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Your guide to rhinoplasty

Team of surgeons operating

The outcome of nose-shaping surgery, also known as rhinoplasty, may not have produced the results you anticipated. A patient’s aims and requirements for reshaping may not always be clearly understood in every case.

Your surgeon should have asked you about your expectations and carefully explained the risks and limitations of the selected procedure from the outset.

Following a nose-shaping operation, it could take weeks or even months for swelling and bruising to completely disappear. After a period of time you may begin to feel that “something is not right” if you continue to experience:

  • Persistent swelling
  • An uneven appearance
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of sense of taste and smell 

The symptoms may indicate complications, such as:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Cartilage damage
  • Tissue deformity
  • Nerve injury

The majority of procedures allow the structure of the nose to “settle down” over a period of up to a year from the slightly odd shape, which may be seen immediately after surgery.

The consequences of cosmetic injuries can leave both permanent physical and psychological scars. When nose reshaping appears to have gone wrong, you may require a second procedure to make adjustments. Further surgery can cause more unnecessary damage.

The long term consequences of failed or poor cosmetic work can also have a considerable impact upon the quality of life and social interaction.

Your Legal Friend has many  years clinical negligence experience in helping clients who have suffered disfiguring injuries caused by nose-reshaping surgery. We can help you obtain justice and compensation to ensure the financial needs of further remedial treatment, support and any counselling will be fully met.

Nose-Reshaping Numbers...

  • 2nd most popular cosmetic surgery for men in 2014 (following eyelid surgery).
  • Nearly 1 in five (17 per cent) of all cosmetic surgeries for men in 2014.
  • 1,037 procedures carried out on men in 2013, up 9 per cent on 2012.
  • 5th most popular cosmetic surgery for men and women, 2013.
  • 3,841 procedures carried out on women in 2013, up by 19 per cent on 2012.

(British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) 

What is Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty is a surgical operation to reshape the nose.

The procedure normally involves separating the soft tissue on top of the nose from the bone and cartilage underneath.

In some types of rhinoplasty the nose bone will be broken and repositioned or the cartilage is reshaped.

The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and usually takes between one and three hours to complete. You may be required to stay in hospital for one or two nights.

A protective splint may also be needed to be worn over your nose for at least one week.

Your surgeon will advise about removing stitches outside the nose. Any stitches inside the nose are likely to be of the dissolvable type.

Types of nose-reshaping 

There are different types of rhinoplasty or nose reshaping operations available and the exact procedure will depend on your aim for undergoing the treatment.

There are two types of nose shaping:

  • Reduction rhinoplasty – to make your nose smaller.
  • Augmentation rhinoplasty - to make your nose larger.

The two main techniques used are:

  • Open – used in Reduction rhinoplasty – where some or all of the cuts are made outside the nose.

A cut is made inside the nostrils to reach the bone and cartilage, some of which will be removed or rearranged to achieve the desired shape. The skin over the nose remains untouched and will shrink down to its new shape. The nostrils may also be made smaller to keep the patient’s features in proportion.

  • Closed – used in  Augmentation rhinoplasty – where all the cuts are made inside the nose.

A cut is made inside or between the nostrils to access the bone and cartilage for reshaping. Extra bone or cartilage to build up the nose may be taken from the patient’s ears or ribs, and bone from the back of the elbow, skull or hip bone. In some cases artificial implants are used instead.

What is normally expected after the operation...

It is normal and reasonable to some minor bleeding from your nose for the first day or two after  the operation.

An altered sense of smell or taste may also be experienced for a short time.

Other common conditions include:

  • Bruising and swelling - particularly around the eyes, which can take up to three weeks to completely disappear.
  • Difficulty with breathing - through the nose during the first week after the operation, which disappears as the swelling settles down.
  • Numbness and stiffness - particularly around the tip of the nose may be felt for several months.

Open Reduction rhinoplasty – significant swelling and longer recovery time of around three months or more.

Closed Augmentation rhinoplasty - no external scarring and usually takes about two weeks to settle down.

  • Where the nose bone was surgically broken:

          - noticeable bruising around the eyes for about seven-to-ten days.

          - yellowing around the eyes for 10-20 days.

  • Surgery to the tip of the nose :

          - 60 per cent of the changes will still be visible after three weeks.

          - 40 per cent of the changes will settle down over several months and up to a year. 

Possible complications...

  • Heavy nose bleeding – sometimesoccurseither shortly afterwards or after a week to ten days, which may require hospital treatment.
  • Implants – where used, may protrude through the skin or become infected, which might require hospital surgery to remove.
  • Chest infection – particularly in patients who smoke. There is a small risk that infection could complicate the operation.

Still unhappy with appearance...

Once all swelling has disappeared, around one in ten patients may consider that their nose “still does not look right.” In these cases, it may be possible for a second operation to be carried out but a surgeon is likely to advise waiting for a year.

Symptoms of a more serious problem...

The nose is a delicate structure and it may take some time to properly heal and for breathing to be normal again.

When a rhinoplasty procedure appears to have gone seriously wrong,  the typical symptoms experienced may include:

  • Structural failure

- nasal collapse where the bridge of the nose sinks inwards.

  • Cartilage or tissue damage

           -  deformity at the tip of the nose

          - damage to the cartilage wall between the nostrils (septum)

           - mismatching nostrils or contour irregularities

  • Nerve injury
  • Long term or permanent loss of taste and smell
  • Infection

Your surgeon should explain the limitations... 

The desired change of appearance you expect to see from the reshaping of your nose may not be exactly understood by your surgeon.

At your first consultation, your surgeon should ask you about your expectations and carefully explain the risks and limitations of the selected procedure.

Your surgeon should tell you:

  • What is surgically possible
  • If a desired change of appearance to the nose can be realistically achieved
  • The likelihood of leaving scars.

Your surgeon also has a ‘duty of care’  to inform you if there is a possibility of serious complications, which can affect  the operation because:

  • You are a smoker
  • You are overweight
  • You have other medical conditions

How Your Legal Friend can help you..

When a cosmetic treatment goes wrong or complications arise, it is vital to immediately seek expert  legal advice.

Potential problems associated with Rhinoplasty nose-shaping procedures can be prevented if:

  • A through pre-surgery assessment had been carefully carried out by your surgeon.
  • You were given the full facts and clear advice about potential complications and the limited benefits of a treatment or surgery.

As experienced clinical negligence specialists, we know you will be feeling devastated that your procedure has not gone to your desire or reasonable expectation.

Our task is to ensure your case is made in order to bring the surgeon to account for why things went wrong and the harm and suffering caused.

Your Legal Friend is committed to ensuring victims of clinical negligence:

  • Obtain answers
  • Receive justice
  • Awarded compensation
  • Provided with appropriate medical treatment, support and care needs