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The closed vs. open rhinoplasty technique concerns only how the surgeon gets inside the nose to make the required changes, not what’s accomplished with the rhinoplasty procedure itself. Reshaping your nose may include breaking and removing bone and cartilage. If cartilage needs to be added, say, to rebuild the tip of the nose, it’s often taken from the septum, the middle portion of the nose—a technique called a cartilage graft. Cartilage may also be taken from other areas of your body, such as your ear. In some cases, a synthetic material, like a silicone implant, is used; but studies have shown that there may be more complications with synthetics. Cartilage grafts, nasal-bone osteotomies (removal of parts of the bone), dorsal-hump removal, and suture techniques applied to the nasal tip cartilages can all be performed with either the closed- or open-approach rhinoplasty.
How much you’ll swell really depends on you and on your surgeon’s technique—not so much the type of rhinoplasty you had. Dr. William Portuese, a facial plastic surgeon in Seattle, says that “The amount of swelling after a rhinoplasty procedure depends upon the type of rhinoplasty performed [open versus closed], the thickness of the skin, the amount of alteration required to the nasal tip, and the patient’s variability with the healing process itself.” He notes that “Some patients require taping and steroid shots in the tip of the nose to reduce swelling in that area for the first several months after the procedure.” According to Dr. Miller, “A very clean open rhinoplasty can result in minimal swelling, while with a closed procedure that isn’t performed in the ideal tissue and cartilage, you can have a lot more swelling. If the dissection travels through soft tissue or muscle on top of the cartilage, more bleeding and swelling will develop.” He notes that most people can also expect some bleeding from days two to five, but it should lessen with each passing day.