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An Introduction to Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is the correct technical term for cosmetic surgery which is performed upon the nose and today it (nasal surgery) is one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures carried out in America. Commonly referred to as a "nose job" Rhinoplasty is usually carried out by an Otolaryngologist or a Maxillofacial Surgeon. If the nose requires reconstruction this is often carried out by a plastic surgeon whereas purely cosmetic procedures are carried out by a cosmetic surgeon or aesthetic technician.

When most of us consider cosmetic surgery, especially nose jobs, we often find ourselves considering work done on the faces of Hollywood Stars from the 1950's onwards. This leads us to the assumption that it was during this period that cosmetic surgery was "invented". The more knowledgeable amongst us will recall the pioneering work carried out upon disfigured pilots and soldiers of WWII. However only a few of us will understand that the first Rhinoplasty, not in the West but away over in India and around 500 BC.

Rhinoplasty has, possibly, the longest history of all types of cosmetic surgery. One of the numerous punishments dealt out in India included the amputation of the nose and, obviously, anyone who suffered this indignity was keen to hide the disfigurement. This created the demand for nasal reconstructive surgery which developed over many hundreds of years. An Indian publication called "Sushruta Samhita" was written by a guy called Sushruta and in it he described a large number of medical instruments and a massive range of procedures. This has led to him being called the "father of plastic surgery". It is very interesting to note that many of the surgical procedures described have actually remained pretty much the same. In the case of Rhinoplasty he developed a procedure which involved the forehead flap technique remains almost the same in all aspects of surgery and we have yet to discover a better way in which to do it.

The simplest way in which to explain Rhinoplasty surgery is to say that it is the alteration of the structures of the nose by manipulating bone, cartilage and skin to improve the overall appearance of the nose. The procedure is rather complicated and a number of approaches are required which depends upon the problem being rectified. It is because of this complexity that there are the four types of surgeons mentioned above who specialize in very specific areas of Rhinoplasty. Even at the very early stages of a treatment it is necessary for a patient to undergo a number of consultations prior to surgery. Sometimes it is possible to include another medical procedure (such as the repair a deviated septum) during Rhinoplasty and the suitability of the patient for such a procedure is assessed at the consultation stage.

Amazingly most rhinoplastic surgeries do not require any external incisions this means that many simpler procedures are able to be carried out on an outpatient basis (ie done in one day and able to return home almost immediately). There is, nearly always, a considerable amount of swelling and the fact that an external splint is used to protect he nose makes it look far more dramatic than it really is. In most cases the splint is removed after around a week (after which time the swelling is usually drastically reduced). However, if there has been extensive reconstruction it is still common to have "nose packing" and a splint to ensure that the form of the nose is retained and that it heals correctly.

The most common procedures are to correct the appearance of the nose such as reducing the size of a nose (or increasing the size of one considered too small), straightening of a crooked nose and the removal of unwanted or unsightly humps and bumps and other, generally aesthetic problems. Other treatments include procedures to correct birth defects and several other deformities.

Whereas such cosmetic surgery was once only within the reaches of the rich and famous (such as the infamous Michael Jackson who would appear to have had too much surgery on his nose) today the costs have been reduced to such a level that many more people are able to benefit from the wonders of Rhinoplasty.

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