Rhinoplasty 101: Your Guide in Getting a Nose Job in Singapore (2019)

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In my years of plastic surgery practice, Rhinoplasty proved to be a procedure that have been desired by many to do in order to improve the appearance of their noses but do not have the courage to proceed. I cannot blame them.

Rhinoplasty is a very intimidating procedure. First, it is done through surgery, which entails incisions, punctures, and demands quite a bit of time off for recovery. Aside from those factors, it is very costly.

However, a lot of patients who have sought my consultation for this procedure realized that their consecutive maintenance on temporary treatments for their noses, such as dermal fillers and threadlifts, add up to more costs through the years. Not only that, they submit themselves to repetitive discomforts whenever the time comes that they need another treatment to keep the contour of their noses.

If you belong to this group, I strongly suggest that you consider Rhinoplasty. And before taking the plunge, be sure to read this post up to the last word as I will share crucial information about this procedure that can help you get the best out of your own operation in case you find yourself deciding to go for it one of these days.

Introduction to Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty, popularly known as a nose job, is a procedure done in plastic surgery that aims to reconstruct and enhance the nose. Rhinoplasty may probably be one of the oldest surgeries, as the first nose job ever done in history dates back to as early as 3,000 to 2,500 BC. There are two kinds of rhinoplasty:

  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Reconstructive surgery

For this discussion, I will be focusing on cosmetic surgery.

How is a rhinoplasty procedure carried out?

I usually carry out a rhinoplasty procedure with the use of local anaesthesia. I also use medication to sedate my patient to put them to sleep during the surgery. This enables them not to feel any discomfort during the procedure and after. I avoid using general anaesthesia as this usually has side effects to the patient once they are awake, such as vomiting and nausea among others.

As soon as the patient is asleep, I begin the procedure by making an incision on either the columella (the flesh between the nostrils) or inside the nostrils. The flesh harvested from another part of the body (usually harvested from the back of the ears) is then carefully placed on the part of the nose that needs enhancement. Throughout the procedure, a patient will not feel anything because of being sedated. Once the operation is completed, I usually wake my patients up so they can see the results of the surgery.

You can expect to be able to breathe through your nose after the operation, as it is my personal practice not to fully pack my patient’s nose. I know how uncomfortable (and unhygienic!) it is to breathe through the mouth, so I do my best to provide the best avenue for my patient’s breathing to be comfortable during their recovery period. Do note that this is not done by all doctors.

Will there be any pain?

Thanks to the local anaesthesia and sedative, you will not feel any pain during the procedure. However, once the medications wear off, expect to feel discomfort during your recovery period. Oral painkillers will be prescribed to help ease the pain.

How much downtime will I need to allow following the procedure?

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Based on my own experience in performing the procedure, the downtime for the swelling and bruising after the surgery is at a maximum of 2 weeks. This is given that my patient strictly follows all the aftercare instructions. You may find breathing challenging during the first few days, but this will gradually become better.

For the part of the body where the flesh has been harvested for the procedure, expect that this will also experience some inflammations and bruising. Maximum downtime for the healing of this area is 14 days.

Are there risks and side effects?

Side effects of the procedure include bruising and swelling. If your doctor used general anaesthesia, you may experience nausea, vomiting, and sore throat after the procedure. This is why I prefer using local anaesthesia on my patients when doing this kind of surgery.

What factors should I consider that could negatively affect the results of my Rhinoplasty procedure?

A weak foundation is your guarantee for a botched rhinoplasty procedure. To avoid this, you should have a thorough discussion with your doctor about the planning and reshaping of your nose. Your doctor should be able to assure you that he will be creating a strong cartilage framework for your nose to warrant its stability of being able to uphold its new contour despite some scarring that will happen inside the nose during the healing period.

What rhinoplasty procedure is generally used in Singapore?

Enhancement of the nose bridge tops the list of rhinoplasty procedure request that I get. Southeast Asians usually have a low nose bridge; it is not a surprise that my patients wish to have noses that have higher and slimmer nose bridges.

Implants made of silicone, or a brand called Goretex, are used to add height to the nose bridge. In some cases, a piece of cartilage harvested from behind the patient’s ear may also be used. The latter is recommended for patients who have sinus problems or are into smoking, as the cartilage is a natural material that the body can easily adapt to, making it less prone to contaminating infections.

