The Most Difficult Plastic Surgery Operation

You’ve been grabbed by the headline for this blog and probably think you will read about a face transplant or a separation of conjoined twins or something like that. But ask a plastic surgeon about the most difficult operation he or she performs and you will usually get the following answer: rhinoplasty.

Posted on | Arthur Perry, MD, FACS | Comments ()

You’ve been grabbed by the headline for this blog and probably think you will read about a face transplant or a separation of conjoined twins or something like that. But ask a plastic surgeon about the most difficult operation he or she performs and you will usually get the following answer: rhinoplasty.

Rhinoplasties are sometimes called “nose-jobs”, but that’s sort of a derogatory word. “She had a nose-job” sounds so crass, doesn’t it? “She had a rhinoplasty” sounds so much nicer, but it still involves lifting the skin of the nose, sculpting the cartilage and bones, repositioning cartilage, and putting everything back so that only the patient and her mirror know anything was ever done.

Rhinoplasties are the most artistic of all cosmetic surgical procedures. A bump that is 1 mm high can be seen from across the room. So the room for error in this operation is minimal. That’s why 15% of people who have had rhinoplasties require a second procedure. And that’s why you hear about celebrities who have had their nose done 6 times.

A surgeon must perform a hundred rhinoplasties before he can claim some expertise in the operation. And for the average surgeon, that means it takes a bunch of years to get this volume of experience. Every nose is different and the same operation in two different people can give very different results. Like a sculptor, the plastic surgeon’s moves must be exquisitely precise. But an artist working with metal, plaster, or wood can toss their mistakes into the garbage and start again. With rhinoplasties, the medium is YOU, and a mistake will live with you throughout your lifetime. The best surgeons take their time doing this procedure. So, choose your surgeon wisely and don't choose the guy that advertises the 15 minute rhinoplasty – otherwise you might wind up with more of a hose job than a nose job.

Blog written by Arthur Perry, MD, FACS
Dr. Perry has over 2 decades of experience as a clinical surgeon and has been named to the “Best Doctors in the NY Area” book...