Your nose is the centre point of your facial features. As such, the shape and size of your nose can have significant impact on the harmonious balance of your facial features - a large nose will leave your chin looking relatively small, a long nose will make your overall features stronger, a small nose may feminise the face. It is unsurprising then that one of the most common requests for a plastic surgery consultation is to discuss ways of adjusting the nose, whether it is overall size, shape or a small refinement of a particular area causing concern.


The options for nose surgery, or rhinoplasty, depend on particular changes that are desired but fundamentally based on manoeuvres to deconstruct the nasal structure through adjustment of underlying cartilages which form the framework of the nose and then to reconstruct or rearrange these in a manner that achieves the desired change in shape. Whether an augmentation of size, length or height is required, or a reduction in a dorsal hump, change in tip shape or shortening of length is desired, the principles begin with exposure of the structural framework of the nose and adjustment of shape.


The two options used to access this framework is a closed vs open approach. The advantage of a closed rhinoplasty is that there is no external scar and the incision is hidden within the nostrils subsequently, post operative swelling is often shorter also. The difficulty with this option however is that although exposure of the lower parts of the nose is possible, due to limited access it is much harder to access the entire framework. The alternative, open rhinoplasty involves a discrete incision on the columella region of the nose between the nostrils. The scar heals very well and this approach allows complete exposure of the framework, making adjustments to the shape and obtaining more reliable, symmetrical results easier. Dr. Ahn usually performs open rhinoplasty operations for this reason.


Your initial consultation for a rhinoplasty will begin with a discussion regarding your goals for the operation. Be as detailed as possible and come prepared with any questions that you would like answered about the procedure. You will also have photos taken for the consultation and we will use a 3D imaging system to simulate the desired changes to allow you to gain a better idea of how your nose and face will appear post operatively. Dr. Ahn will explain the procedure and possible complications in detail and you will be required to attend a secondary consultation prior to finalising your decision to allow you to ask any further questions you may have.


Rhinoplasty operations are performed in a hospital under general anaesthesia. The operation typically takes between 2 - 3 hours depending on the complexity of the case and may be performed as a day surgery or an overnight stay.  When you wake from the procedure, you will have an external splint on the top of your nose to protect it and minimise swelling. This will stay in place for 1-2 weeks. Inside your nostrils there will also be tube like splints that allow you to breathe that will usually be removed within 5 days of your procedure.


All surgery carries risks and those specific to this procedure will be discussed with you during your consultation and also provided in your consent paperwork. Possible risks of a rhinoplasty procedure include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Asymmetry
  • Numbness
  • Incomplete correction
  • Contour irregularities
  • Skin necrosis
  • Loss of projection from graft loss

It is expected that you will require 2 weeks off typical daily activities such as work and light exercise. For the first week, you are likely to require pain relief that makes you drowsy and will be unable to drive. After your 2 week review, most daily activities including a return to work are possible. You will be advised to refrain from contact sports or heavy lifting for 6 weeks.


The nose is an area that is very slow to resolve swelling. During your consultation you will be advised that it will take between 12 - 18 months for your swelling to completely resolve. Initial bruising typically lasts 2-3 weeks, while the majority of swelling will reduce by 3 months, however final results will not be visible until this 12 - 18 month time frame.


If you are interested in a consultation for a rhinoplasty procedure, please contact us or call 1300 008 098 for your consultation