Will the changes done to my nose be noticeable?

Rhinoplasty before-after

People who have known you for a long time will definitely notice the changes done on your nose. However, if people who you have met for the first time (and who are clueless about your procedure) are able to tell that you have undergone a nose job, this should cause an alarm. Needless to say, your rhinoplasty procedure is substandard.

Stats show that about 50% of Singaporeans who have undergone rhinoplasty resorted to further nose reshaping as they were unhappy with the results of their initial operation.

What characteristics do I look for when considering a surgeon to do my rhinoplasty procedure?

The following are the characteristics you should consider when looking for a surgeon to do your rhinoplasty in Singapore:

  • Skills and experience – You do not want an amateur doctor handling your rhinoplasty procedure. Do research on the number of years that the surgeon has been performing successful nose jobs to guarantee that you are in safe hands. Likewise, ask for before and after photos of previous patients so you can see their skill in performing the surgery.
  • Openness and honesty – A good surgeon should be able to hear out the concerns of his or her patient and, at the same time, give sound advice that is without bias. The surgeon should be able to talk sense into their patients, especially when the changes that their patients seek would make them look ridiculous or could put their health in danger.
  • Realistic – Doctors should be able to lay down realistic expectations for their patients. During the assessments, you may be shown a simulation of what your nose would look like in the end. However, your surgeon should be able to explain that this may not be the exact outcome of your results, of course, since the simulations are perfectly simulated by a computer.

What is the average cost of rhinoplasty in Singapore?

The approximate cost of a complete rhinoplasty procedure done in Singapore is $5,000 to $22,000. The inclusions are doctor’s consultation and surgical fees, facility and operating room costs, anaesthesia and other medications.

What are the different factors that affect the cost of a rhinoplasty procedure?

The main factors that affect the cost of rhinoplasty are:

  • Intricacies of the procedure – A simple enhancement done on the nose will require less cost as compared to one that has several requirements. For example, augmentations done on the nose bridge plus another to improve the nose tip will require two phases in the procedure and will also cost more time to complete.
  • Doctor’s professional fees – There is no standard fee that is common to all plastic surgeons that perform rhinoplasty. The cost of their professional fees varies depending on the skills and experience that they have. In addition, surgeries that require the services of an anesthesiologist will cost more.
  • Medical facility – A rhinoplasty surgery may be performed in a day surgery operating theatre or an operating theatre of a private hospital. Private hospitals charge more.

Can I use Medisave to cover the costs of my rhinoplasty procedure?

Reconstructive rhinoplasty, which is done to correct and restore the nose’s function and form, can be covered by Medisave as this is considered as a medical procedure. Unfortunately, cosmetic rhinoplasty is not covered by Medisave.

What are the common misconceptions about rhinoplasty?

Now it’s time to bust some rhinoplasty myths.

  • There is a need to take a long time off to heal after the surgery and the discomfort following it is a lot to take. 
    Depending on the procedure, a patient may be able to recover fully in less than 2 weeks if their rhinoplasty did not require several procedures to be done. Bruising and swelling are discomforts that can be expected after the surgery, but these can all be managed by taking medications that can reduce the pain.
  • There is only one kind of nose contour that can be achieved with rhinoplasty.
    This is a false impression that a lot of Singaporeans have about rhinoplasty, which is not true. I explain to my patients' rhinoplasty does not result in a “uniform” nose. They should not expect their nose to look like the noses of my other patients as their desired look is different from each other. At the same time, the way a rhinoplasty procedure is carried out differs between patients. Some may only require a simple procedure, while others may have a number of procedures done depending on the end result they wish to see.

Are there non-surgical procedures available for nose enhancement?

There are several non-surgical procedures available to enhance the nose if you are not comfortable about getting under the knife. You can opt to go for dermal fillers and threadlift treatments. The only advantage of a rhinoplasty procedure over these treatments is that you need only to do it once (unless you are not happy with the initial results) and, although costly, you will only pay once.

Dermal fillers and threadlifts can achieve the same results that rhinoplasty can do, but you can only enjoy them temporarily. Risks and side effects are also involved in these procedures, despite being minimally invasive through improper administration and as the body is exposed to foreign materials (e.g. blindness for dermal fillers).