The Surgeon Minute

Rhinoplasty: Part Science, Part Art

Rhinoplasty: Part Science, Part Art

A lot of people don’t like the look of their nose. According to the latest statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, rhinoplasty or nose surgery is the second most popular cosmetic procedure in this country. A surgical procedure to improve the look and/or function of the nose, a rhinoplasty surgeon needs to weigh a patient’s desires versus his or her anatomy. For this and other reasons discussed below, rhinoplasty is “one of the most difficult procedures that we do,” according to Dr. Jarrod Daniel of Charlotte, NC.

by Katherine Stuart
and Jarrod Daniel, MD

Who is a Rhinoplasty Patient?

Rhinoplasty patients come from all walks of life. They can be male or female, older or younger, and any and all ethnicities. However, Dr. Daniel has found that most rhinoplasty patients are experiencing certain, “transitions in life.”  These transitions may include high school to college, college to the workforce, or a big life change such as a divorce. However, they’ve all typically been thinking about a rhinoplasty for a long time because the look of their nose makes them feel self-conscious in social situations, photos, and every time they look in the mirror.

It’s All About Proportion

Most rhinoplasty patients come in with a specific issue. For example, they may not like their profile or their tip. It’s the surgeon’s job to take into account these desires, but then to look at the patient’s nose from an aesthetic standpoint and make sure that the changes they want will be proportional to the rest of the face. It requires a balance between science and art, which makes rhinoplasty surgery so difficult.

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Your nose sits in the center of your face. Everyone notices it and it’s not something that can be covered up. To find the right proportion, your surgeon must look at the relationship between your nose and the rest of your face. Dr. Daniel likes to use 3D imaging so that his patients can see exactly what will happen when they remove the dorsal hump, for example. It’s the surgeon’s job to take away those elements that the patients don’t like while still leaving them with their own unique nose. It’s not a one size fits all approach.

It’s a Surgery of Millimeters

Rhinoplasty is a surgery where one millimeter can make a huge difference not just on the look of the nose, but also on its function. When someone has a dorsal hump, the surgeon needs to remove it slowly and carefully. Dr. Daniel will literally shave off a millimeter at a time then re-drape the skin over the bone, and assess the new proportions. He looks at the relationship between the new nose and the forehead notch as well as the tip.

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Bottom line, when a surgeon changes one thing, it affects everything else. “Rhinoplasty is a difficult procedure,” says Dr. Daniel “but one of the most satisfying procedures that we do because… we can really change the way somebody looks. We can improve their self confidence, their self esteem.”

Because of the inherent difficulties in rhinoplasty surgery, patients need to go to a board certified plastic surgeon who performs a lot of rhinoplasties. This is definitely a surgery where practice makes perfect.

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