Nose Surgery

At Buckhead Plastic Surgery, Atlanta

Rhinoplasty does more than alter the appearance of your nose. Rhinoplasty can transform your appearance, because even a small change made to your nose can result in a large improvement in your overall facial balance.

The most prominent facial feature is your nose, so a nose that is out of proportion or unbalanced can seriously impact your self-image and self-esteem. This procedure, therefore, can add a big boost to your self-esteem.

Choosing a Surgeon For Your Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty for cosmetic or health-related issues should only be performed by a board certified plastic surgeon or a board certified otolaryngologist with additional credentials in facial plastic surgery. A potential patient should make it a point to find out how often your doctor performs cosmetic rhinoplasty. The most crucial part of the entire consultation is critically looking at the before and after photographs of actual patients and ask specifically about each individual's results.

Look at the small details:

  • the size of the tip
  • how straight the dorsum is (is it scooped out or is there still a hump? Has too much been removed near the eyes or too much left in place near the tip?
  • Request three views of each nose, since not all imperfections are shown in any one view.

Checking these fine details will ultimately help you pick your rhinoplasty surgeon.

Deciding if Rhinoplasty is Right For You

Rhinoplasty has always been one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in cosmetic surgery.  But not all nasal surgery is performed for cosmetic reasons. Rhinoplasty can also correct structural abnormalities like a deviated septum or crooked nose which can lead to breathing problems, chronic stuffiness and post nasal drip. The ultimate goal of any rhinoplasty is to sculpt a natural-looking nose that functions properly.

A rhinoplasty can also do more than merely make the nose smaller. Your nose should complement all of your facial features with a balanced size and proportion. Sculpting all aspects of the nose will lead to this facial harmony. Your nose is as individual as you are. To copy the nose of a celebrity or anyone else probably won't be the right look for you.

However, using photographs of noses you like during your consultation may be helpful in defining your goals. In determining how to best achieve the results you desire, Dr. Alan N. Larsen will evaluate your features with you in relation to your overall appearance. Dr. Larsen often use computer imaging to show patients how certain features of their nose may or may not complement them.

How It's Done

Rhinoplasty or nasal surgery is generally an outpatient procedure that can be performed in a hospital, ambulatory surgery facility or in an office surgical suite. Dr. Larsen performs surgeries in a fully accredited surgical suite. He performs surgery under general anesthesia, using an anesthesiologist. An overnight stay can be arranged or you may go home. Either option is available to you depending on what will make you feel more comfortable.

To determine your surgical technique, Dr. Larsen will carefully evaluate your overall facial appearance, proportion and structure of your nose, facial features and combine this with your medical history, ethnicity and your personal goals. Changes that may be made to the nose include:

  • Eliminating bumps and irregularities on the bridge
  • Lowering a high bridge
  • Raising a low bridge
  • Narrowing a wide bridge
  • Turning the tip up or down
  • Reducing or enlarging the nasal tip
  • Changing the size and position of the nostrils

Straightening the nose and septum and opening up the internal portions of the nose can also be performed. Patients frequently hear that plastic surgeons break the nose during rhinoplasty, but the truth is that a very small instrument will be used to cut and shape the structures of the nose, including the bones and cartilage.

Rhinoplasty techniques include open or closed methods, depending on the changes necessary. The open procedure adds a small additional incision across the strip of tissue that separates the nostrils. In a close procedure all incisions are hidden within the nose. Dr. Larsen performs almost all of his procedures using the open technique because this technique allows the greatest access and precise control necessary to assure a good outcome.

With any surgery the incisions are closed with stitches. The internal stitches will dissolve. The external incisions across the narrow strip of tissue that separates the nostrils will need to be taken out 4-5 days after surgery. You will wake up with a splint covering the outside of your nose and most likely with a splint on the inside of your nose. No matter how uncomfortable or unsightly these splints are, you shouldn't remove them under any circumstances without the doctor's permission.


Following the procedure you will either go home with a caregiver who will stay with you for at least the first 24 hours or you will be taken to our overnight suite. You may have a small gauze across the lower portion of your nose called a drip pad. This will need to be changed if it gets soiled. You can expect to be swollen around your eyes and cheeks and may have bruising as well.

Your nose will feel very stuffy but you will need to remember there is absolutely no nose-blowing allowed. Occasionally a patient will have a headache for the first night or two. You will need to keep your head elevated for about 10 days while you sleep. Ice packs or cool compresses will help considerably with your comfort and swelling.

Your mouth may become dry from breathing through your mouth until the nasal splints are removed. Sucking on lemon drops and drinking extra fluids will help. These conditions usually diminish within the first week following surgery. Contact lenses or glasses are difficult for the first week or so following surgery.

One can expect to return to a normal routine within about one week and regular exercise in 3-6 weeks. If you're involved in sports, you will need to protect your nose for a minimum of eight weeks. The results of rhinoplasty are immediately visible once the splint is removed.

Splints usually come off at about 10 days on the outside and 14 days on the inside. Remember that your nose will still be swollen after the splint is removed and the shape will continue to refine slightly over the next year.


Nosebleeds, infection and small contour irregularities are all possibilities. You may also experience a dry nose or a runny nose for up to a year. Excessive scarring may result, but is very rare. Remember that unpredictable results are possible.

The outcome of rhinoplasty cannot always be foreseen as bones may dislodge and cartlidge and soft tissue may change in shape over time. A secondary procedure is necessary in up to 10 percent of patients. Please see informed consent nose reshaping for a more complete list.

Recovery timeline

  • First night nose is very stuffy tender and you may have a headache. Any pain should be well controlled with medications.
  • The next 3-4 days will see swelling and bruising develop and start to resolve. Any discomfort should be resolving quickly.
  • Days 4-5 the external sutures will be removed.
  • The external splint is removed at about day 10, followed by the internal splints at day 14.
  • Moderate swelling can be expected after the splints are removed and this will gradually decrease over the next 2-3 weeks.
  • Continuing refinement will occur over the next year.

Complementary procedures

Chin implant surgery is frequently combined with a rhinoplasty. Refining the nose is often greatly enhanced by enhancing the chin, thus restoring balance to the other portions of the facial features.

Learn More About Rhinoplasty

Do you need more information about rhinoplasty in Atlanta? Contact the office of double board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alan N. Larsen. Our plastic surgery office is located in the Buckhead area of North Atlanta. Call (404) 367‐9005 to inquire about a consultation regarding rhinoplasty surgery.