Thick Skin Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that reshapes the bones and cartilage beneath the skin to improve the appearance of the nose. However, if you have thick skin, this will significantly change how your rhinoplasty procedure is conducted. Whether you have thin or thick skin will determine how well the adjustments to the bone will be noticeable beneath the skin.

Thick skin rhinoplasty is unique in its procedural approach which means other elements such as recovery are also different from typical rhinoplasty procedures. Below is a complete guide of everything you need to know if you’re considering a thick skin rhinoplasty.

Thin Skin vs. Thick Skin

During a rhinoplasty where the nose is covered by thin skin, bone or cartilage is often removed to help create contour and definition. This is the most common approach to a nose job. However, if you have thick skin, these changes to the bone would not be as noticeable on the surface.

During a thick skin rhinoplasty, bone and cartilage are often added instead of removed to help define the nose. 

Thick Skin Rhinoplasty Procedure

If you have thick skin on your nose, a “structural rhinoplasty” will be completed to help you receive the noticeable cosmetic results you desire. During this cosmetic procedure, your plastic surgeon will use cartilage grafts to create a narrowing appearance around the tip and bridge of the nose. Not all thick skin rhinoplasty procedures must include the addition of cartilage grafts.

Depending on your nose, your plastic surgeon may only need to use sutures to bend and reshape the cartilage. 

While the addition of cartilage and bone may feel counterintuitive, in the case of thick skin, adding cartilage grafts will shape the nose and the skin rather than making it look larger. If you have thick skin and your rhinoplasty surgeon was to remove cartilage and bone, this would result in open spaces that would fill with scar tissue. This would only make the nose thicker.

While most of the focus will be on the bone and cartilage beneath the skin, your plastic surgeon may choose to alter the skin itself. A subcutaneous fatty layer causes thick skin. During a thick skin rhinoplasty, your plastic surgeon may carefully thin the fatty layers beneath the skin to help reduce the thick skin appearance of your nose.

It should be noted that this is done sparingly and should not be relied upon for the cosmetic results you are hoping for from your nose job.

Thick Skin Rhinoplasty Recovery

Due to the differences in thin vs. thick skin rhinoplasty procedures, the nose job recovery process will also be unique. Rhinoplasty for thick skin will result in the typical recovery timeline where swelling will significantly reduce over the first month, with definite results visible by 12 months.

For thick skin rhinoplasty, the swelling will be more significant. This is due to the subcutaneous layer, which is more liable to keep swelling for a longer period of time. If you have thick skin on your nose, you can expect to see the final results of your nose job within 12 to 18 months.

Thick skin rhinoplasty does not cause more pain or discomfort than thin skin rhinoplasty. Any pain can be managed by the pain medication provided by your doctor in addition to ice packs. The timeline for both types of skin is also the same for going back to work within two weeks and getting the stint out in one week.

The key difference between thin and thick skin rhinoplasty is swelling. 

However, it should be noted that everyone is different, and every nose is different, so while most thick skin rhinoplasty procedures result in a longer recovery time, this doesn’t mean this is always the case.

Thick Skin Rhinoplasty Cost

Several factors that will determine the rhinoplasty cost. However, thin vs. thick skin rhinoplasty should not result in a substantial difference in cost. The factors that cause the most variation in rhinoplasty cost include your plastic surgeon, anesthesia, location, open vs. closed rhinoplasty, and more. 

Open rhinoplasty, a more invasive procedure, tends to be more expensive than closed rhinoplasty. Other types of rhinoplasty, such as endoscopic or septoplasty, will also result in a unique price. While there may be some variation in the cost of thin vs. thick skin rhinoplasty due to the type of procedure, the cost is more dependent on other factors.

How to Prepare for Thick Skin Rhinoplasty

While preparing for rhinoplasty is important no matter what type of nose you have, it’s especially important if you have thick skin. The recovery from thick skin rhinoplasty is more difficult when it comes to swelling, which means the more preparation you take before your rhinoplasty, the more potential you have to reduce your recovery time and stay healthy.

Below are three of the most important ways you can prepare for your thick skin rhinoplasty.


Staying hydrated is essential to your overall healing from your rhinoplasty. Water moves nutrients through your body which promotes faster healing. While it’s essential to hydrate following your procedure, hydration before your rhinoplasty will help kick start this healing process.

Take a Vitamin C Supplement

Vitamin C also helps with healing. Vitamin C aids in collagen formation in the body, which is the most important protein in connective tissue. This means that when you have vitamin c in your system, it will aid in healing any wounds.

Taking this supplement before you have your thick skin rhinoplasty will also help to prepare your body for healing.


One of the most important things you can do before and after your thick skin rhinoplasty is rest. Get plenty of sleep before you return to your everyday activities. Quality sleep influences the body’s ability to heal because it provides restoration, protection, and energy conservation.

Be sure not to lay on your stomach following your cosmetic procedure. It’s best to rest on your back with your head elevated.

If you have thick skin and are interested in a rhinoplasty, schedule a consultation with your plastic surgeon. They can help you determine the level of your thick skin, what the best procedure is for your desired results, and a more accurate cost estimate.

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