If you are one of the 200,000+ patients planning on having a rhinoplasty procedure, do your research carefully before jumping in head first. This procedure is not to be taken lightly.
Check your surgeon’s credentials
Understanding the credentials of your surgeon is very important. An ENT surgeon, also known as Otolaryngologist, Head & Neck Surgeon, specializes in procedures of the ears, nose, & throat. Some ENTs, such as Dr. Paul Stanislaw, extend training by undergoing a fellowship in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Stanislaw maintains board-certification in both of these sub-specialties and focus exclusively on the face, neck & head. General Plastic Surgeons are trained in all areas of the body. Although all of these physicians are trained in rhinoplasty procedures, all things are not necessarily equal. Since a general plastic surgeon works on all body areas, experience is naturally diluted. Rhinoplasty doesn’t even fall in the top 5 procedures performed by general plastic surgeons and barely makes it into the top 10 procedures. ENTs are specifically trained for rhinoplasty procedures however, a double-board certified physician in facial plastic & reconstructive surgery and ENT provides you a VERY sub-specialized physician.
Once you’ve selected a properly credentialed physician, your next consideration is references. Not all physicians are created equal. You may be a painter, but that doesn’t make you Picasso! Some invaluable referral sources are physicians, operating room staff and of course patient referrals. Read the reviews. Look at before & after photos. Meet with the physician. Are you comfortable with the bedside manner? Did they explain the procedure in detail? Do you feel comfortable with the patient/physician relationship?
Understand the techniques they offer
The devil is in the details. Make no mistake, rhinoplasty procedures can be very complex and require a great deal of skill, experience, and patience. In a perfect world, it is preferable to perform this procedure only once so make your physician choice carefully. How much time is your surgeon allocating for your procedure? Was there discussion about supporting the nose with a septal cartilage graft to avoid future collapse? If not, why? A simple dorsal bump may not require support however tip work likely will.
Consider what you’re paying for
Cost is the biggest hurdle to overcome when discussing rhinoplasty procedures. The internet is full of misinformation about the “average” costs of rhinoplasty procedures. There is a HUGE swing when it comes to these procedures. A simple dorsal bump will be significantly less than tip reconstruction. I will tell you that there is a definite correlation between time and cost. You will also need to factor in complexity. The more complex the procedure, the more costly it will be. One of the costliest mistakes a patient can make is going with the least expensive quote. If I quote a 4-hour procedure and you’ve had a consultation with a physician that says they can do it in 2-hours, you should be asking yourself “why?” If you are in the unfortunate position of requiring a revision rhinoplasty, it will be considerably more costly to repair. Do it right the first time!