What You Need to Know About Rhinoplasty After Nasal Trauma

Many people assume that rhinoplasty is solely a cosmetic surgery, one that is never performed for strictly medical reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially considering how many rhinoplasty patients seek the surgery in order to improve their breathing and nasal function. Another medical need often requires patients to have rhinoplasty performed: damage to the nose. When a nasal trauma occurs, both functional and cosmetic damage can be sustained, making breathing difficult or leaving behind potential complications for the future. A broken nose is a serious issue that can be corrected with prompt medical attention and, subsequently, the skilled hand of an aesthetic facial plastic surgeon.

Types of Nasal Trauma

Every nose is different; therefore, every nasal injury is also unique. Any trauma to the nose can create breakage, strange sensations, and other damaging effects. Every case of nasal trauma, just like every case of rhinoplasty, must be handled on an individual basis and focused on the patient’s unique needs. There are many forms of nasal injury which may include:

  • A broken nose. Typically, this is a condition that involves a break in the bones and/or cartilage of the nose. Patients who experience a broken nose often suffer from immediate pain, swelling, and severe bruising widespread around the nasal area. Broken noses that are left untreated tend to heal crookedly or with a hump or bump along the bridge.
  • A blocked or restricted airway. When a broken nose causes further problems, blockages can often result. Nasal damage that affects the deep interior of the nose can lead to breathing issues, sinus troubles, and some forms of sleep apnea that can affect slumber patterns and your overall health.
  • Compound damage from repeated injury. Many athletes or victims of repeated abuse may suffer from multiple nasal breakages that can build upon one another over time. Without treatment, broken nose after broken nose will only multiply the level of trauma to this delicate area.
  • The formation of blood clots. When the nose sustains trauma, there is typically a lot of blood involved. Some injuries can encourage the formation of a blood clot, which can create further damage if left untreated. If this blood clot settles into the septum—a flap of cartilage that separates the airways of the nose—the results can be devastating. Untreated, the clot can deteriorate the cartilage and cause a collapse. This deformity is commonly called “saddle nose.”

These types of damage seem gruesome and unpleasant, but many of the complications they cause can be halted with proper medical care. If you suffer damage to your nose, it’s essential that you seek immediate care from a medical professional and then schedule a consultation with a rhinoplasty specialist. You could minimize the long-term effects your nasal injury could have by taking quick action to resolve the problem.

Why Bother to Repair Nasal Damage?

Many patients make the mistake of assuming that, since a broken nose will eventually heal itself, there’s no need to seek medical attention. If you applied the same logic to a broken foot or a broken wrist, you’d have more obvious problems right from the start. Sure, those bones will heal themselves as well, but your foot and wrist won’t be able to do their jobs properly and it’s obvious every time you try to walk or lift a pen to write. While nasal injuries aren’t as obvious, a broken nose can’t do its job properly either and needs medical care to heal properly.

The potential crookedness is one reason to seek out a rhinoplasty consultation after nasal trauma, but cosmetic problems aren’t the only possible issue. Deep internal damage can lead to problems with your breathing for years down the line. A blood clot that goes undetected could collapse the nose entirely. Bumps, humps, and other deformities could lead to years of teasing and problems with your self-esteem in the long run. Serious infections can result from untreated complications of trauma. Taking action now can alleviate many potential stresses from your future. Rhinoplasty surgery can not only return your nose to much the same way it was before your injury on the outside, but also on the inside too.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Rhinoplasty?

If you’re considering rhinoplasty surgery to repair nasal damage, you should first have suffered from some form of trauma to the nose. Rhinoplasty performed within a few weeks of your injury can provide the best chances of a full restoration to your former nose. However, many long-term injuries can still be corrected through rhinoplasty surgery, so it is worthwhile to consult with a facial plastic surgeon. Many patients are happy with the successful results they can achieve.

To be a good candidate for any rhinoplasty surgery, you should be in good overall health and not smoke, as nicotine and tobacco can delay the healing process after surgery and lead to other complications. Furthermore, you should have a good understanding of the results that rhinoplasty can provide you after your nasal trauma. Talk with your facial plastic surgeon about whether you would like to restore your nose to the way it once was or make some improvements. Through consultation, and perhaps old photos of your pre-injury nose, you can design the right rhinoplasty procedure for you.

What Is Rhinoplasty Like?

Rhinoplasty is a nasal surgery that was designed to improve the appearance of the nose while preserving or improving its function. When a nasal injury occurs, rhinoplasty becomes a restoration effort, to help the patient reverse the effects of that trauma. The scope of your surgery will depend on what type of damage is involved, but the procedure will typically last one to two hours and be performed under general anesthesia. Your incisions may be placed inside the nostrils (closed rhinoplasty) or just beneath the tip of the nose between the nostrils (open rhinoplasty). Again, the specifics of your surgery will largely depend upon the amount of damage and where it is located within the nasal structure.

During your rhinoplasty surgery, your surgeon will likely need to life the skin of your nose to access the bones and cartilage underneath. These will be reshaped as closely to your old structure as possible or into the new, desired shape discussed in your rhinoplasty consultation. Once your facial plastic surgeon has complicated the necessary changes, the skin is replaced and the incisions are closed.

What Is Recovery Like After a Rhinoplasty?

Once your procedure is complete, it’s up to you to care for your nose and allow it to heal from surgery. You will likely be sent home with a splint and structural supports in place around your nose, which will help to set the form of the cartilage and bones. These supports will also protect it from harm as you rest, relax, and give yourself the time to recuperate. Most rhinoplasty patients experience some level of pain and discomfort within the first few days up to a week. These symptoms can be managed with pain medication your surgeon will prescribe. In addition, you may be asked to care for yourself with antibiotics, a saline nasal spray, bandage changes, and more. Follow the instructions of your facial plastic surgeon carefully to ensure proper and complete healing.

Where Can I Find the Right Facial Plastic Surgeon?

Rhinoplasty can help you to restore your nose in form and function after a nasal trauma. Let Dr. Sheldon S. Kabaker to guide you through the transplant process. As an Aesthetic Facial Plastic Surgeon and Hair Transplant Specialist, he also offers nonsurgical skincare treatments at his practice. He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1964, before serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and seeing active duty in Vietnam. Dr. Kabaker has studied and taught facial plastic surgery internationally in countries including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Argentina, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Today, he continues to educate himself while delivering superior results to his patients. To book a consultation with Dr. Kabaker, contact his office located at 3324 Webster Street in Oakland, California by calling (415) 379-9015.

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