While nose surgery is one of the more popular cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures, it is also the trickiest to get right. It has the largest number of revision surgeries out of any other plastic surgery. Rhinoplasty is an art form in itself and is important to get right not just because of aesthetic reasons but because of the functional aspect too – breathing is kind of important, right?! Dr George Marcells is considered a rhinoplasty master internationally by his colleagues and is the surgeon other surgeons go to. He helped us with this list of the ins and outs of rhinoplasty – things you should know about nose surgery.

1. Rhinoplasty is one of the oldest forms of plastic surgery

Dr George Marcells

Dr George Marcells

The first mention of any sort of nose surgery is the repair of a broken nose in an Ancient Egyptian medical text dating back to around 2,500BC. Ancient texts from Indian also describe rhinoplasty techniques from at least 800BC. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the modern day “open rhinoplasty” approach became more widely accepted and adopted as a technique which coincided with an increase in patients requesting rhinoplasty for more cosmetic reasons as opposed to functional which created quite a massive market for the rich and famous. The last 40 years have seen rhinoplasty become a widely accepted, accessible and popular surgery for the masses.

2. Balancing the function with aesthetics

Of course, we all want a cute nose that is perfectly suited to our face, however as we said above, breathing is kind of important! Rhinoplasty is one of those procedures where the slightest miscalculation by your surgeon can cause functional issues. Dr Marcells expands, “Even the slightest change in shape or structure can cause breathing problems and other functional issues. This is why rhinoplasty has very high revision rates compared to other types of cosmetic surgery. Good outcomes require a surgeon with extensive knowledge as well as wide-ranging experience, not merely qualifications.”

Functional issues can include breathing problems due to a less than satisfactory nose structure, allergies, sinus blockage, birth defects, sports or vehicle accidents or cancer.

Interesting Fact: Did you know that cocaine is the cause of many a nose collapse and cause for nose surgery? Dr Marcells tells us, “Long-term use of cocaine can weaken the structure of the nose by damaging the nasal bone and cartilage, including the nasal septum – the thin wall of cartilage separating the two sides of the nose. In the worst cases, this damage can result in nasal collapse.”

3. Cartilage and skin is often taken from other parts of the body

Cartlidge may be grafted onto the nose for reconstruction or aesthetic requirements. Parts of the body often sourced for these purposes are the ears, ribs or skin from the forehead!

4. Rhinoplasty for cosmetic reasons is NOT covered by Medicare.

However, if you have functional issues, you may be eligible for Medicare coverage. Your surgeon will be able to assess you on an individual case by case basis to determine if you are eligible.

5. Rhinoplasty is usually performed in a hospital under general anesthesia as an inpatient.

This means you get to go home on the same day (as long as you have someone to drive you!) unless your surgeon wants you to stay for monitoring overnight, or you have arranged otherwise with the hospital.

6. Rhinoplasty has one of the most physically obvious recoveries – be patient!

It is recommended you take at least two weeks off work, as during this time you will likely have bruising and bandaging on your nose. You may also experience swelling for anything up to a few months after your surgery. Dr Marcells expands, “You will most likely have a splint or cast taped to the outside of your nose, to protect it and help it heal correctly. Sometimes, depending on the type of rhinoplasty, you may find soft internal splints inside the nose that remain in place for at least a week until your nose has stablised also helps to reduce internal scarring. You also need to rest as much as possible. You should not go to work, exercise or engage in sports for two weeks.” There is a lot more to a rhinoplasty recovery – Dr Marcells has some thorough and detailed information on rhinoplasty recovery on his website.

7. Computer imaging does not guarantee your rhinoplasty outcome

Many plastic surgeons today use computer imaging to help identify what a patient wants in terms of the appearance of their nose. But be warned – a computer program can create flawless visual effects but the skill and artistry of the surgeon is ultimately what determines your results. A computer can also miss the functional issues and additional tissues inside a nose which the surgeon may have to work around. This is why it’s so important to do your research and reduce your risks by choosing a qualified, trained and experienced rhinoplasty surgeon who has the skills to adapt to any unforeseen problems and still create the aesthetic you had hoped for.

8. One size does not fit all

You may love Jessica Alba’s nose, but will it love you back? Noses are best designed around what will suit the rest of your face, and look the most natural. Eg. putting a tiny, button nose on an exotic, angular face – beautiful in it’s own right – may look extremely odd. Work with your surgeon to identify what’s going to suit YOU.

9. Open VS Closed Rhinoplasty?

Any rhinoplasty patient will either have an “open” or a “closed” rhinoplasty. Open means you will have incisions on the outside of your nose, while closed means it all happens inside your nostrils. It really depends on what you are getting done. Besides, your surgeon should go through all your options and you can weigh up what suits your situation best, along with what your surgeon recommends or prefers.

10. How much does a rhinoplasty cost?

How long is a piece of string? It really depends on what you are getting done and with which surgeon. Generally, it can range between $10,000 to $20,000.

Dr Marcells has performed hundreds of rhinoplasties and it is his most popular procedure. He says it can change a person’s life and help build their confidence. “Rhinoplasty can reshape or rebuild your nose and improve your profile. It can change the length of your nose, the width of the bridge, the position of the nostrils and the position, size and shape of the nose tip. It can improve bumps, bulbous tips, angles and noses that droop when you smile. It can also remove breathing obstructions and improve other functional issues.”

If you’d like more information on Dr George Marcells phone his clinic in Sydney on 1300 555 095.


Trish is a plastic surgery blogger. She is passionate about wellbeing, health and beauty, and doesn't mind a little bit of 'help' from the amazing cosmetic and beauty procedures that are available today. Trish spends her days talking to women and men who are looking for suggestions and advice on procedures that are available to them. Cutting through the sales pitch and hype, a down-to-earth response on general information is what you will get.

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