If things don’t quite turn out the way you had wanted them to after your rhinoplasty, there is always the option for a second procedure, known as revision rhinoplasty. You might also consider revision rhinoplasty if something happens to your nose after the initial surgery, such as an injury. If you are wondering if a second rhinoplasty is in the cards for you, or if it is something you should consider, it can be helpful to get the full story about the procedure first. There are a few things you might not know about revision rhinoplasty.
Revision Surgery Isn’t Always Required
One common misconception about revision rhinoplasty is that it’s a procedure everyone will need. There’s often a belief that a surgeon will need to make small surgical adjustments with an additional surgery or that he’ll want to correct small problems after the first procedure. In the best case scenario, though, you’ll be completely happy with your changed nose after the first surgery and the results from that surgery will last a significant amount of time, if not for the rest of your life, meaning that you won’t need an additional surgery down the road.
The Revision Procedure is Different From a Primary Rhinoplasty
Rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty aren’t identical procedures. In fact, it’s been said that revision rhinoplasty is considered more challenging than rhinoplasty, which itself is considered one of the challenging plastic surgery procedures. Performing a revision isn’t simply a matter of retracing the first surgeon’s steps. During the surgery, the doctor needs to work around the already altered nasal tissue and needs to work with any scar tissue that has developed.
The surgeon might be unaware of the changes in nasal structure, too, especially if he wasn’t the doctor who performed the initial surgery. Usually, a revision procedure takes longer than a primary rhinoplasty because of the number of additional factors a surgeon needs to work with or around, which frequently involves the restoration of the normal supporting structures of the nose including adding cartilage.
You Don’t Always Have to Go to a Different Surgeon
Usually, when people start to think about a revision surgery, one of the first questions they need to answer is "who will perform the surgery?" It’s often recommended that patients seek out a different surgeon for their revision procedure, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
There are not infrequent instances when returning to your original surgeon is the best way to proceed, that is if you trust him. If you felt that the surgeon you worked with during the first surgery didn’t really listen to you, it’s best to find a new doctor to work with, one who will take your concerns seriously or willingly answer any questions you have. Even if you thought that communication went well between you and the first doctor, if you really didn’t like his handiwork or the way your nose looks in the end, it’s probably best to find a new doctor.
But, there are instances when the reason for your revision surgery is something beyond the surgeon’s control. Sometimes the nose heals in ways that are unpredictable, altering what were wonderful early results that can then be repaired with relatively minor amounts of work. Or, you might have enjoyed the results of your nasal surgery for years after the first procedure and might have had a good rapport with the surgeon. But, then you were in an automobile accident or injured playing a sport, and the injury disfigured your nose. In that case, you might prefer seeing the first surgeon, especially if you really like his work the first time.
There is one caveat to that, though. Since rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty are different, it’s important to find a surgeon who has experience with revision surgeries. Do the same amount of research picking your new surgeon as you did with the first one. Find out what his experience is performing revision surgeries, how many he performs and how often, and ask to see pictures of or to speak with past patients.
Recovery Can be Different
Just as the revision surgery is different, the recovery after it is also different from what you might expect. While some people are able to get back to work and their regular lives in the same amount of time after a revision surgery than after their first surgery, you might find that your experience is somewhat different. It can be a few more days or even a week before you feel ready to return to your regular life. Swelling might persist for a few months longer after a revision surgery, depending on the extent of the surgery and on the thickness of your skin.
It Doesn’t Happen Right Away
One of the most important things to know about a revision surgery is that you can’t schedule one immediately after your first surgery. It takes a sufficient amount of time for your nose to heal after rhinoplasty, and during that time it will be settling into its new size and shape. You might not be quite happy with the way it looks a month or even six months after surgery, but your surgeon will usually recommend waiting at least 10 months before you decide for sure whether to have a revision procedure or not.
If you are ready to explore revision rhinoplasty further, speak with a board certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty and revision procedures, such as Dr. Jeffrey Epstein. Dr. Epstein has two practices, in Miami and New York City. To schedule a consultation in Miami, call (305) 666-5884. For a consultation in New York, call (212) 759-3484.