The nose is the central feature of the face, many people are self-conscious of shape, which they may regard as too big, too small or have some other feature, which they dislike. Developments continues until the age of 16, when the nose stops growing. It is, therefore, unwise to operate before this age.

While surgical techniques are advanced, there are limitations as to how much the nose can be altered. Outcomes depend on the size of the nose, the condition of the skin and the age of the patient. The most important thing is that there is clear communication between a patient and a surgeon about what is wanted and what is achievable. Patients should also bear in mind that surgery alone would not solve any emotional or social problems they may attribute to their nose or to their appearance generally.

What surgery is available, and what techniques are involved?

A nose reshaping operation is either performed from inside the nostrils – this is referred to as a closed rhinoplasty; or else by making a small cut on the nose and elevating the skin – known as an open rhinoplasty.

The precise nature of the operation will vary depending on the area of the nose that is being treated.

What should I expect in terms of treatment, procedures and outcomes?

There is always some bruising and swelling, particularly around the eyes, which can take up to two weeks to completely disappear, you will need to wear a firm splint over your nose for part of this time. By the end of two weeks, swelling will have settled sufficiently for you to look normal to others. Your nose will also feel rather numb and stiff for several months, particularly around the tip.

What are the risks?

As with all operations, there are risks involved. Minor bleeding is common while heavy bleeding is very rare but can be severe. Some patients experience pain for a number of weeks. Slight irregularity in the bone or cartilage may be felt or occasionally seen. Some patients will be dissatisfied with the outcome of a nose reshaping operation. Usually it is best to accept what improvement has been achieved and not opt for a further operation. However, it is sometimes reasonable to consider a further slight adjustment.

For people who return for additional surgery, there is also a risk that the structural scaffolding of the nose could collapse. The nose is a delicate structure, and too much surgery can weaken and damage it.