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Plastic surgery is a surgical technique that is used to reconstruct and repair skin and tissue that is damaged, generally as a result of injury or illness.  If this is the case, then NHS nose surgery may be available.  A secondary objective of cosmetic surgery is to improve appearance, which is for cosmetic purposes only.  NHS nose surgery for cosmetic procedures is not available.

When is NHS Nose Surgery Available?

NHS nose surgery is only available if the treatment is to repair damage.  This damage can be caused by:
  • Birth defects and conditions that patients were born with
  • Illnesses that have affected the nose – for example a cancerous growth that has had to be removed, leaving scarring
  • Scarring because of accidents and injury, such as burns and vehicle accidents
NHS nose surgery can help in maintaining the tissue and structure of the nose and replace those parts that have been damaged or lost.  Furthermore, self esteem and confidence can be at an all time low if the nose has been severely damaged following illness or injury, which the NHS will take into consideration.

Risks Associated with NHS Nose Surgery

Of course, there are always risks associated with any type of surgery, including NHS nose surgery.  The main things influencing the amount of risk with surgery include how large the area is on which a procedure will take place, how experienced the surgeon undertaking the procedure is and the overall health of the patient.  If any skin grafting needs to be done to complete NHS nose surgery, there is an increased risk of infection.

Plastic Surgery or Cosmetic Surgery

These two types of procedures are not the same.  Cosmetic surgery is done by choice only and its main goal is to improve a person’s appearance.  NHS nose surgery is not available in this case.  Plastic surgery, however, is undertaken to reconstruct a person’s appearance and NHS nose surgery can be available if it can be demonstrated that the surgery is for reconstructive purposes and will generally increase the patient’s quality of life.  All surgeons performing NHS nose surgery are registered with a variety of professional associations and have been extensively trained.

It is your responsibility as a patient to be able to demonstrate that the surgery you are requesting is not for cosmetic purposes only and this is generally achieved by initially approaching your General Practitioner for a consultation about whether or not you may be a candidate for NHS nose surgery.

Although the acceptance criteria is incredibly strict, the NHS does recognise that certain forms of cosmetic surgery greatly improve a patient’s quality of life, both physically and mentally.  At times, it can be quite easy to demonstrate this, for example if you have had significant damage to the tissue of your nose following an illness or injury, such as a house fire or car accident to name but a few.  If this type of damage is less apparent, however, you may struggle to be able to demonstrate that you are a good candidate for NHS nose surgery. 

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