surgery that’s done after a patient has already had at least one other rhinoplasty. If the patient wants their nose’s function and appearance to be improved, they may seek a second surgery. Plastic surgeons face multiple unique challenges in these situations.

One of the challenges is that patients considering a revision rhinoplasty are often upset with their first rhinoplasty results. They may be unhappy that nasal deformities weren’t corrected, or that the surgery itself created new nasal deformities. The surgeon cannot guarantee that a revision procedure will correct any of the deformities in question.

Scarring due to prior procedures tends to cause trouble during revisions. Also, revision rhinoplasty will often need to correct things done during the first procedure as well as perform this new procedure, such as using healthy cartilage to replace deficient and damaged cartilage that was removed during the first operation.

Some people might have a deviated nasal septum, which can cause issues with breathing and with the nose’s appearance. This must be corrected during the revision. The nose might also be obstructed if there was a cartilage collapse at the tip of the structure. It’s also common for people to seek revision rhinoplasties because of nasal blockages due to internal nasal passage collapse. To correct this, the surgeon will need to insert “spreader grafts” made of cartilage to open the passages back up.

Because of all of these complications, if you’re looking for revision rhinoplasty, it’s important to seek out surgeons who have extensive experience with the concept. The ideal surgeon is one who specializes in rhinoplasty procedures and has multiple years of experience. Revision rhinoplasties are much more successfully performed by experienced specialists than by average plastic surgeons, though that’s not a guarantee that you’ll like your results.

Revision Rhinoplasty Procedures

Before the new rhinoplasty is completed, the surgeon often needs to harvest cartilage from other parts of the patient’s body. When rhinoplasties go wrong, it’s often due to deficient or insufficient cartilage in the nose. The followup procedure needs to replace this tissue with healthy cartilage. The most common places for surgeons to take cartilage from are the ear or the rib.

If the bridge of the nose has skin discolorations or texture inconsistencies, cartilage might need to be used to smooth it. Some patients might have scarring inside their noses that’s extensive enough to obstruct the airways. In these cases, skin grafts must be inserted to reopen the nasal passages and keep them from being distorted.

Even if a surgeon does their best, patients are more likely to seek another revision rhinoplasty following a revision rhinoplasty than following an original rhinoplasty. Patients must be aware of this before they undergo their first revision. Even the most skilled surgeon in the world can only do so much with what they’re given, and it’s impossible to guarantee that the outcome will be exactly what you’re hoping for.

Benefits of a Successful Revision Rhinoplasty

If a revision rhinoplasty is performed successfully, you’ll experience many of the same benefits that you’d typically get from a primary rhinoplasty operation.

One of the biggest benefits is a rejuvenated appearance of the face. Since the nose is reshaped, you’re left with a more balanced, youthful, and aesthetically pleasing facial structure. You’re also given more facial symmetry, especially when the operation corrects crooked noses or lopsided nostrils.

When the revision rhinoplasty is being performed to address issues with breathing, success will open the nasal passages. This means that airflow will no longer be obstructed, so you can breathe freely again. In these cases, the rhinoplasty might be combined with a septoplasty or nasal obstruction surgery. These procedures are designed to address obstructions that were the result of previous surgery.

With a successful operation, you also reap the benefit of increased confidence. The operation enhances the shape and appearance of your nose, which can provide a huge boost in self-esteem. This is particularly true if you’re a patient who struggles to feel confident in their appearance.

Candidates for Revision Rhinoplasty

Any person who isn’t happy with their original rhinoplasty might be a candidate for revision rhinoplasty. However, the primary rhinoplasty can take up to two years to completely heal and settle. This means that patients should wait until they can view their final surgery results. If the patient remains unhappy after the nose has fully healed, they can seek a revision. Revision rhinoplasties can help patients with the following issues:

  • Visible scarring
  • Non-symmetrical nostrils
  • Unbalanced nose and chin
  • Issues with breathing
  • A deformed and pinched nose
  • A twisted or crooked nose
  • An unnatural or protruding tip
  • Nasal humps on the bridge of the nose
  • Short overall nose structure
  • Scooped nose bridge that might interfere with breathing

Talk to your surgeon about how to best manage your expectations.