Christopher Thomson F.R.A.C.S
Ear, Nose and Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery
Phone: +64 (03) 356 0274
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Frequently Asked Questions

This page lists some of the Frequently Asked Questions about the procedures. Please select a link from below.

FAQs Eyelid Surgery - Blepharoplasty

  • Will I have bruising and swelling after surgery?
    Yes this is normal and expected.  The swelling increases for three days after surgery and then rapidly recedes.  Almost all the swelling has gone after a week but there is prominent bruising for the first few days.  This can be disguised with sunglasses and light foundation and has usually fully resolved within ten days.  
     
  • How much time will I need off work?
    You will be able to return to work within a day or two if you do not mind other people seeing you bruised and swollen.  Generally most people take a week off work because of the initial appearance after surgery but would be perfectly capable of return to an office based job in two days or a physical job within a week.  
     
  • Can I exercise after Blepharoplasty surgery?
    It is best to avoid all exercise for one week and heavy exercise for ten days after surgery.
     
  • Can I wear glasses or contacts after surgery?
    Sunglasses and reading glasses can be worn immediately after surgery.  Contact lenses can be reinserted as soon as comfortable but if glasses are available this is often a better option for the first week.
     
  • Am I too old or young for Blepharoplasty surgery?
    Candidates for blepharoplasty surgery vary widely in age.  Most of the surgery candidates are older and have lax droopy eyelids.  There are some young patients who have an inherited tendency with changes around the eyes visible even in their 20’s who may seek and be good candidates for surgery.
     
  • Will a scar be visible?
    For upper lid blepharoplasty a fine line is present that corresponds to an existing skin crease.  Good surgery should render this impossible to see with the eyes open or with blinking but the incision line will be just visible on close inspection with eyes shut and in good lighting.
     
  • Can I have surgery under local anaesthetic?
    Local anaesthetic is an excellent and preferred option for most patients undergoing upper lid blepharoplasty.  It allows patients to avoid the issues that might occur with general anaesthesia and affords a more rapid recovery.  For lower lid blepharoplasty surgery, general anaesthesia is usually necessary as the surgery is too uncomfortable under local anaesthesia.
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FAQs Chin Aumentation

  • Will I bruise or swell?
    Minor swelling is expected for the first week.  This is often hard to see after two or three days.  In many patients no bruising is evident.  In others, some bruising comes out along the chin line a few days after surgery.
     
  • How long will I have to have off work?
    Most patients are able to return to work quite soon, often within 2 or 3 days.  I would advise setting aside a week to be on the safe side.
     
  • What and when can I eat after surgery?
    I advise patients to have a soft diet for the first few days as there is an internal incision line on the inside of the lip in front of the lower teeth.  Eating can start immediately following surgery.
     
  • Can I play contact sports after chin augmentation?
    This should be okay for most patients but they would need to be aware that there is a slight risk of implant displacement if struck heavily on the chin.  The risk of this is quite low however.  
     
  • Should I see a maxillofacial surgeon for my chin surgery?
    Patients who have significant malocclusion (an upper and lower jaw bite that does not meet) should see a maxillofacial surgeon for consideration of orthognathic surgery.  This helps align the teeth and at the same time maxillofacial surgeons are able to perform bone cuts to the lower jaw to help advance the chin.  This is a more complex surgery than insertion of a chin implant but is more appropriate in some patients.
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FAQs Face Lift

  • How much time will I need to take off work after surgery?
    The period of recovery depends on the extent of the facelift.  For patients with mild to moderate ageing changes  a short incision lift often suffices.  This surgery results in minimal bruising and facial swelling.  In my experience many of these patients have been able to return to relatively normal activities within two or three days and to fulltime employment within a week.  The recovery time does vary however and I would advise all patients to set aside a week to be sure.  Like all facial surgery, swelling is worst on about day three and then rapidly regresses.
     
