Nose surgery, or rhinoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure that is performed to alter the shape and size of the nose. Rhinoplasty has many names –a nose job, nose contouring, nose reshaping—but the core procedure is the same in all cases. When performed by a skilled facial plastic surgeon, nose surgery can provide profound emotional benefits, providing a greater sense of confidence, self-satisfaction, and self-esteem.


Rhinoplasty is often used to reshape the nose for cosmetic reasons, to smooth out a bump or fill in a depression, for example. In some cases, rhinoplasty may be used to repair a deformity or open nasal passage to abnormality to improve breathing.

Some of the most common reasons for interest in a nose surgery procedure include:

  • Changing the size or shape of the nose, effectively altering the nose’s profile
  • Creating symmetry in the nose and face
  • Reducing the width of the bridge of the nose
  • Correcting nostril size
  • Repairing a deformity of the nasal septum


Aesthetic rhinoplasty is an elective procedure, while rhinoplasty to open the airway may be medically necessary. Before a patient undergoes any type of nose surgery, a facial plastic surgeon conducts a thorough evaluation to determine if the procedure is appropriate and that it can achieve the patient’s goals. For aesthetic rhinoplasty this means making sure the patient is a candidate for surgery and learning what his/her ideal nose would look like.

Nose surgery can be formed in a closed or open procedure. During an open procedure, an incision is made on the columella, or the area of tissue found between the nostrils. In a closed procedure, the surgeon makes incision inside the nose, not visible from the outside.

Most rhinoplasty procedures involve restructuring the appearance of the nose, which usually includes changes to the cartilage in the nasal septum. Rhinoplasty procedures are not only effective in straightening out, aligning, or fixing damage to the septum, but can facilitate improved breathing, alleviate snoring or sleep apnea caused by a deviated or crooked septum. Nasal restructuring may also involve reshaping the bridge of the nose to remove bumps or depressions to create a smoother, straighter profile. Lastly, nostril corrections are made by reshaping the nostrils at the nostril crease.

To achieve desired results, nose surgery should be performed by a skilled facial plastic surgeon. The structures of the nose are extremely delicate, and they most continue to receive adequate blood supply after the procedure. Successful rhinoplasty requires an artist’s eye and a surgeon’s hand.


With the exception of some nasal septum surgeries, rhinoplasty is usually performed on patients under general anesthesia, given through a vein (intravenously) or by inhalation (or a combination of both). In some cases, patients may opt for local anesthesia with intravenous sedation.

Rhinoplasty procedures can take anywhere from one to three hours. They are typically performed on an outpatient basis, which means a hospital stay is not required. Following nose surgery, incisions are closed, nasal tissues replaced, and for some, splints or tubing maybe utilized to promote support and healing. Mild discomfort is typically addressed with over-the-counter medication. The nostrils may be packed with gauze, or a splint may be applied, again depending on the type and severity of the reconstruction. There may be some swelling and bruising after the procedure, but tends to resolve within three weeks or less.