Rhinoplasty, also known as a nose job, is the surgical procedure that alters the appearance and or shape of the nose but can also be performed to improve its function. While most people associate rhinoplasty with cosmetic plastic surgery, it actually has many practical and functional uses, too. Cosmetic rhinoplasty surgeries can help give the patient better facial symmetry or a more defined nose.

Reconstructive rhinoplasty can help remedy breathing problems or correct other disfigurements caused by birth defects or certain traumas. This surgery can be done with either the open technique or the closed technique. The difference between the two is the location and visibility of the incisions.

The open rhinoplasty technique, which is sometimes referred to as the external approach, involves the surgeon making an incision in the columella, the part of the nose that connects both nostrils. After the surgery, these incisions are minimally apparent, if at all. This technique is generally necessary in more extensive rhinoplasty procedures, when a greater amount of reconstruction is required.

When using closed rhinoplasty, also called endonasal rhinoplasty, the incisions are made on the insides of the nostrils, in the mucus membrane of the nose. The exact location of these incisions differs, depending on what parts of the nasal bones and cartilage is being altered. This type of rhinoplasty procedure ensures that the incisions are invisible, which is why it is preferable in most cases.

Although rhinoplasty is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures, there are still some risks. Generally, the risks are the same as other types of surgical procedures and include infections, bleeding, and bad reactions to medications or anesthesia. Additional risks that apply to rhinoplasty are difficulty breathing through the nose, numbness of the nose, recurring nosebleeds, and persistent pain or discoloration.