The Before-and-After of Rhinoplasty

Plastic surgery helps thousands of people annually enhance their bodies and regain confidence. But it’s not always a quick fix. Like other patients around the country, my Chicago-area rhinoplasty patients know that good results are often worth the wait.

The nose is a complex part of the face. Whether rhinoplasty was performed to address functional issues, such as a deviated septum, or for aesthetic enhancement, it can take up to a year for the nose to settle into its final shape.

Like any surgery, bruising and swelling are expected parts of the initial recovery process. By the end of the second week following surgery, however, these symptoms will dissipate greatly. Most people feel comfortable returning to work or school after 2 weeks — sometimes sooner or later depending on the individual and the technique used by the surgeon.

Although it won’t be noticeable to most people, residual swelling can be present for several months. Throughout this time, the patient will continue to see a gradual improvement in the shape of his or her nose. Scar tissue will dissipate, and bones and cartilage will settle into their new positions.

Despite the lengthy healing time, rhinoplasty has an extremely high rate of patient satisfaction. Many people undergo this surgery after years of feeling as if their noses don’t suit their faces. They may have experienced teasing as children.

The decision to undergo rhinoplasty should not be taken lightly. A good surgeon will conduct a thorough physical examination of the nose and ask lots of questions during the consultation to gain a deeper understanding of the patient’s goals. I urge all prospective rhinoplasty patients to review the before-and-after photos of several doctors, noting the subtleties in his or her work while taking into account that the “after” photos are usually taken several months following surgery.

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