The late King of Pop Michael Jackson may forever be remembered as one cosmetic nose surgery too many. The results just seemed to get worse and worse with each corrective procedure. The one positive outcome from the Michael Jackson plastic surgery saga was the open debate that arose over the question: just how many cosmetic revision rhinoplasty procedures are safe?

Most plastic surgeons will agree that there is no hard-and-fast rule or absolute limit to the number of nose jobs that can be administered to a single patient. It depends on so many factors, not the least of which is the condition of the nasal structure itself. Surgeons also are in general agreement that the risk of complications increases with each revision procedure, which can lead to permanent problems later on. One cosmetic procedure by itself carries few risks for the patient. However, as the number of revisions increases there is a progressive weakening of the nasal structure itself.

The nose is a wonderfully intricate – and delicate – system of bone, cartilage, and skin tissue. It was not designed to undergo the continued trauma of surgery, though in the hands of an experienced surgeon repairs to previous surgeries can be accomplished without serious risk. A lot of it has to do with the extent of the correction needed from a prior surgery.

Satisfying Physical and Emotional Needs with Secondary Surgery

Since men and women are more than just flesh and bone, there is an important psychological dimension to having multiple cosmetic revisions. The patient undergoing nasal surgery for the first time is full of hope and enthusiasm and dreams of the “perfect” nose. But if the surgery doesn’t satisfy the emotional component the first time, that elation may quickly turn to apprehension and anxiety the second, third, or fourth time around on the operating table. The patient often becomes obsessed with what could go wrong rather than what can go right or be fixed well.

In general, the number of safe and effective revision nasal procedures – and there are many types including non-invasive techniques – is subject to the law of diminishing returns. The patient must ultimately ask herself or himself: do I really need this surgery? Is it worth the potential risk?

Only a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience in cosmetic rhinoplasty is best qualified to answer those questions. And the vast majority of surgeons truly have your best interests at heart.
Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist with offices located in Virginia Beach. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at 757.389.5850 for a personal consultation.