You spent months reading about what a rhinoplasty (nose job) could correct and what to expect throughout the process from start to finish. You even read a bit about how rhinoplasty revisions could become necessary, but since they seemed so rare, you filed that information away without a second thought.
If you were one of the patients who was unfortunate enough to have a rhinoplasty performed that wasn’t to your expectations or desires, then you may now be trying to recall everything you read about that revision procedure. While it’s not an ideal situation, there is some comforting news: rhinoplasty revisions are probably more common than you might have thought.
Before you can understand revision rhinoplasties, it’s essential to realize that, while rhinoplasties (surgical procedures designed to fix undesired nose shapes) are based in medical science, they are also an art form. Every nose, anatomy and healing process is different, so it is impossible for a surgeon to predict precisely how your nose will heal after the surgery. They have to take their experience and training and apply it the best they can to your unique condition, and, sometimes, your anatomy might behave uniquely to anyone else’s.
That’s not to say that botched rhinoplasties don’t happen — in fact, when you go to physicians or medical professionals who are not adequately trained or educated, having less-than-perfect results is much more commonplace and often leads to necessary revision from someone more qualified.
But what does getting revision rhinoplasty mean? It’s exactly as the name implies. When you find yourself with lackluster rhinoplasty results that did not achieve the aesthetic you set out for, revision rhinoplasty is the go-to solution for this problem.
The procedure itself is very similar to a standard nose job: a surgeon will make incisions on or inside of your nose to allow access to the underlying structure and then alter the cartilage to produce a more desirable appearance. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia only.
If minor adjustments are needed, your surgeon will take a closed approach to the procedure. This means that the incisions will be made inside the nostrils to avoid any noticeable scarring. Since this method allows limited access to the nasal structure, it cannot be used when more significant changes are needed. In those cases, an open approach, where the incisions are made along the columella (skin between the nostrils) as well as the side of the nose, will be used.
Luckily, since revision usually only requires micro-adjustments, the more conservative closed approach can usually be taken.
A 2013 study in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal followed 369 rhinoplasty patients and recorded their level of satisfaction and revision rates. They found that 15.4% of these patients were dissatisfied with the final results of their rhinoplasty. Of the 369, 9.8% decided to have revision surgery.
That is close to one out of every 10 rhinoplasty patients. While it isn’t a majority, it’s safe to say that rhinoplasty procedures are fairly common. This number hasn’t stagnated in the last seven years. In 2018 and 2019, more than 200,000 nose jobs were performed each year, according to a report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. And with no reliable nonsurgical alternatives, it isn’t likely that they will see a substantial decline any time soon.
Many physicians attribute the frequency of revisions to the complex nature of the rhinoplasty procedure. Because the nose is made from mostly soft tissue and cartilage, it is hard to fully predict that tissue’s behavior during recovery. The nose is also a focal point of the face, which means even the most subtle imperfections can substantially impact the overall aesthetic of your appearance.
Unfortunately, the success rate of revision rhinoplasty surgery is too dependent on a variety of factors to give a realistic estimate. Rather than focusing on how many people are happy with their revision results, focus instead on the factors that will cause you to be satisfied with the procedure.
One of the most impactful factors is your own attitude toward the revision procedure. Naturally, having one nasal surgery come up short is likely to dampen your demeanor when it comes to having another one performed. This means you will likely be focusing on even the most minor and unnoticeable flaws of the revision results.
Being keen to avoid overly negative emotions will mean that you are much less prone to being unjustifiably disappointed. With that being said, it is perfectly reasonable to maintain high expectations for your surgeon and your results, especially since another factor within your control is the physician you choose to handle your revision surgery.
You should always be looking for a revision rhinoplasty specialist, like Dr. John Freeman, who is thoroughly knowledgeable and experienced in surgical nasal procedures. By going with an expert, you are more likely to have your surgery performed by someone who has seen similar nasal structures to your own. After all, as previously mentioned, aesthetic surgery is equal parts art and science. And the more you paint, the better you are with a brush.
If you are not elated or even satisfied with your rhinoplasty results and have realistic expectations about what can be achieved, you should absolutely consider revision rhinoplasty. It offers a unique second chance at capturing the appearance you desire.
But one of the biggest mistakes that patients make is fretting about the results of their rhinoplasty too early in the process. Just because most of the swelling and bruising has subsided does not mean that the final results have formed. It can take much longer for the final results to set in — sometimes as long as 18 months.
If you are mostly unhappy with a substantial amount of the reshaping that has taken place, it might be fair to start looking into revision surgeries sooner. But if you have small issues with minor aspects, it might be prudent to give it more time for the final results to settle.
And remember, if you are going to have a revision rhinoplasty, make sure you see an expert in the field.
If you’ve gone through the initial rhinoplasty recovery process, then you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from a revision rhinoplasty recovery. The procedures are very similar, as is the healing and downtime, symptoms and results time frame.
It may be frustrating to remain patient during this time, but remember that the light at the end of the tunnel is finally achieving the appearance you have always wanted. Take the time you need to recover properly, and you will be rewarded with the best results possible.
We know what a hindrance an unwanted nasal appearance can be to having healthy self-confidence, so we want to be there for you during your time of need. Give our office a call at 281-599-9445 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Dr. Freeman is looking forward to being your partner through the entire revision rhinoplasty process.