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Nose surgery (septorhinoplasty)

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If you have been considering a septorhinoplasty, make sure you know all the facts.

This type of operation can be done due to multiple reasons, but you should discuss your reason with your doctor beforehand.

What is a septorhinoplasty?

A septorhinoplasty (or also known as a ‘nose job’) is an operation to improve the appearance of your nose (rhinoplasty) and to improve how you breathe through your nose (septoplasty).

This type of operation involves operating on the bones and cartilage that give your nose its shape and structure and making your septum straight. The septum is the cartilage and bone inside your nose that separates your nostrils.

What are the benefits to surgery?

Your nose should be the size and shape you want, and you should be able to breathe through both nostrils. Most people who have a successful septorhinoplasty are more comfortable with their appearance.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

If you have a blocked nose caused by a deviated septum, you may be able to have only a septoplasty. Although, a rhinoplasty is the only way to change the appearance of your nose.

If you have a blocked nose because your nasal bones are crooked or damaged, a rhinoplasty (usually along with a septoplasty) is the only option to improve the way you breathe.

What does the procedure involve?

The operation is almost always performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes 1 to 2 hours. To begin, your surgeon will make a cut on the mucosa (the skin-like lining of the inside of your nose) and lift it off the cartilage and bone. They will remove the parts of the cartilage and bone that are bent, and they will put the rest back in a straight position.

Then, your surgeon can refine the tip of your nose by removing some of the cartilage. If you have a hump (dorsum) on your nose, they will shave it down. Your surgeon can also straighten and narrow the nasal bones by breaking and then setting them (infracture).

Moreover, your surgeon may need to support or rebuild part of your nose using a cartilage graft, a bone graft or an artificial implant. Your surgeon may pack the inside of your nose to prevent bleeding, and place a splint and strapping on the outside of your nose for support.

What complications can happen?

Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications that can be serious and can even cause death. Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation.

General complications of any operation

It is good to bear in mind the possible complications when you have a septorhinoplasty procedure.

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

Before you book an appointment for this type of procedure, your surgeon should inform you about the specific complications for you to bear aware of.

  • Adhesions, where scar tissue forms deep inside your nose and can obstruct airflow
  • Redness
  • Bruising and swelling of your nose and under your eyes Bleeding caused by infection
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Developing a collection of blood (haematoma) or an abscess between the layers of your septum
  • Damage to nerves that supply the skin at the tip of your nose
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Making a hole in your septum
  • Toxic shock syndrome, which is an infection of your bloodstream
  • Cosmetic problems
  • Problems at the donor site if you need a cartilage graft from your ear
  • Graft rejection
  • Reduced sense of smell

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day. If you had some packing in your nose, it will usually be removed the next morning.

You will need to stay off work and away from groups of people for two weeks. This is to avoid catching a cold, which could result in an infection. Your surgeon will remove the splint and strapping after a week. Do not exercise, have a hot bath or bend down for two weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice. It can take many months for your nose to settle and for the final appearance to develop.


A septorhinoplasty is an operation to improve the appearance of your nose and how you breathe. To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337.

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