In 2016, rhinoplasty became the third most commonly performed cosmetic procedure offered by plastic surgeons in America with 223,018 rhinoplasties performed, compared to 290,467 for breast augmentation and 235,237 for liposuction in the same year.

Removing a bump from the bridge of your nose can give your face the balance you feel you need. Refining the tip or narrowing your nose can have a dramatic impact on your appearance - and allow you to fall in love with your nose! And loving how you feel about yourself is what shines forth to others you meet. But this only happens if you get a great nose job by a good doctor.

Here are some questions you should ask to narrow down your search.

Are you board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

The best-case scenario would be a doctor who is not only board-certified in facial plastic surgery but also in ENT (ear, nose and throat). A doctor with these qualifications will understand all the nuances about the nose AND plastic surgery – and it’s all for your benefit.

What is your experience in performing rhinoplasty?

You’re looking for a specialist who has had years of experience. Award him more “points” for more years in the business. However, make sure that those years included MANY rhinoplasties.

To discern this, you might ask, “Did you start out doing rhinoplasties in the first few years? This way you can subtract a few years if the answer is no.

How many rhinoplasty operations do you do per day/week/month/year?

Expertise comes from performing rhinoplasty surgery over and over again. This way, the doctor learns what to do with all types of nose variations - and he or she is no stranger to unusual circumstances that arise.

The best answer would be about 20 rhinoplasty surgeries a week. Think about it – that’s about 960 per year – and a lot of accumulated wisdom in the process. Your nose needs the depth of wisdom found in this type of doctor!

What is your policy on rhinoplasty revisions?

You need to know what is covered for revisions and what is not. Follow this question with this one: What is your protocol if surgical complications arise? You want to know if you will be sent to a hospital or if you’ll already be at a hospital in the event that something negative occurs.

Where are your before and after photos?

You’ll want to spend hours looking through your potential doctor's photo albums searching for noses similar to yours. If the doctor has truly done hundreds of rhinoplasty surgeries, he or she should have the photos as proof.

These are the foundations of your knowledge about how to select a doctor for rhinoplasty, but you still need more info.

Remember: The second category of questions to ask is all about your individual nose.

The Specific Questions Your Must Ask Your Doctor

Getting a rhinoplasty isn’t as simple as ordering a nose to be planted on your face. Your doctor has to evaluate the individual characteristics of your nose and make decisions on what would give you the best look based on what your desires – and needs - are.

Some of the questions in this next category include:

  1. Is there any chance that the changes in my nose could be made non-surgically?
  2. What techniques would be used on my nose? Open or closed rhinoplasty procedures?
  3. What percentage of your cases involve noses like mine?
  4. Will you need to break my nose during the surgery?
  5. Is there any chance that my breathing will become compromised from the surgery?

With this next set of questions, it’s easier to see now how both categories of questions are vital to your successful rhinoplasty. Get the doctor's background squared away first before you start interrogating them about the procedure itself.

Rate each doctor on a scale of 1-10 for every question you ask. Then total up the points. This is the best way to logically evaluate your future rhinoplasty doctor.

Ask Questions in Order of Importance

If you’re considering rhinoplasty, you’re in the beginning of the process. All questions are not equal on your first visit to any doctor.

There are two categories of questions to ask the doctor. The first category of questions is related to the actual doctor who will potentially do the surgery on your nose. The second category is related to your particular nose.

The reason why these questions should be asked in order is because it’s too easy to get caught up in the emotions of what Doctor No.1 said he could do for your nose compared to what Doctor No.2 said. When you're emotional, you will neglect the logical and more analytical part of the process. Your decision is then based on an illusion of what you will look like (futuristic thinking) or cost (illogical when used on its own as a basis for a decision).

The bottom line is that this surgery is being done on your face, the part of you that is always exposed to the world. You’ll want and need it to be done the right way the first time.

Facts to Know About Rhinoplasty

Knowing a few facts about the procedure goes a long way to making you more educated about it. (Read Your Guide to Rhinoplasty Recovery.)

Here are a few you may not know:

  • Swelling from the surgery can take up to three months to resolve itself.
  • Cartilage and bones take up to a year to heal so your final results won’t be evident for about a full year.
  • Doctors report that revision of the surgery – which means going in for a second follow-up surgery – can be expected in up to 15 percent of cases. Thus, if you’ve been saving up for one surgery, it’s important to have more tucked away in case you do need the revision.

From another perspective, up to 25 percent of patients were not happy with the results they got from their first rhinoplasty and had revision surgery, based on 2014 statistics.