The nose’s central location on the face is prime real estate. Besides playing an important role in our breathing, our noses can give us character, balance our features, and change with time. For these reasons, rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, has for many years sat high on the list of popular cosmetic procedures for teens and adults. Many people undergo rhinoplasty to make their noses smaller or shorter, remove a hump, or straighten out crookedness. But the surgery doesn’t exist solely to make noses less noticeable.
Here are 3 not-so-common requests that plastic surgeons around the country hear every day, as well as the techniques they use to turn their patients’ goals into reality.
“Make it bigger.”
Plenty of people are bothered by the proportions of their noses, and not just because they think they’re too big for their faces. Plastic surgeons see many patients who wish to make their noses bigger, typically in order to harmonize their other features.
There are actually a couple of different ways surgeons can enlarge an undersized nose. One technique involves the use of cartilage grafts. In this approach, a surgeon harvests cartilage from somewhere else on the body — usually the ear or rib — and adds it to the nose. Before grafting it, he or she reshapes the cartilage so that it yields a larger yet natural-looking shape.
Another option doesn’t involve surgery at all. Many surgeons now advertise “non-surgical rhinoplasty,” which uses injectable gel fillers to even the contours of the nose and add volume. Although this option doesn’t last forever, results can be touched up as needed, and it doesn’t require the cost or recovery period that come with surgery.
“Fix the tip.”
Whether it’s significantly upturned, downturned, or bulbous, the tip of the nose can mar an otherwise beautiful shape. In a procedure called “tip rhinoplasty,” a surgeon changes the curvature or size of the nose’s tip.
Although the entire nose is a complex structure, the tip is particularly intricate. During a tip rhinoplasty, the surgeon manipulates the underlying cartilage, taking care not to damage the nose’s supportive structures or the important skin that lies on top.
Because the features of a nose are complementary to one another, it’s important to pursue this type of surgery with a surgeon who has an exceptional degree of experience, such as a board-certified plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon, or even an otolaryngologist. He or she may recommend other improvements to ensure that your final result matches the rest of your face and respects your unique features.
“Narrow my nostrils.”
Very large or flared nostrils can cause some people to feel self-conscious, often complaining about a “piggish” appearance. Some doctors choose to remedy this by shortening the septum, which is the stalk of tissue that divides the nose into 2 sides. This option typically makes the nostrils less noticeable by reducing the effect of a “hanging columella,” which occurs when the septum extends farther downward than the rest of the nose.
Another option for slimmer nostrils is an alar base reduction, an uncommon technique to reduce the size of the base of the nose. This technique typically requires small, discreet incisions at the base of the nose. According to the website of Koch Plastic Surgery, a Des Moines-area facial plastic surgery practice, these types of techniques can make surgery last more than 2 hours, a bit longer than a typical rhinoplasty. But the results, which are completely customized to each patient’s exact specifications, can be life-changing.