For any prospective rhinoplasty patient, the question, “should I do it?” is the most crucial to answer. In my nearly 20 years of practice, I have been asked versions of this question hundreds of times: “Should I do it?” “Would you do it if you were me?” And while these questions seem straightforward, they are often difficult to answer. My response to my patients is always the same—it is a personal decision that only you can make. But I do offer suggestions on how each individual can think about possible rhinoplasty and arrive at the right choice for him or her. Here are 5 tips that can help.
1. Does it feel worth it? It’s a simple assessment between pros and cons. The cons are sometimes easier to wrap your head around as they are more tangible—cost, time off, risks, etc. The benefit lies within the physical changes. If you have a clear sense of what changes are likely and feel that the benefit of those changes outweighs the negatives, then rhinoplasty may be a good decision for you.
2. Do I have a surgeon I trust? Finding the right surgeon is critical. It can be challenging in vetting out a potential surgeon as there is a lack of objective public information about a surgeon’s abilities. Board certification, patient reviews, and physician recommendations are helpful. But the best way is to meet more than one surgeon and ask pointed questions about your goals and their abilities to meet those goals.
3. Do I have clear expectations? Rhinoplasty is a complicated procedure which does not end with the completion of surgery. Recovery, post-operative swelling, possible imperfections, potential complications—these are all aspects of the experience you need to understand clearly in order to go through with treatment successfully. A good surgeon will provide this information to you, but if you are unclear about any aspect of it, ask before committing!
4. Am I likely to be happy after surgery? This can also be a hard one to answer. Sometimes patients think that having a better nose will the solution to all of their problems. Sometimes a patient may think it is possible for them to have a perfect nose. Sometimes a patient has other factors which may interfere with them being satisfied with the outcome of rhinoplasty no matter how good the result. It can require some soul searching but you should be fairly confident that a good outcome from surgery will make you happy and glad you did it. If not, put the brakes on!
5. How much do I have to gain? Although this is not an absolute rule, I have found that my happiest patients were those who had noses with the most prominent imperfections. It makes sense that the more improvement, the more likely the patient feels good about the change. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve operated on many patients who have been very happy after more subtle rhinoplasty, but when the changes is smaller, the decision may not be so obvious.
These tips are only “tips” and should not be used as the only way one arrives at their decision. Everyone different and each person must follow their unique path. But for every prospective patient, an honest and thoughtful conversation with yourself about the decision is wise before committing to the decision. If this is done, like so many patients, rhinoplasty may end up being a hugely positive life change for you