Because the nose projects from the face, it is quite frequently damaged during car crashes and other accidents. When this occurs, you will often need to undergo reconstructive surgery. Although this procedure may sometimes be called a "nose job," it is a bit different from cosmetic nose surgery in that usually, tissue needs to be added or built up rather than removed. So what do you expect before, during, and after reconstructive nose surgery? Here's a look:
Before Nasal Reconstruction
Before nasal reconstruction surgery, you can expect to have at least one meeting with your surgeon during which the two of you will discuss the procedure and expected results. They will probably show you a digitized image depicting what your nose should look like post-procedure. If you are not happy with the projected look, you can ask if it's possible to make changes. Sometimes this is possible and other times it is not; it really depends on the nature and complexity of your injuries.
You will also be given pre-surgery instructions. You may need to stop taking certain medications, and you will be asked not to eat or drink for about 12 hours before surgery since nasal reconstruction is almost always performed under general anesthesia.
You'll be unconscious during surgery. Once you are under anesthesia, your surgeon will make an incision around your nose and peel back the skin. Once the cartilage and bone that form your nose are exposed, your surgeon will work on rebuilding these tissues.
Occasionally, bone grafts may be made using cadaver bone. However, it's more common for surgeons to use body-compatible silicone to shape an implant that they attach to any remaining nasal tissue. This implant will give your nose its new shape while also serving to functionally protect the sinus cavity like a natural nose would. Your skin will be stitched back over the implant or bone graft, and the area will be fitted with a protective bandage.
Most patients return home the same day as their reconstructive nose surgery. You'll have a big bandage on your nose and you'll need to stick to eating soft foods for about a week. A few days post-surgery, you'll visit your surgeon. They'll check the progress of your healing and change the bandage. Usually, dissolvable stitches are used, so you won't have to have them removed.
You will need to be really careful around your nose for about a month, and it will be completely healed within 6 months, on average.
Now you have a better idea of what to expect with nasal reconstruction surgery. Every patient is a bit different, so don't hesitate to ask your surgeon for more specifics related to your case.