You might not want to think about the risks of rhinoplasty. Although the potential for risks or complications can be greatly minimized by doing your research and finding a qualified, board certified facial plastic surgeon to perform the surgery, it's still worthwhile to have an understanding of what they are and the ways you can minimize or avoid them.
The good news about medical complications, such as bleeding or infection, and rhinoplasty is that they are relatively rare, occurring in just a handful of cases. Of course, if you experience an issue such as bleeding or an infection after surgery, knowing that you're one of just a few might not necessarily be good news.
There are several ways to minimize the risk of bleeding or developing a hematoma, a collection of pooled blood beneath the skin, after rhinoplasty. Your surgeon will advise you to avoid certain medications, such as aspirin, which make bleeding more likely to occur. Treating your nose very gently and avoiding blowing it or forcing air through it in the days following surgery will also help you avoiding excessive bleeding. It's worth pointing out that there is usually some mild bleeding after rhinoplasty, and you shouldn't get alarmed if you notice a small amount of blood a couple of days after your surgery.
Infection can occur after rhinoplasty if the healing area is exposed to any sort of bad bacteria. To minimize the risk of infection, your surgeon might give you an antibiotic to take. Take the medicine as directed to give yourself the most protection. Keep an eye on how you feel, too. A high fever can often be a sign of infection, for example. If anything seems off or if you feel unwell, contact your surgeon to find out what you should do.
The incisions made during a closed rhinoplasty are generally inside the nose, meaning any scarring will be well concealed by the nose itself. An incision made across the columella, which divides the nostrils, during an open rhinoplasty. Under usual circumstances, the scar that develops as the nose heals from an open surgery is usually not very noticeable.
But, some circumstance can occur that make scarring worse. For example, some people naturally have difficulty when it comes to developing scar tissue and the scar on the underside of their nose might grow beyond its boundaries. In other instances, external factors can make scarring more prominent, such as sun exposure. Limiting your time in the sun and using sunscreen will help you avoid any issues with scarring.
Another potential risk after rhinoplasty is that the way your nose functions will be somehow affected. Although the goal of surgery for many patients is to correct any breathing issues in the nose, for others, the surgery might make nasal blockage worse or make it more challenging to breathe.
It might take some time for you to realize that you are having increased trouble breathing after rhinoplasty. A feeling of stuffiness or congestion is common during the initial recovery period after the surgery. If those problems don't improve you recover, it might be something you want to bring up with a surgeon. It could be that the surgery moved your septum or otherwise created a blockage in the nasal passages.
Issues from or reactions to anesthesia are very rare, but can happen. If you have a history of allergic reactions to anesthesia or have close family members who have had reactions to anesthesia, that is something you should mention to the surgeon during your consultation. He might recommend a different option, such as IV sedation, instead of general anesthesia, instead.
Even if you have no history of problems with anesthesia, it's a good idea to follow the instructions your surgeon gives you before surgery, particularly in regards to eating and drinking. It's usually recommended that you not eat or drink for several hours before going under, to avoid complications that can occur when the esophagus relaxes.
One final rhinoplasty risk: you might not like the way you look afterwards. Cosmetic complications after surgery are actually more common than medical complications and can occur for a few reasons. In some cases, it might be that the surgeon made an error, resulting in a crooked nose or a drooping tip. In other cases, it could be that your expectations for the surgery weren't in line with reality.
Aside from choosing an experienced and board certified facial plastic surgeon, there are ways to minimize the chance that you won't be happy with your results. Computer imaging can give both you and the surgeon the ability to see what changes can be made to your nose, and how they will look, before surgery. Reviewing before and after pictures of previous patients will also give you an idea of the surgeon's ability when it comes to performing rhinoplasty.
With the versatility of rhinoplasty today, the procedure must be customized to suit the needs of each patient. Your first step in the process is to discuss your options for rhinoplasty with a qualified, board certified facial plastic surgeon. During your consultation, you will have the opportunity to present your goals for surgery, get advice, and ask questions about the procedure.
Dr. Haitham Masri, of the Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery is a triple board certified surgeon with decades of experience in helping patients reach their rhinoplasty goals. If you would like to discuss your goals for surgery with Dr. Masri, call (866) 487-3223 today to schedule your complimentary consultation.