In the past I wrote a similar post in regards to picking the best surgeon and what it means to be “the best” in the world of surgery. I thought it was time to write a similar post for those people who are interested in changing their nose by getting a Rhinoplasty (Nose Job).
A Rhinoplasty is the medical name for what many people call a “Nose Job.” Rhino means nose and plasty (which comes from the Greek word plastos) means “to be formed or molded”. A rhinoplasty surgery is one of the most challenging surgeries in all Facial Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery. It requires skill, training and a key eye for symmetry. It also requires advanced skill in functional nasal surgery as I will discuss below. It is a procedure that is more than just a surgery, it is an art.
When I talk to my patients about a Rhinoplasty, I often inform them that I have three important goals.
- To improve the shape, symmetry and appearance of their nose
- To maintain or improve the function of their nose (such as the ability to breath)
- Communicate surgical plans and procedures effectively
These three key features of a consultation with a Facial Plastic Surgeon will help you be at ease with your decision to choose the appropriate surgeon for you.
Improve the shape, symmetry and appearance of their nose
This aspect of the surgery is a combination of art and skill. Ensure your facial plastic surgeon has the appropriate training in cosmetic Rhinoplasty surgery. Some key questions to ask include: (1) Did they receive fellowship training in Facial Plastic Surgery? (2) Did they do their fellowship with a highly regulated and rigorous program such as the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery? (3) Do they have any photo’s you can look at?
As mentioned above, you want a surgeon who can look at your nose and help you achieve realistic goals. It is important to indicate what you hope to achieve and ask honestly if the Facial Plastic Surgeon can help with this. Programs such as that offered by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgery require surgeons who completed their surgery training to do additional training for a minimum of 1 year followed by a 2 day formal examination demonstrating their skill level. This is one of the most rigorous and highly regarded Facial Plastic Surgery training programs in the world. In fact, there are only two people who are accepted into this program in Canada every year. It is important to ensure your surgeon has the skills required to achieve the nose you want to achieve. Training such as this will help you feel confident that this is the case.
Maintain or improve the function of their nose (such as the ability to breathe)
Often times when people come in for a consultation for a Rhinoplasty or other cosmetic nose procedure, they forget that the nose has a number of very important functions; most notably breathing.
You want to ensure your surgeon has a keen understanding of nasal anatomy and physiology as well as significant experience dealing with breathing problems. The last thing you want to do is change your nose cosmetically and end up losing your ability to breath. Many surgeons who are practicing in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery are Otolaryngologist – Head and Neck Surgeons. Head and Neck Surgeons are trained specifically with both the function and cosmetics of the nose and often do additional training to gain expertise in Facial Plastic Surgery.
Communicate surgical plans and procedures effectively
Perhaps one of the most important keys to a good relationship with your surgeon is communication. Make sure you can talk and ask questions. Make sure they are available for you before and after the surgery. Everyone has questions after the surgery, it is important your Facial Plastic Surgeon is there for you.
In addition to this, ask if your surgeon offers Virtual Rhinoplasty Surgery or Digital Rhinoplasty Imaging. I wrote an editorial on this and you can find it on my website. I believe using virtual surgery allows the surgeon to communicate and demonstrate the desired results in real time to ensure both the client and surgeon are happy with the plan.
In Summary, there is no perfect way to choose the best surgeon but there are things you can do to ensure you pick the right surgeon for you. Reading reviews online are one part of it, but until you meet the individual, you may never know if the reviews online match your experience in person. Obviously there is a lot to be said about positive reviews online and surgeons who are consistently rated highly typically have excellent patient communication and skills.
Dr James P. Bonaparte, MD, MSc, FRCSC
JB Cosmetics and Facial Surgery of Ottawa
Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Practicing in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery