Accidents happen, and sometimes these incidents can prove disfiguring to the nose. While it is unrealistic to expect perfection from a rhinoplasty reconstruction, it is possible to make dramatic improvement to the nose following trauma or disfigurement from disease. Because the nose is an extremely dominant facial feature, making the nose look close to normal is typically very important to the patient’s sense of confidence and self-esteem. Although each case is unique, there are several common techniques that are often used to improve the breathing and appearance of the nose following trauma. These include:
Skin flaps are often used in reconstruction, and they typically produce very good results. Some techniques require a two-part operation, but patients usually find this to be worth the results. Skin flaps are usually pieces of tissue used from locations near the nose, such as the nasolabial fold (between the nose and cheek), or the forehead. Skin flaps have their own blood supply and are best for large areas of reconstruction. With a skilled plastic surgeon performing the operation, scarring from the donor site is usually minimal.
Cartilage grafting is an essential technique in rhinoplasty of any sort. The patient’s own cartilage is typically the preferred material, and it is carefully shaped to provide definition, structure, and aesthetic appeal in the area in which it is placed. Cartilage grafts are usually taken from one of three sites, in the following order of preference:
- The nasal septum
- The ear
- The rib
The site that is chosen for harvest depends on the amount of cartilage available, as well as the nature of the reconstruction.
Sometimes, the nose does not heal properly following trauma, which can result in problems like crookedness and breathing issues. In these cases, the nasal bones may need to be re-broken or cut during the reconstructive procedure, a technique called an osteotomy. This technique is used to give the surgeon greater control over the healing and outcome of the procedure, and can also help straighten and refine the nose. This technique is also used for many cosmetic rhinoplasty patients as well.
Typically used for small areas, a skin graft uses a piece of skin from elsewhere on the body to cover an open area. This graft does not begin with its own blood supply, but gains this once the skin has had time to adapt to the area to which it has been grafted.
Grafts must be taken carefully and discreetly to avoid unsightly damage to the donor site. Often, skin grafts are harvested from the forehead, behind the ear, or the neck of the patient.
Because nasal reconstruction often involves harvest from other areas of the body, additional rest and recovery may be necessary following surgery. Typical rhinoplasty recovery takes about two weeks, with final results appearing gradually over the months following the procedure. Reconstructive rhinoplasty patients may want to allow for slightly more recovery time before returning to work, to give the body time to rest and heal. Each patient’s case varies, and the doctor will make a recommendation depending on how extensive the procedure will be.
Choosing a Surgeon
Reconstructive rhinoplasty is among the most difficult surgeries a plastic surgeon can undertake, and should only be performed by an expert. No matter how complex your nasal reconstruction is likely to be, you should always seek out the most qualified, seasoned facial plastic surgeon you can find to maximize your chances of a good outcome.
Dr. Robert A. Mounsey of Revesse in Toronto has dedicated himself to all facets of rhinoplasty, including reconstructive procedures. He is board certified, experienced, and has worked with patients of all backgrounds and ethnicities. If you would like to learn more about getting a beautiful, natural result from your reconstruction, call Revesse today at 416-438-2499 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Mounsey.