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Is your honker hampering your happiness? Rhinoplasty, also known as a nose job, is an operation that can be performed to re-shape your schnoz and leave you with that nose you’ve always dreamed of. Although it can also be undertaken to correct breathing problems, it’s one of the most widespread forms of cosmetic surgery and has been used to transform noses all over the world.

How it works

Rhinoplasty doesn’t just refer to decreasing the size of your nose as it can also be used to bulk it up too. Even the nostrils, tip and bridge can be altered, as can the angle between the nose and upper lip, so if your conk really is a corker, there’s every opportunity for you to re-model your nose so it’s the most aesthetically pleasing pointer in the land.

Chances are, if you’re considering going under the knife you’ll be able to list the reasons why in your sleep, but make sure that you’ve voiced absolutely all of your nose likes and dislikes to your surgeon as this will determine what procedure is possible and what you can expect from the surgery. Your surgeon will then go over all the ins and outs of your op and you’ll be expected to undergo a full medical examination to make sure your body is in top-notch condition.

On makeover day, you’ll be asked to sign a consent form to make sure you understand the procedure and have given your permission for it to go ahead, but this is nothing more than protocol so don’t let it give you the heebie jeebies. Your nose will then be examined, photographed and its shape and size measured so when you come round you can witness the full extent of your before and after results - it’s like your very own Extreme Makeover show.

Nose jobs can be performed under local or general anaesthetic, although the latter is the preferred option. Once the sedative kicks in, the surgeon will make tiny incisions inside your nostrils and begin to separate the tissues from the nose structure, making it easier to reshape and remove excess bone and cartilage. Because none of the skin over or around your nose is touched, there will be no visible scarring and thanks to the skin’s elasticity, it will simply shrink down to your new nose shape. The only scarring you may acquire is if your nostrils need to be reduced to fit in with your smaller, but perfectly formed facial feature.

If you’re going large, the procedure is relatively similar but instead of removing cartilage and bone, more will be added. The bone is usually taken from your hip, ribs, back of your elbow or surface of your skull whilst the cartilage used will be from your ear or elsewhere inside the nose, none of which will be noticeably missed from the donor site.

The operation normally takes up to two hours to perform and at the end of the procedure a splint will be put on the outside of the nose which will need to stay there for a week. Having a rhinoplasty procedure generally means staying in hospital for one or two nights but it’s not unheard of for patients to leave on the same day as surprisingly, the op isn’t described as being particularly painful, despite the graphic details. Painful or not, for the first couple of weeks afterwards you’ll look like you’ve been in the middle of a pretty heavy punch up and will be sporting shiners on your cheeks and nose as well as two black eyes, so it’s up to you whether you want to construct an elaborate story of heroism.

The main recovery period is usually limited to two weeks as by then the dissolvable stitches inside your nostrils will have vanished, the external cast will have been removed and any internal structuring or soft plastic you had inserted to prevent scar tissue from forming will have been taken away. The swelling should also have started to go down, and the major bruising will have begun to disappear. For a few days after surgery, there may be some slight bleeding and discomfort but you will be put on a course of antibiotics to keep side effects to a minimum.

Is it for me?

If you feel like your nose has been holding you back, a rhinoplasty may be the answer to years of staring unhappily into a mirror wishing your nose looked more like your next door neighbour's, but even with a serious case of nose envy, you can’t have the op until you’re over 16 when your features have stopped developing.

No matter how desperate you are for your new nose, if you’re suffering with a cough, cold or sore throat at the time of your operation, speak up as it can increase the risk of infection afterwards.

Good to know

Rhinoplasty is made up of two Greek words – 'rhinos' meaning nose and 'plassein' meaning shape, however it was first developed in ancient India around 500BC to reconstruct noses that were amputated as punishment for crimes.

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