Summary: Do your bones change when you get a nose job? This question, which we hear now and again, is starting from something of a false premise. There aren’t really a whole lot of bones in your nose. Your nose is comprised primarily of something called cartilage. And while cartilage and bones sometimes fulfill similar roles, they aren’t really the same thing at all.
Can Your Bones Change When You Get a Nose Job?
Every once in a while we’ll get a question about how, hypothetically, bones change when you get a nose job. This is an interesting question because the nose isn’t entirely bone. Indeed, most of the nose is composed of cartilage and skin (along with some muscle–but not a lot of that). There is a small amount of bone that is present in the nose, but most of that is what anchors your nose to your face.
So I suspect that when people are asking about bones changing in the nose, they’re actually referring to the cartilage. That makes sense, as cartilage is–to most people–not all that distinguishable from bone (we’ll talk a bit more about this later).
Whether rhinoplasty makes these kinds of huge and significant changes to your nose ultimately depends on the kind of nose job you want. Some nose job procedures can produce wonderfully subtle results. Whereas others are indeed intended to make create bigger transformations. Do your bones change when you get a nose job? Usually only if that’s the plan.
What is Cartilage Anyway?
Technically, cartilage is a connective tissue. If you’re looking for cartilage on your own body, the most apparent examples are going to be your ears and your nose. You know how your ears are kind of flexible? And how you can wiggle your nose? That’s the cartilage. It is, by its nature, a much more flexible structure than bone.
And yet, there are animals whose skeletons are composed entirely of cartilage. Sharks come to mind. Their bodies are almost entirely composed of cartilage. That doesn’t really have much to do with rhinoplasty–I just happen to think it’s interesting.
So, that’s mostly cartilage in your nose. And it’s a good thing, too. That makes your nose incredibly flexible. It also makes changing your nose a little bit easier than it might otherwise be.
How Can You Change the Cartilage in Your Nose?
There are several ways that patients can change the cartilage in the nose. The first is to remove the cartilage and replace it with some kind of implant (the most advanced of these implants will actually be 3D printed cartilage itself). The more common route is for surgeons to strategically remove bits or add bits to the cartilage that’s already there.
Benefits to Cartilage in Your Nose
There are certainly benefits to having cartilage in the nose as opposed to bone:
- Cartilage is more flexible
- ”Breaking” your nose doesn’t do quite as much damage as breaking a bone (though, your nose could be permanently altered should you break it)
- The flexibility of cartilage allows your nose to move a bit out of the way when it’s not needed
- Your nose is intimately involved with the body language of your face
- Damage to your nose heals more quickly because it’s cartilage rather than bone
Or You Could Just Make Your Nose Appear Different
Changing your cartilage can be pretty intense, surgically speaking. The recovery for that kind of procedure can mean a significant amount of swelling. The nose is, by design, quite sensitive. That’s why many patients prefer a procedure called a Non Surgical Nose Job. This type of procedure can change the nose without surgery.
To be sure, it’s only the appearance of the nose that’s changing. A non surgical nose job works by injecting the nose with various dermal fillers (the specific filler depends on your nose and on your desired final outcome).
The results for a non surgical nose job aren’t going to be permanent. Most fillers will wear off after a number of months (although, usually over a year).
Changing Your Bones is a Big Commitment
Changing the bones (that is, the cartilage) of your nose is an awfully big commitment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of rhinoplasty patients who are ready for that kind of commitment. (And it’s better to undergo a rhinoplasty once and get the results you really want.)
But you should definitely have quite a few conversations with your surgeon about what you want to accomplish and the best way to do just that. Do your bones change when you get a nose job? If by “bones,” you mean cartilage, it’s definitely an option. But it’s an option that should be discussed in great detail.
Because once you go making those changes, there’s no turning back. For the vast majority of patients, that’s actually a good thing! After all, plastic surgery is supposed to be permanent.