  • Will scars be visible?
    Yes scars will be visible on close inspection. If placed carefully and if the wounds are closed without any tension then incision lines from facelift surgery are usually very difficult to see.  Every effort is made to disguise these in existing facial creases or by utilising natural curves in adjacent structures such as the ear.  The aim of a successful facelift is for friends and family to not be able to recognise that surgery has been performed and in most cases this is a realistic aim.
     
  • Will the effects of surgery last?
    Patients typically look about ten years younger after facelift surgery.   Naturally the ageing changes in the body continue and so they will look older over time but the effect of surgery should be carried for the rest of their life.  
     
  • Can surgery be repeated?
    Revision surgery can be performed when ageing changes recur.  
     
  • Do I have to stop smoking?
    Smoking is a high risk factor for necrosis (loss of blood supply) of the skin flap and therefore smoking is an absolute contraindication for facelift surgery.
     
  • Do I have to have surgery in hospital?
    A full facelift procedure is generally performed in hospital.  I perform a short incision (MACS) facelift under local anaesthetic in our theatre at Specialists at NINE, usually with some light oral sedation to help relax the patient.  Patients are generally able to return home within an our of surgery and return the next day for bandage removal.
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FAQs Grommets

  • Do grommets require general anaesthetic?
    Most patients undergoing grommet insertion are children and therefore require a full general anaesthetic.  However this is a light anaesthetic and the procedure is quite brief.  In most instances patients are home within an hour of surgery and are able to return to school and normal sporting activities immediately.  
     
  • Can I swim after grommets are inserted?
    I usually advise patients to avoid swimming for a week after surgery.  When swimming is resumed most patients can do so without wearing ear plugs as long as they swim within a metre of the surface.  Swimming does not seem to cause discharge from the ears in most patients who have had grommets inserted.  
     
  • Can I shower or bath without ear plugs?
    Soap allows water to more easily enter the middle ear through the grommet and therefore I advise patients not to put their head under the water in the bath if the water is soapy and for parents to wash their hair with a cup.  Alternatively they can stand under a shower and wash their hair in most cases without ear plugs.  
     
  • Do grommets have to be removed?
    On rare occasions grommets are removed.  Usually they last about 12 months but occasionally will last a number of years, during which time the patients have generally outgrown their middle ear problems and do not require grommets any more.  Perhaps 2-3% of children have grommets removed.
     
  • Do grommets need to be repeated?
    About one in six children have more than one set of grommets inserted.  Most of these children have had an early onset of middle ear problems and have had grommets inserted at a young age.  
     
  • How many times can grommets be inserted?
    There is no rule regarding this.  Some children will require multiple sets of grommets over time.
     
  • Can grommets damage the ear drum?
    Grommets can in some children weaken the ear drum locally at the site of insertion.  This is usually not a long term problem but may on occasion result in a persistent hole at the grommet site, following grommet extrusion.  There is about a 1-2% risk of this with the risk varying according to the grommet type used.  Certain grommets will last for a long time but have a higher rate of residual drum perforation and are only used in selected cases. Perforations can be closed with an operation when a child is older.
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FAQs Otoplasty

  • Will the scar be visible?
    The scar will be visible on close inspection but is hidden in the groove behind the ear. As long as healing is satisfactory it is usually very difficult to see, particularly as the ear has been turned backwards, making this area less obvious.  
     
  • Will I have a dressing after surgery?
    I use a pressure head bandage for 24-48 hours following which I advise patients to wear some light head gear such as a beanie at night when they sleep or a towelling tennis head band for a period of 3-4 weeks after surgery.
     
  • Can I play sport after otoplasty?
    Contact sports are allowed after otoplasty but I encourage the use of head gear at least in the first year after surgery to be on the safe side.  
     
