You’re considering rhinoplasty to make your nose smaller or to change its overall shape. But you’ve heard some stories or seen some results that make you concerned. While no surgical procedure is ever 100 percent risk-free, there are a number of ways you can make sure your rhinoplasty will be a safe surgery.
Choose Your Surgeon with Care
One of the variables that plays the biggest role in determining how safe your surgery will be, how smoothly it will go, and how well it will turn out is the surgeon with whom you decide to work. There aren’t any laws governing what surgeons can claim to perform rhinoplasty or other facial plastic surgeries, but there are a number of guidelines you can look at to help you see if the surgeon you’re thinking of working with will be a safe bet.
One thing to look for is board certification. Most qualified facial plastic surgeons who perform rhinoplasty are double board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Those certifications mean that the surgeon has completed a set number of years of post-medical school training not only in learning about the nose but also extra training in facial surgery and that he/she has passed a number of challenging examinations.
Another thing to look for is provable experience performing rhinoplasty. Some surgeons focus on other facial surgeries, for example, and might not be the best option if you are thinking about rhinoplasty, and not only for safety reasons. A surgeon who doesn’t have much experience with nasal surgery or who isn’t performing it often, at least several times a week, might not be able to produce the results you are had hoped for.
Check Out the Location
The location where your rhinoplasty will be performed is another important consideration when it comes to safety. Your surgery doesn’t have to take place at a hospital, but can be scheduled for a surgical center. Many top surgeons perform their rhinoplasty surgeries in their own accredited operating suites in their office, which helps assure not only a safe but also a private experience. To be accredited, a surgical center needs to have a board certified anesthesiologist or certified nurse anesthetist to give you the anesthesia. It needs to have a full staff of nurses and technicians and a surgeon who has been board certified.
Make Sure Your Health is in Good Shape
How healthy you are is another variable that plays a big part when it comes to the safety of your surgery. You’ll want to discuss any past or current health or medical issues you have with the surgeon during your first consultation. A surgeon might recommend postponing the rhinoplasty until a later date if you have certain medical problems that can increase your risk for bleeding, infection or poor wound healing, or might recommend waiting until you’ve stopped taking certain medications.
Some habits can make the surgery less safe, too, such as smoking. It’s in your best interest to be honest with your surgeon about your smoking habits, if you have any. The standard recommendation is to quit smoking or using any type of product that contains nicotine at least two weeks before surgery and to continue to abstain from using those products for at least another two weeks after surgery. Nicotine decreases your blood flow, as it constricts your blood vessels. The reduced blood flow can make scarring worse or interfere with the nose’s ability to heal. This is particularly true when having revision rhinoplasty.
Understand What the Surgery Involves
For the sake of your safety, you want to be sure you understand what is involved in the procedure, what you’ll need to do to prepare, and what you’ll need to do afterwards to help your recovery along. You don’t want to accidentally take a medication that can interfere with the anesthesia right before your surgery, for example. You also don’t want to schedule any activities that can disrupt the healing process immediately after your surgery.
The surgeon will give you a fair sense of what’s off-limits before and after your surgery. For example, working out or any sort of vigorous, blood pressure raising activity is usually best avoided for several weeks after the procedure. You will also be asked to limit alcohol consumption right before and right after surgery, and to be cautious about sun exposure.
If you have any concerns or questions about rhinoplasty and about staying safe, double board certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is available and happy to answer them. He has practices in New York and in Miami. To schedule an appointment at the Miami practice, call 305-666-5884. For a consultation in New York City, call 212-759-3484.