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Since our nose is one of the most important and noticeable facial characteristics, it can have a significant impact on how we see ourselves and ultimately affects our confidence.
As much as we want to have a natural looking nose, it cannot be denied that our facial traits are often clearly defined by our ethnicity. Usually, the Asian nose has the following characteristics:
- Wide and flat
- Low bridge
- Large alar base / large nostril
- The tip is not very defined
While most patients like to preserve their own identity, at the same time, they want to enhance their overall appearance. Oftentimes, the goal is simply to soften the unflattering features rather than have a dramatic change. This is why a lot of Asians, Singaporeans included, turn to cosmetic procedures to enhance the way their noses look. One of the most popular surgical procedures to improve the nose is rhinoplasty.
Being invasive in nature, there are many factors to be considered before committing to the procedure. If you have been considering having a nose job for a while now, this article covers everything you need to know about rhinoplasty in Singapore.
1. What are the reasons for getting rhinoplasty?
A lot of women and men alike turn to rhinoplasty because they want to:
- Have a higher nose bridge
- Improve outline of the nose tip
- Make the alar base appear smaller
- Make nostrils less visible
Also, people who had enough of getting repeated nose thread lifts/fillers regularly tend to choose to have rhinoplasty instead for more permanent and long-lasting results.
2. What are the common types of rhinoplasty procedures in Singapore?
Rhinoplasty consists of a wide array of procedures that can range from a simple insertion of implants to complex operations. The type of rhinoplasty procedure will always be dependent on the recommendation of your doctor. Therefore, it is important to inform him or her what outcome you want to achieve.
After a thorough consultation, they will be able to assess what needs to be changed, the complexity and the type of procedure to be done. These are the two most common rhinoplasty procedures performed by doctors in Singapore:
- Silicone Implant
This procedure is usually used for patients who want to have a higher and sharper nose bridge. In most cases it is performed by inserting a silicone implant into the nose. There are two main types: L-shaped and I-shaped implants. Some doctors may use a waterproof, breathable fabric membrane called Goretex implant.
- Patient’s Own Cartilage
For a more natural look, rhinoplasty can be done with the use of the patient’s own cartilage harvested (usually) from the ear. Through this procedure, the risk of infection and complications are lessened since there's no foreign material inserted into the body. Typically, this procedure is recommended for patients who are experiencing sinus problems and for heavy smokers.
3. What to expect during an Asian rhinoplasty procedure?
Typically, the following are the general sequence of steps that your doctor will perform during the operation:
- Before the procedure, your face will be cleaned and prepped. Then, precise markings where the improvements will be made will be marked on your nose.
- Local anaesthesia and sedation will be administered to induce you to a deep sleep throughout the surgery.
- Depending on what needs to be done, your doctor can opt for open rhinoplasty by making a small incision on your columella (lower side of the nose between the nostrils and also where the nasal septum ends) or closed rhinoplasty performed through the nostrils. In addition to improving your appearance, the operation is also capable of treating nasal obstruction.
- After the surgery, your doctor will close the incisions and pack the area with taping and dressing to protect your nose from irritations and to prevent it from getting wet.
- Once you have woken up and have rested well, a post-op dialogue with your doctor is a must to discuss aftercare medications and do’s and don’ts during the recovery period.
4. How long does rhinoplasty procedure last?
The procedure can last between 1 to 4 hours. The length of the duration of the surgery will depend on the complexity of the procedure.
Since you will be under local anaesthesia, you will be sleeping throughout the procedure and the next time you wake up, the whole surgery would have been already completed so there is no need to worry.
5. Will there be pain during rhinoplasty procedure?
During the Procedure:
As mentioned earlier, the rhinoplasty procedure is performed under local anaesthesia and sedation. This important step allows the patient to be comfortable and fall into a deep sleep throughout the entire procedure.
Even after the effects of anaesthesia go off, and even with the stitches and the nose packing after the procedure that can look scary and intimidating, patients report that there is no pain at all. They also say that they didn’t experience dizziness, nausea, vomiting or any discomfort from the procedure.
After the Procedure:
Patients report that they only felt slight discomfort after the procedure such as:
- Not being able to breathe through the nose properly because of the nose packings
- Runny nose for the next 2-3 days
- Slight discomfort to painful sensation during stitch removal (depending on your pain tolerance and skills of the medical professional)
6. How long is the recovery time and what side effects to expect after rhinoplasty?
- 1-2 days after surgery:
Days after surgery, expect some swelling on the operated area extending to other parts of the face like the cheeks and the eyelids. You shouldn’t have much bruising because according to previous patients, they rarely have any bruising after the surgery.
Expect to have some slight nasal blocking for a few days. Normal breathing will return in no time.
Also, don't be surprised if you have a runny nose after surgery. Based on reports from patients, it is very common and may go on for the next 2 to 3 days.
A tip from previous patients: Since swelling can last from days to weeks, it is better if you take the week off to rest and recover and avoid the risk irritations and infection. After the surgery, it is recommended that you stay at your house and get as much rest as you can.
