Rhinoplasty Explained: Issues That a Nose Job Can and Cannot Treat By Robert Singer on January 25, 2024

Smiling woman with beautiful nose

Your nose is one of the first things others notice when looking at you. If you’re displeased with the shape, size, position, or proportion of yours, you are not alone — many, many people struggle with self-consciousness about the appearance of their noses and want to do something about it. Because of this, it makes perfect sense that rhinoplasty, or a “nose job” is one of the most popular facial cosmetic surgeries in the United States, year after year.

As a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing out of La Jolla, CA, since 1976, I’ve performed hundreds upon hundreds of rhinoplasties for San Diego-area patients at Prime Plastic Surgery. Something I’ve noticed over this time is that interested patients could benefit from more detailed information about exactly what rhinoplasty can and cannot do to alter the nose.

Though a versatile procedure, rhinoplasty does have certain limitations. Read on to see what’s truly possible for you through this plastic surgery.

What Rhinoplasty Can Accomplish

Rhinoplasty Can Straighten a Crooked Nose

A nose job can correct an off-center nasal ridge, or the slope of the nose. It can also eliminate noticeable bumps along the ridge for a smoother appearance. 

If you’d like to fill out or increase the definition of your nasal ridge, you may want to consider the “non-surgical rhinoplasty,” which is performed with dermal fillers precisely applied to the target areas. Because this treatment is not a surgery, it tends to go very quickly, often in a matter of minutes, and has no associated recovery time. Though results typically last for 9 to 18 months, much less than surgical rhinoplasty, touch-ups are fast and easy.

Rhinoplasty Can Adjust the Nasal Tip, Bridge, and Nostril Size

Rhinoplasty can help you address concerns of shape, size, or position in the tip, nostrils, or bridge (the “root” of the nose between the eyes). I can raise or lower the nasal tip while adding or removing volume, increase or decrease nostril size while adjusting orientation, and widen or narrow the bridge for a pleasing aesthetic all the way down.

Rhinoplasty Revision Can Correct Previous Nose Job Results

If you aren’t happy with the rhinoplasty results you received from another surgeon, revision rhinoplasty surgery may be a great option for you.

I regularly meet with patients who didn’t get what they had in mind from their initial nose jobs. It’s a pleasure to help bring them closer to their dream noses. I take a conservative approach to revision surgeries so safety and aesthetics are weighed equally.


See What Rhinoplasty Achieved for this Patient

young patient before and after rhinoplasty
This young patient provides an excellent example of the many aspects of the nose that can be fine-tuned through rhinoplasty. I smoothed the bridge of her nose for a pleasing slope, gently raised the tip for a youthful appearance, and adjusted the nostrils for proportion. The end result is gorgeous yet entirely natural looking.


What Rhinoplasty Cannot Accomplish

Rhinoplasty Cannot Give You Someone Else’s Exact Nose

A good plastic surgeon will never promise they can recreate the exact appearance of someone else’s nose during rhinoplasty because it simply isn’t possible.

The way a nose looks depends on the harmony with all the other uniquely shaped and positioned facial features. Put plainly, someone else’s nose copied and pasted onto your face will not look the same, regardless of how perfect it is.

What we can do is discuss individual elements of other noses that you’d like for your own during our one-on-one consultation. I can then plan a procedure that tastefully incorporates appropriate elements while paying heed to your distinct facial structure.

Rhinoplasty Cannot Affect How Your Nose Changes With Age

Our noses are primarily composed of cartilage, which ages differently than skin. While the skin on your nose will thin with time, the cartilage will simultaneously weaken. The combined effect can be a drooping appearance that makes the nose appear larger than it actually is. You may have noticed that older adults often have noses and ears that look a bit disproportionate to the rest of the face — this is the reason why.

These changes are an unavoidable part of the natural aging process, and the end result will largely be decided by your genetics. This doesn’t mean that a nose job isn’t a worthwhile option for you now, though. Rhinoplasty can give you decades of improved confidence and put you in position for less drastic age-related changes down the road.

