A nose job, or rhinoplasty, is an operation to reshape or resize your nose. It’s one of the most common plastic surgery procedures.[1-3]

Why have a nose job?
How to get a nose job
Deciding on a nose job
Preparing for a nose job
What happens during a nose job?
A timeline for recovery and what to expect after a nose job
Events and risks of nose job
Nose job costs and fees

Why have a nose job?

People have nose jobs for lots of different reasons. Most people have them if they’re not happy with how their nose looks. You can have a nose job to alter a hump in the bridge of your nose, reshape the tip, or change the length or width of your nose. You can also alter the shape or size of your nostrils.[1,2]

Sometimes, people have a nose job for medical reasons too. For instance, you might have a nose job if you’ve had an injury to your nose, which has made it bent or broken.[1,2] Or you might have surgery if you have breathing problems related to your nose.[1,2] Septorhinoplasty is a functional operation performed to improve the nasal airway and typically is covered under medical insurance.

How to get a nose job

If you’re getting a nose job for cosmetic reasons, it won’t be covered on the NHS or under insurance. You’ll usually need to pay to have it done privately.[2] You can find a consultant surgeon using the search function on our website. You can explore Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) on the PHIN website to gain insights into the experiences of other patients following their nose job at individual hospitals.

You may occasionally be offered a nose job on the NHS if you’re having it for an injury or breathing problems.[2] Talk to your GP if this is something that affects you. Even if you’re having a nose job done privately, it’s still important to let your GP know you’re thinking about having it done.

Deciding on a nose job

You’ll have an initial consultation with a consultant surgeon to talk about what you’re aiming for, and whether a nose job is suitable for you. It’s important to understand that there may be a limit to what you can achieve through surgery.[1,2] Your surgeon will need to take into account various factors, including the size of your nose, how old you are and the condition of your skin.[1,2]

Your surgeon will go through all the benefits and possible risks of surgery, as well as discussing any alternatives.[1,3] Non-surgical alternatives nose job alternatives include things like fillers.[1] These can act as a temporary fix to fill in lines and dips in your face, and bulk up facial tissue.[4]

Preparing for a nose job

It’s important that you’re as healthy as possible before having a nose job and that your weight is steady.[1] If you smoke or use other forms of nicotine, you’ll be asked to stop, usually at least six weeks beforehand.[1] Nicotine has a negative effect on how wounds heal, and smoking significantly increases the risk of other complications too.[5]

You’ll usually have a nose job under general anaesthesia (meaning you’ll be asleep).[1] But sometimes you may have it under local anaesthesia with sedation, which makes you drowsy.[3] You’ll usually either be able to go home on the day of the procedure, or after one night’s stay.[1] Either way, you should arrange for someone to drive you home. If you go home the same day, you’ll need a responsible adult to stay with you overnight.[1]

What happens during a nose job?

Your operation will take about two hours and you will either be asleep or sedated. There are many different nose job techniques, depending on exactly what you are having done. Your surgeon may perform a nose job either from inside your nostrils (a closed nose job) or by making a small cut between your nostrils (an open nose job).[1,2]

Surgery may involve the following.[1-3]

  • Removing bone and cartilage from the ‘hump’ on the bridge of your nose.
  • Removing or reshaping cartilage at the tip of your nose.
  • Adjusting and reducing the septum – the central structure in your nose that separates your nostrils.
  • Breaking and reducing your nasal bone, to reduce the width of your nose.

A timeline for recovery and what to expect after a nose job

The following is only a guide, your surgeon will advise you on how long your own recovery might expect to take.

  • Day of surgery: Your nose will feel tight and sore after the surgery. You can take painkillers to help manage this.[1] There may be a small amount of bleeding.[1] You should be out of bed and mobile on the day of your surgery.
  • You’re likely to have dressings in each nostril, and a pad under your nose.[1,2] You may have a splint placed over your nose too, to protect it.[1]
  • Week 1: You may have noticeable bruising around your eyes for a week or more too, if your nose was broken to do the surgery.[1] You’ll need to keep the dressings in place for seven days.[2,3] Stitches in your nose usually dissolve on their own. Stitches outside your nose will need to be removed, usually around five to seven days after surgery.[1]
  • Week 2: Most people take two weeks off work after the operation. You can return to doing light activities within a couple of weeks.[1] Avoid any activities where you might knock your nose.[1]
  • Six weeks: You’ll need to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for six weeks.[1] Don’t drive until you feel safe to do so.[2]
  • Several months: It can take several months – or even up to a year – for swelling to settle down, and the final results to become fully apparent.[1-3]

Events and risks of nose job

All surgical procedures have some common events and risks. Here are some of the most common risks associated with a nose job.[1,3]

Common - between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people, which is equivalent to one person in a typical-sized street.

  • Bleeding. If heavy, you might need another operation to control it.
  • Changes to sensation around your nose or top lip.

Uncommon – between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000 people which is equivalent to one person in a village.

  • Infection of the wound.
  • Problems with wound healing. There’s also a risk that you might not be happy with the end result. You also need to bear in mind that your appearance will change over time as a natural result of ageing. Changes in weight may also alter your appearance.

Rare – between 1 in 1,000 people and 1 in 10,000 people which is equivalent to one person in a town.

  • More serious complications include allergic reactions to the anaesthetic and blood clots developing in your legs or lungs. You’ll be given information on what to look out for and what to do if you develop any complications. Your doctor can also tell you how likely they are to affect you.[1]

Nose job costs and fees

As a cosmetic procedure, a nose job wouldn’t typically be available through private medical insurance. You’ll usually need to self-fund this treatment. Nose job costs in the UK vary.

Typically, an initial consultation with the surgeon will cost between £140 and £220, depending on where you live. If you move forward with the procedure, you’ll be offered one of the following.

  • An all-inclusive ‘package price’, where you know the full costs before undergoing treatment. Not all consultants and hospitals offer this.
  • A ‘fee-per-service’ deal, where you receive different invoices from the surgeon, the anaesthetist and the hospital. You often won’t know the full costs until you receive the invoices.

For more information, you can read our guide on self-pay.


  1. Rhinoplasty (reduction). British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). https://baaps.org.uk/patients/procedures/10/rhinoplasty_reduction (accessed 14 July 2023).
  2. Rhinoplasty. British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). https://www.bapras.org.uk/public/patient-information/surgery-guides/rhinoplasty (accessed 14 July 2023).
  3. Fichman M, Piedra Buena IT. Rhinoplasty. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558970/ (accessed 14 July 2023).
  4. Botulinum toxin and fillers. British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). https://www.bapras.org.uk/public/patient-information/surgery-guides/botulinum-toxin-and-fillers Accessed 14 July 2023).
  5. McDaniel JC, Browning KK. Smoking, chronic wound healing, and implications for evidence-based practice. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs 2014;41(5): 415-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241583/ (accessed 14th July 2023).

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