What Are The Consequences?
There is always some bruising and swelling, particularly around the eyes, which can take up to three weeks to completely disappear and you would need to wear a firm splint over your nose during part of this time. By the end of three weeks, swelling will have settled sufficiently for you to look normal to others - as if you had not had recent surgery. Indeed, it is likely that you will be surprised by other peoples' reaction to the fact that you have a new nose. They, of course, have not been self-conscious of your nose as you have been. If you have any anxieties about family and friends noticing a change in your appearance, change your hair style at the same time and they will think that it is that which accounts for your new looks. It is worth anticipating your own reaction to the first sight of yourself and your new nose. To start with, you will look rather strange in your mirror and not quite 'you' because of your different nose. Remember that it takes a few days for your mind's eye to adjust itself to your new appearance and to recognise it as 'you'. You should also bear in mind that it takes a good three months or more for all the swelling to settle out of the nose so, if there are any minor problems of shape soon after the operation, do not worry, they will almost certainly improve with time. Your nose will also feel rather numb and stiff for several months, particularly around the tip.
What Are The Limitations?
The object of the operation is to make your nose look right for your eyes so that you lose your self-consciousness of it. It is, therefore, most important that you are clear in your mind what it is that you dislike about the appearance of your nose and that you are able to explain this to your surgeon. He or she will then be able to tell you what is surgically possible to reduce its bulky appearance as much as possible and what is not. For instance, if the skin on the tip of your nose is thick and oily, it may not be possible to reduce its bulky appearance as much as you might like because, generally speaking, it is not possible to thin the skin without leaving scars.
If you are in middle age or if you have a very large nose, there may be a limit to the amount of reduction that can be achieved to the size of your nose within the limitations of the elasticity of your skin to shrink down on the smaller frame. If your nose is bent from previous injury, it may not be possible to make it perfectly straight. Large nostrils can be difficult to reduce without cutting the skin and leaving noticeable scars.
What Are The Risks?
Like any operation that is carried out under general anaesthetic, there is a small risk of chest infection, particularly among people who smoke. There is a small risk that infection could complicate the operation. You can minimise this risk by ensuring that you are free from cough, cold or sore throat at the time of your operation and, if you have any other doubts, you should contact your surgeon. Occasionally, the operation is complicated by heavy nose bleeding either shortly afterwards or after a week to 10 days, which may require treatment in hospital.
It is quite common for there to be some difficulty with breathing through the nose during the first week after the operation which disappears as the swelling settles. Occasionally, though, the difficulty persists and can be permanent.
Sometimes (in about 10% of patients) the nose does not look right for the patient after all the swelling has settled. In these cases, it is usually possible for the surgeon to carry out a second operation to the residual problem of appearance but not until all the swelling has settled from the first operation. Most surgeons wait for a year for this to happen. Secondary surgery like this may involve additional expense.