A Nose That Fits Your Face

Rhinoplasty or getting a ‘nosejob’ continues to be a popular facial procedure and is one operation that is almost synonymous with plastic surgery. The central position of the nose on the face makes the need for any rhinoplasty surgery to be very precise. Good results in rhinoplasty are largely dependent upon a detailed understanding of the anatomy of the nose. Whether it is a small area of nasal change or an entire nose restructuring,  how the anatomy of the nose is altered will eventually be seen through the overlying skin.

What makes your nose look like it does? Think of the shape of your nose like a single level house. The roof covering is the overlying skin, the framework of the roof is the nasal bones and upper and lower alar cartilages, the central support beam is the septum, and the walls are the nasal lining. The look of one’s nose, like the shape of the roof on the house, is directly influenced by how the framework of the roof is shaped. A hump or bump on the nose  occurs, for example, because the central beam is arched (too long), raising up a normally smooth roof line. The tip of the nose is too long, for example, because the legs of the tripod support on the roof edges is too long. Deviated noses occur because the central support beam is deviated or the tripod edge supports are longer or shorter on one side.

I think of changing the nose in terms of four areas, three outer framework and one inner framework support. The upper outer one-third is the nasal bones, the middle third (also known as the middle vault) is the upper cartilages, and the lower one-third is known as the lower cartilages or the tip of the nose.  The septum is the central internal support.  One important nose area is the thickness of the outer skin which, although we can not change, definitely influences how what is done underneath will be eventually seen.

Rhinoplasty surgery  is about changing the way these framework parts are joined and in how they are shaped and connect. Taking down a hump on the nose, for example, is a matter of lowering the roof line by reducing the nasal bones and septal height and usually allowing the roof sides to fall back in together once shortened. Reshaping the tip of the nose is by changing how the sides of the lower cartilages come together in the middle and changing their unified angulation to the underlying septum. Building up the nose is by adding some form of graft to the top of the roofline along its entire length. The variations of what can be done to change the structure of the nose are numerous and an artistic appreciation and experience is needed to know what will work well for any person’s nose.

One question that is often asked about rhinoplasty surgery is…will my insurance cover the costs? The answer is yes and no. If the procedure is being done to improve your breathing, then it likely will. If any part of the procedure is done to change the external appearance of the nose, then it won’t cover that part. Often nasal breathing problems, however, serve as an opportunity to have a cosmetic rhinoplasty as well. This is common and about three-fourths of my nose patients are having both done at the same time.

Dr. Barry Eppley