Rhinoplasty: A Popular and Complex Facial Plastic Surgery

Rhinoplasty, also known as a nose job, is a surgical procedure that alters the shape and function of the nose. It is one of the most common and complex facial plastic surgeries in the world.

Reasons for Rhinoplasty

People may choose to undergo rhinoplasty for various reasons, such as:

  • Improve the appearance of the nose and facial harmony
  • To correct breathing problems caused by structural defects or injuries
  • Repair damage from trauma, infection, or cancer
  • To revise a previous rhinoplasty that was unsatisfactory

Statistics of Rhinoplasty

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that rhinoplasty was the third most-performed plastic surgery in the United States in 2020, with 207,284 procedures. This was a 2% decrease from 2019, possibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reported that rhinoplasty was the most popular surgical procedure among its members in 2021, with an estimated 1.4 million procedures.  Factors such as more time and flexibility to recover at home, the “ZOOM Effect” of seeing one’s face on video calls, and more disposable income from staying in drove a 40% increase from 2020.

Rhinoplasty is also popular worldwide. A review article by StatPearls reported that more than 200,000 rhinoplasties were performed in the United States in 2018, making it the third most conducted plastic surgery in the country. The same article reported that rhinoplasty was the most common cosmetic surgery in Iran, with more than 80,000 procedures per year.

Risks and Complications of Rhinoplasty

The intricate anatomy and function of the nose, as well as the variability and subjectivity of aesthetic preferences, make rhinoplasty one of the most complex and challenging plastic surgeries. Therefore, it carries some risks and potential complications, such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Anaesthesia complications
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Asymmetry
  • Scarring
  • Skin necrosis
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Dissatisfaction with the cosmetic outcome
  • Need for revision surgery

Techniques of Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty can be performed using different techniques depending on the goals and anatomy of each patient. The main techniques are:

  • Closed rhinoplasty: This technique involves making incisions inside the nostrils only, so there is no visible scar. The surgeon then lifts the skin and reshapes the bone and cartilage underneath. This technique is suitable for minor or moderate changes and has less swelling and faster recovery than open rhinoplasty.
  • Open rhinoplasty: This technique involves making an incision across the columella (the tissue between the nostrils) as well as inside the nostrils. The surgeon then lifts the skin and exposes the entire nasal structure. This technique allows more access and visibility for complex or extensive changes and revisions. However, it also leaves a small scar on the columella and may have more swelling and longer recovery than closed rhinoplasty.
  • Tip plasty: This technique focuses on reshaping only the tip of the nose without affecting the rest of the nasal structure. It can be done using either a closed or open approach depending on the degree of correction needed. Tip plasty can improve the projection, rotation, width, symmetry, and definition of the nasal tip.


Rhinoplasty is a popular and complex facial plastic surgery that can improve the appearance and function of the nose. However, you should also discuss some risks and complications with a qualified surgeon before you decide to undergo the procedure. Additionally, each patient’s needs and goals can determine the different techniques of rhinoplasty that are suitable for them.

By Raymond

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