A plastic surgeon touching the sides of a patient's nose

Rhinoplasty Cannot Address Skin Concerns 

Rhinoplasty is concerned with the structure of the nose, not the skin that envelops it. Issues like acne, dark spots, and rosacea will not disappear after a nose job.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have options to refine the skin of your nose once you’ve healed from your rhinoplasty, however. My practice in greater San Diego also offers a host of advanced non-surgical and skin treatments to eliminate wrinkles, smooth fine lines, erase blemishes, and more. We can work them into a streamlined treatment plan with your rhinoplasty.

Rhinoplasty Cannot Improve Your Breathing (Technically)

I’ve noticed a good amount of confusion on this point, and I’d like to clarify. The nasal procedure to correct a deviated septum and improve breathing is called septoplasty, not rhinoplasty. This mix-up is likely due to the fact that septoplasty and rhinoplasty can be performed at the same time.

Septoplasty focuses on the inward structure of the nose, ensuring that the internal cartilage is straight to improve nose breathing. Rhinoplasty focuses on the aesthetic outer elements of the nose. They can be performed separately or in one combined procedure, depending on a patient’s needs.

If you think septoplasty might be worth including in your rhinoplasty plan, I have good news for you — though rhinoplasty is not covered by insurance, septoplasty meets the coverage criteria for many plans. My La Jolla practice, serving all of San Diego, accepts most types of insurance. A member of our team can even help you verify your coverage ahead of time.


Rhinoplasty Makes Dramatic Transformations Possible

young man before and after rhinoplasty
 This young rhinoplasty patient’s nose will continue to change as he ages, just as all of ours do. However, he can expect more subtle changes than he would have originally seen thanks to his nose job. 


Why Patients Choose My Practice for Facial Plastic Surgery

My goal for every rhinoplasty patient is to provide beautiful enhancements that look like a result of great genetic luck rather than plastic surgery. I take the planning process very seriously. During your consultation, the two of us will sit down and take the time needed to discuss your needs and goals in full.

If you choose to receive rhinoplasty at Prime Plastic Surgery, I’ll be performing the procedure myself at our private, on-site surgical center certified by QUAD A, a global accrediting organization for office-based surgical facilities.

You deserve a nose you love — and a surgeon who understands what to do to make it a reality. Under my care, you'll benefit from:

  • Decades of surgical experience
  • The highest safety standards
  • Thoughtfully chosen luxury amenities during every stage of your treatment

For Treatment Designed With You in Mind, Request a Consultation

If you’re considering rhinoplasty surgery, you have a place here at Prime Plastic Surgery. You can request a consultation by contacting my La Jolla office online or giving us a call at any time.



Robert Singer, MD

About Robert Singer, MD
Dr. Robert Singer is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has helped patients since 1976. A former president of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, the San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, and the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, Dr. Singer remains an internationally recognized authority in the field.

Read Dr. Singer's Full Bio | All Posts by Robert Singer

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Dr. Robert Singer

Robert Singer, M.D.

Dr. Robert Singer is a board-certified plastic surgeon and former President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Aesthetic Society who gives his patients life-changing results. His technical mastery and artistic sensibilities have helped thousands of patients achieve natural-looking rejuvenation through facelifts and other complex procedures. Dr. Singer is a member of several prestigious organizations, including:

  • Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, Founder and Prior President
  • QUAD A, Prior President
  • San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, Prior President
  • California Society of Plastic Surgeons, Prior President
  • Chosen by his peers as the inaugural visiting professor of California Society of Plastic Surgeons (CSPS) for all academic plastic surgery programs in California: UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, Loma Linda University, Stanford University, UC Irvine and USC
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Prior Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Member of numerous task forces including Patient Safety
  • American College of Surgeons 

To discover what Dr. Singer can do for you, request your consultation online or call his plastic surgery practice at (858) 455-0290.

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