Having realistic expectations about your rhinoplasty is without doubt the single most important concept to understand. This educational writing will focus on expectations and realistic results that are essential to understanding your nose job. I wrote this in response to questions from a patient from Villanova, PA.
The truth is that understanding your results after rhinoplasty is critical. It is actually, in my opinion, the single greatest concept to understand about all cosmetic operations. Whether you are having a tummy tuck, face lift, liposuction, or nose job, the patient needs to really grasp and understand what the actual results might look like. Cosmetic surgery is not like a reality TV show, a movie, or People magazine. Results might not be exactly as anticipated, and a person needs to grasp this concept. A plastic surgeon will say, “Have realistic Expectations.” I also will emphasize that patients need to understand the “Real-Reality” about the operation. This means understanding the truth about the surgery.
I believe having a good understanding of results is so important that I have written two books on this topic and related topics. The first book was A Woman’s Guide to the “Real-Reality” of Cosmetic Surgery. The second book I authored was The Tricky Fountain of Youth : Understanding Cosmetic Surgery. For the patient interested in these books you can link to them now.
I am going to describe realistic expectations now in several different ways. By doing this, it will give you a better idea of rhinoplasty results or what to expect. Surgery is an art. So is medicine. But this means results are not perfect. Everyone understands that surgery can not turn you into a movie star. Results might be less than your ideal. It might mean the nose heals and is not quite as small as was desired. It might mean the hump is predominantly gone, but not all the way. It might mean the tip is not exactly as pretty or as defined as you hoped it would be. It might be almost “perfect” but not quite.
Perfection and the beauty of art is in the mind’s eye. It is not an exact science like a calculus equation. One person can believe the result is perfect, and the spouse might think it’s a lot better – but not perfect. The understanding that results might not be exactly as hoped for is an essential component of all cosmetic operations. It is not from lack of skill on the part of the surgeon. It is just part of the reality of healing after cosmetic operations. The world’s best cosmetic plastic surgeon will have patients that are not completely happy with their results. Understanding that it is critical to have realistic expectations about surgery is of paramount importance.
Sometimes when a patient is listening to me describe these concepts, they will say, “OK, I won’t see any change at all or I won’t see much of a change?” I will tell them this is not true! You will usually see a lot of change! You should be predominantly happy. Just perfection is in the mind’s eye and can’t be promised. Another way to view the “Real-Reality” of rhinoplasty results is to think of benefits being on a scale of 1 – 10. A score of 1 is a result with very little benefit. A score of 10 is a home run or a perfect result. As I have said, we can’t promise a 10, but most people will love their new nose and you can expect results that are scores of 7, 8, and 9. Remember, most people love their new nose after a nose job! I am just giving an in depth understanding of how many view results and that perfection can not be guaranteed.
Another fear after nasal surgery is the worry that someone will look like Michael Jackson or another horrific result. Do not fear this. The truth is that these types of weird and strange results are extremely rare. With modern rhinoplasty techniques that I use that preserve the architectural support of the nose, collapse and unusual nasal shapes are actually rare. Freaky and weird results like Michael Jackson come from way too much surgery. This essentially doesn’t happen to the normal patient. It is one worry that is very rare.
Computer imaging is fantastic tool that I use to help patients find out what they can personally look like after their surgery. It’s a phenomenal program that really helps. The patient can almost “pick” their new nose. We can see what it will look like with small changes to the nose. Also, moderate changes and large changes can be done with the program to compare and study different options. The before and (computer generated) after pictures are placed side by side to compare. This allows the patient and the doctor to see what is the goal for the cosmetic surgery.
Please come in for a consultation. I practice exclusively cosmetic surgery and will review the topic with you in detail.