According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons report, rhinoplasties—or nose reshaping—were the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in 2020 for both men and women.
Since this is a common outpatient procedure, some might expect the results to be almost immediate. However, the rhinoplasty process can take over a year from the initial consultation to complete healing.
If you’re considering a rhinoplasty in Burbank, CA, make sure you know what to expect. Here’s an in-depth look at the entire process.
The initial consultation lets you and your surgeon get to know each other. You’ll get to explain why you’re considering a rhinoplasty and what your goals are—regarding both physical appearance and breathing capabilities. And then, the surgeon will review their experience and approach to rhinoplasties.
During this first appointment, the surgeon will physically examine your nose and face before taking photos of your nose from various angles. These images will help them create an operational plan. The surgeon will likely also use them to show you a digital representation of what your nose could look like pre- versus post-surgery.
Aside from showing you the physical results, the surgeon will review different surgical options and treatment plans while providing realistic expectations about the process. You should also take this time to express any questions or concerns about the procedure and outcomes.
Since a rhinoplasty is a significant undertaking, consider scheduling an initial consultation with a few different plastic surgeons. That way, you can compare surgeons and operative approaches.
Once you’ve chosen a plastic surgeon you feel comfortable with, you’ll move on to pre-surgical preparation. The surgeon will likely have discussed some of your medical history during that first meeting. However, they will still perform medical assessments and pre-operative tests to ensure that you’re a suitable candidate for the upcoming surgery.
One of the most routine exams is a blood test, which will check things like your blood clotting abilities and hemoglobin levels. This test will also check whether female patients are pregnant.
Depending on your medical history and current health status, your surgeon may request other tests to see how your body will handle the anesthesia and overall procedure. For example, some common pre-op tests include an electrocardiogram (ECG) and chest X-rays.
Your surgeon will also discuss your current lifestyle and medications to determine if any changes need to be made. For example, if you regularly smoke or drink, your surgeon will explain the importance of eliminating nicotine and alcohol from your system in the weeks leading up to the surgery.
Likewise, your surgeon will suggest any medication adjustments to ensure nothing interferes with the procedure. They’ll likely recommend no aspirin or ibuprofen since they can result in excessive bleeding during the rhinoplasty.
Along with these preparative steps, your doctor will review the surgical plan with you to finalize any details. This will help you mentally prepare for the upcoming procedure.
Scheduling the Surgery
If your pre-operative tests look good, your surgeon will schedule the rhinoplasty. While the plastic surgeon’s office will try to accommodate your preferred timeline, keep in mind that many other factors affect the scheduling process.
For example, the surgeon may have a full schedule for a couple of weeks— or even months. And even when there is an opening, the surgeon has to coordinate with the anesthesia team and ensure the surgical facility is available.
Even if you’re anxious to get your rhinoplasty, ensure you understand the potential wait times as everyone coordinates their schedules.
Your surgeon may also schedule your surgery several weeks out to allow time for additional appointments. These pre-surgical visits give you and your surgeon time to finalize the surgical plan and discuss any lingering questions or concerns.
The surgeon will also cover any pre-op instructions. In addition to any lifestyle and medication changes, your doctor will explain fasting and hygiene routines. Standard procedures require at least eight hours of fasting before the surgery.
Regarding hygiene, you should shower the night before to help remove any bacteria and then avoid any facial products or lotions. Your doctor might also recommend you refrain from shaving two or three days before the operation since it can cause microscopic wounds and affect the healing process.
And finally, your doctor will ask you to complete any necessary paperwork and consent forms during these pre-surgical appointments.
Day of Surgery
Finally, the long-awaiting day has arrived. When you arrive at the healthcare facility, you’ll go through a standard admissions process and sign any pending forms. Then you’ll be taken to your room and prepped for the procedure, which might include taking your blood pressure. If you have any last concerns, the medical team will address them at this time.
The staff will then administer the type of anesthesia you and your surgeon agreed upon in previous appointments. The common options include intravenous, local, or general anesthesia. You’ll then drift off to sleep as your team monitors the anesthesia and begins the rhinoplasty.
Depending on the procedure’s complexity, you’ll wake up in about 1.5-3 hours.
After your rhinoplasty in Burbank, CA, you’ll rest a few hours in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) until you feel well enough to go home. During this time, your surgeon and the medical team will monitor your vital signs and check for any pressing concerns.
Once you are cleared to leave, your doctor will provide you with a list of post-operative instructions for the coming weeks. These generally include guidelines about getting enough rest (especially during the first 48 hours), avoiding strenuous activities, and watching for any signs of infection.
Ensure you have someone to pick you up after your rhinoplasty since you’ll likely feel grogginess. You should also consider getting your friends and family to help you with any child, pet, or home care during the first week or two so you can focus on your health.
Follow-Up Visits and Healing Process
The first few days following a rhinoplasty can be uncomfortable, especially with facial swelling and bruising. You probably won’t be able to breathe through your nose for a few days, which can be a big adjustment.
Another thing to remember is to limit your physical activity. You don’t want to bend over or pick up anything during those crucial first few days. Your surgeon will follow up with you at least once during the first week to monitor your healing process and check your incisions.
By the end of the first week, your surgeon will probably remove your sprint and let you return to normal, non-strenuous activities. You might even be able to return to work after the first week. However, some patients might need a full two weeks to recover, especially if they are older.
The most important thing is to attend your follow-up visits so your surgeon can monitor your healing process and check for any complications.
Long-Term Healing and Final Results
While you probably want immediate results from your rhinoplasty, it often takes months to see the full effect. In fact, it can take over a year for all the nasal swelling to go down and the scar to fade.
You should still attend follow-up visits, although they are much less frequent after the first few weeks. Your surgeon will want to monitor the scar tissue and evaluate the outcome for about a year post-operation.
Remember, each person’s healing process is unique. Some deal with uneven swelling during the months following a rhinoplasty (which is completely normal), while others still have some numbness for several months. Just attend your follow-up appointments to ensure you are healing well.
Additional Revisions or Touch-Ups
Revision procedures will likely be unnecessary if you choose an experienced plastic surgeon. However, you might want a touch-up to get more dramatic results or further improve functionality. Either way, talk with your surgeon about the additional procedures.
If you had a botched rhinoplasty, look for a new—and experienced—surgeon to handle the revisions. Keep in mind that there can be added risks with multiple procedures since the surgeon is working around previous scar tissue and changes to the bone.
That said, revision rhinoplasties are quite common, and you can undergo various touch-ups to get the perfect outcome.
From consultation to final results, getting your nose reshaped can take over a year. However, the procedure is fairly quick, and you typically go home the same day. The recovery process also involves little pain, although there is some discomfort involved.
And remember, the results won’t be immediate. Rhinoplasty procedures take time to fully heal, so it’s important to start the process with an open mind—and a bit of patience.