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This one is about: What are Nasal Shapers?

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What are Nasal Shapers? One parent asks...

Here's a question. Our PS (Plastic Surgeon) was saying that Ryan will have nasal shapers in place after his lip repair next week. I meant to ask about them but we got side tracked on so many other things and then I forgot. What the heck are they? How do they work? How do they stay in? What are they for? (Is the name that obvious? Nasal shapers?...) Do they hurt? Are they uncomfortable? Can you see them? How do they take them out? Can they fall out?

Joanne Green responds:

Nasal shapers - or nasal stints - or nose cones - are little cone shaped devices that slip into the nostril and are worn for a week or two (sometimes longer, depending on the doctor) to help prop up the nasal cartilage while it is healing. Problems are that they come out easily and sometimes kids don't like them. I don't think they hurt - just 
uncomfortable with something sticking up your nose) Also, the effectiveness is controversial. None of my kids had them, yet you really can't see any difference in their healing than in that of a child who used them. If your doctor uses them, then you use them. If not, you don't.

Other parents write:

Sarah had little tiny tubes in her nostrils after lip surgery and they were held in with stitches. You could see the stitches on top of the nose over each nostril. You could see the tubes also if you looked into the nose. They didn't seem to bother her at all and stayed in for 2 weeks; they checked them at 1 week and if there was a problem they would have taken them out then. Otherwise they stay in for 2. A nurse just clipped the stitches in the office and took them out with tweezers. I think they only were uncomfortable if she bumped her nose on my shoulder, the mattress, etc. All my best to your son and may he have a wonderful repair and speedy recovery!

When Tommy (bilateral l&p) had his two lip repairs, he had two different types of what I suppose would be called nasal shapers. For the first surgery where they attempted to close both sides of his lip (came apart starting 4 days post op and finishing at 10 days), the small plastic tubes were used to try to give his nostrils some shape while everything was healing. They were held in place with a small orange bead which they sewed through the top of his nose. (I figure I'm ready for anything he is going to pierce in the future! :-) )

The second surgery where they closed the right side and did a little touch up on the left, they used different nasal shapers that were more of a force fit. I think they were lightly tied in but no beads.

I don't know how different his nostrils would be if they didn't use them but they are not flat: he can pick his nose :-).

Hope this helps.

Jade had the Nasal shaper (I didn't know there was a name for it), with her first lip repair. It was held in place by a little stitch, but the Doc took it out the next day. The following lip repair, (she had them done separately), he didn't use it at all.

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