  • What is the recovery time?
    For most patients the ear simply appears slightly swollen after surgery for the first 4-5 days, following which it is hard to see that surgery has been performed.  Bruising is usually minimal if any and often children are able to return to school within 3-4 days of surgery.  I generally advise patients to give their children a week off school after surgery but earlier return is possible.
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FAQs Rhinoplasty

  • How old should I be to get my nose fixed?
    Generally it is best to wait until the cartilage and bone of the nose has stopped growing. In many patients this is around the age of 16 but will vary depending on the individual patient. At the other extreme more and more these days patients in their 60’s and even 70’s are undergoing some form of constructive nasal surgery.
     
  • Will insurance cover the procedure?
    Most insurance companies will not cover the costs of purely cosmetic surgical procedures. However if your surgery has a functional element, for example a deviated nasal septum with a blocked nose, then the costs related to this portion of your surgery will often be covered. In many cases this will cover half to two thirds of the overall cost of surgery. If surgery to the external portion of the nose is necessary to correct the nasal airway as well as undergoing septoplasty (septorhinoplasty) then the entire cost of the procedure may be covered.
     
  • Will ACC pay for my surgery?
    If there is a clear history of nasal trauma resulting in external deformity or obstruction of the nasal airway and if you have obtained an ACC number documenting this accident at the time of injury, then in most cases the cost of surgery privately is fully covered by ACC. Your initial consultation fee is also likely to be covered in this situation, as will the postoperative visits.
     
  • Will I have visible scars?
    Most of the incisions for rhinoplasty surgery are performed inside the nose and are hidden from view. Patients undergoing external rhinoplasty will have a very fine line across the base of their nose, which is almost invisible and is inconspicuously placed on the underside of the nose across the columella (link to glossary).
     
  • Can I wear glasses after surgery?
    It is preferable to avoid wearing glasses for at least 2-3 weeks following surgery as this may have an impact on the final position of the nasal bones.
     
  • Will I be able to blow my nose?
    Generally nose blowing is avoided on the day of surgery but from the first postoperative day I am usually quite happy for patients to blow their nose gently to clear blood and discharge from the nose.
     
  • Will I have packing in my nose?
    In most cases, packing is not used these days. However on occasion I sandwich the septum between two sheets of teflon to minimise postoperative swelling and to hold the septum in place. This will make the nose feel quite blocked until these are removed 5-7 days after surgery.
     
  • How much will the operation cost?
    The cost of rhinoplasty surgery varies depending on the length of surgery, which may last from 1-3 hours according to the complexity of the problem. Typical total costs vary between $9000-11000.
     
  • Am I being vain having this operation?
    Most people undergoing rhinoplasty surgery do not fit into our preconceived notions of plastic surgical patients. They are neither vain nor obsessed with surgery. They are frequently embarrassed by an obvious nasal deformity and quite rightly wish to have this corrected.
     
  • What drugs should I avoid taking before surgery?
    Any medication that has an anticoagulant effect, e.g. Aspirin or Warfarin, should be avoided. Your surgeon will advise on this before surgery. Note should be made that many herbal medicines have an anticoagulant effect and you should advise your surgeon if you are taking these.
     
  • Does it hurt after surgery?
    Surprisingly rhinoplasty surgery is not generally painful with patients’ main complaint often being a feeling of blockage and stuffiness for the week after surgery. Associated with this, it is usual to have some minor bleeding in the first few hours after surgery and some continued blood stained discharge from the nose for a week or two. In most cases simple pain relief is all that is required.
     
  • What happens if I do not like the result?
    The results seen in the initial postoperative period can be quite different to that noted 6-12 months after surgery. The swelling and bruising (usually minor) will obscure the final result. Studies indicate that even in the most experienced hands 5-10% of patients undergoing rhinoplasty surgery will require revision surgery. You should discuss any concerns that you have with your surgeon postoperatively but remember to be patient for a number of weeks before a final valid assessment can be made.
     
  • Do I have stitches?
    Internally multiple dissolving sutures are placed which do not require removal. If an external rhinoplasty approach has been performed there will be 4 or 5 tiny sutures across the columella, which will require removal 5-6 days postoperatively.
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