- 1-2 week after surgery:
On the 7th day mark, the swelling should have subsided, and the stitches will be removed by the medical professionals at the clinic where you had the rhinoplasty surgery. Swelling on the ears (donor site) will have subsided after 1-2 weeks.
- 1-2 months after surgery:
The final shape of the desired nose will start to be visible at around 2 months post-op. By this time, the cartilage framework under the skin of the nose will be stronger resulting to a more defined shape.
- 3-4 months after surgery:
The final desired outcome will become very noticeable. In some cases, patients report that months after undergoing rhinoplasty procedure, their sinus problem also disappeared. This may not be true to all but the improvement on the structure of the nose may also contribute to help you breathe better.
7. What are the post-op care to be considered?
After your surgery, your doctor will give you prescribed medications and instruction on what to do and what to avoid while recovering. The tapings and dressing are there to ensure that the new nose withstands irritations and scarring during the recovery period.
This packing prevents the nose from getting wet because until the stitches and the dressing are removed, you are not allowed to wash your hair and face to prevent water getting into the operated area to avoid infection.
If you feel uncomfortable with unwashed hair, some clinics offer hair washing services to help you have clean hair while recovering. Also, if you really need to clean your face, you may use wet wipes or tissue with water to get the job done while avoiding the areas where the operation was performed. You can also use basic skincare to keep your skin dirt-free and fresh. Just remember to apply these products with extra care.
In addition, since swelling is expected, some patients may feel depressed when they look at their bloated nose. The key here is to think positively and have patience because the side effect will just pass and the improvements will become more visible over time.
In line with this, clinics usually have available de-swelling treatments to help shorten the recovery time. Ask your doctor if you can avail of these treatments so the problem can be solved. Also, it always helps to eat healthy to boost your body’s ability to recover faster.
8. How much does rhinoplasty in Singapore cost?
In Singapore, the cost of rhinoplasty surgery ranges between $4,500-$20,500. The cost varies depending on a lot of different factors, including:
- Complexity of the procedure
The extent of the procedure to be done affects how long the plastic surgery will last. More complex procedures to make the nose straighter and longer will cost a bit more than simple bridge implants.
- Doctor’s fee and anesthesia cost
Surgical fees also vary from doctor to doctor. More experienced and more reliable specialists normally come at a higher price compared to less experienced ones. They may be a bit expensive for a reason - your safety is their first priority. Also, for complicated procedures, if you opt to have an anesthesiologist and have it done under general anaesthesia, that will add to the overall value. For simple rhinoplasties, local anaesthesia and sedation are already enough to carry out the operation.
- Facility cost (operating room etc.)
Another important factor that affects the cost of rhinoplasty in Singapore would be the choice of the facility where it will be performed. Major operating rooms in private hospitals charge more while simple operating clinics - less.
- Medication, and follow-ups.
Some aftercare medications may be prescribed by your doctor and the costs may differ. Also, additional post-op care treatments like anti-swelling treatments and hair washing services may also add more costs. If there are complications like irritations and infection, a follow-up consultation is required and may also require you to spend more money on subsequent treatments. Therefore, it is vital to take your recovery instructions seriously to help you save money.
9. Is rhinoplasty covered by insurance?
Rhinoplasty is generally recognised as a cosmetic procedure. In Singapore, it is important to note that cosmetic procedures cannot be paid for by your Medisave. Also, rhinoplasty for aesthetic purposes cannot be covered by your insurance.
However, in some cases like in patients with medical issues such as breathing problems caused by accidents, functional rhinoplasties are performed. These cases, if properly supported by specialist examinations can be covered by Medisave and insurance (depending on the terms of your policy).
10. Where can I find the best plastic surgeons in Singapore?
No one is considered the best rhinoplasty surgeon. Rather, there is one that is best suited for you. In Singapore, 50-60% of patients regret the results of their rhinoplasty procedure, so they seek for a do-over.
Therefore, finding the best doctor who can tailor the procedure according to your desired outcome is very important. To help you have an informed decision regarding which surgeon to choose, consider these following tips:
- Check the credentials of the surgeon. Since rhinoplasty is a medical procedure, there is nothing more reassuring than having a well-trained doctor that you can trust.
- Everyone is unique, and our idea of how a beautiful nose looks like is different from one another. First, determine what outcome you want to have and discuss it thoroughly with your doctor. A good doctor knows when to say no to outrageous nose job requests that will put you in danger.
- Look for a surgeon who has aesthetic sensibilities similar to yours. You and your doctor should find it easy agreeing on the different aspects of your procedure. Your doctor should be able to understand your concerns and wants while being able to give proper advice and suggestions before you commit to the procedure.
11. Will my friends be able to tell that I had rhinoplasty?
To some extent, after rhinoplasty, your nose can still look natural. However, since rhinoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that is designed to enhance the nose, there will be noticeable improvements that will become obvious after the procedure.
Your past and current friends and family may notice the difference but new people you will meet shouldn’t be able to realize that you had a nose job.
In the end, the most important thing to consider is that after the procedure, rhinoplasty can give you the attractive, properly functional nose you desire and will ultimately improve how you perceive yourself and will help you have more confidence for the rest of your life.