Approximately 221,000 people underwent rhinoplasty surgery in 2013, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That year, the procedure was ranked No. 2 in the Top 5 cosmetic surgeries performed.
However, did you know that rhinoplasty is not merely a cosmetic procedure? It can also be performed to improve the function of your nose and the quality of your breathing.
The Nasal Structure
Your nose is made up of cartilage and bone. The cartilage provides structure and shape to the outside of your nose, while the nasal bones provide an anchor and support for the cartilage. There are also cartilages and bones deep inside your nasal cavity that provide support for the sinuses and olfactory nerves in addition to keeping the nasal passage stable for breathing. Functional rhinoplasty makes corrections to these small internal structures to help you breathe better.
Common Internal Corrections
The most common treatment involved in functional rhinoplasty is correcting a deviated septum, or a septoplasty. The septum is the wall inside your nose that separates the left and right nasal passages. Air flows through these passages as you breathe in and out. However, if the septum is bent, broken, twisted, or deformed in some way, this can limit your breathing through one or both passages. A septoplasty involves straightening out the septum and removing blockages to the airway using a variety of surgical techniques.
Another common correction is a turbinate reduction. Within the nasal cavity are turbinates, mucous-covered membranes of bone. These membranes act like shelves inside the nose and are important in trapping contaminates that you may breathe in. They also moisten and warm air as it is drawn into the lungs. There are three turbinates stacked on top of one another: superior, middle, and inferior. The inferior turbinate is the most common cause of nasal obstruction due to its size and propensity to become enlarged when stimulated by environmental surroundings. A turbinate reduction procedure involves removing some of the membrane to improve the flow of air through the nasal cavity.
A third common treatment in functional rhinoplasty is the removal of nasal polyps. These are benign growths that appear in the cavity and nasal passages.
Common External Corrections
When airway obstruction is especially serious, internal corrections may not be sufficient enough to correct the problem. In this case, external treatments can be used to restructure the nasal framework as a whole. The typical treatment involves repairing a nasal valve collapse.
The nasal valve is the narrowest part of the nasal passage. It is lined with membranes that can expand or shrink as you breathe, which regulates the airflow and maximize the efficiency of air filtration through the nose. If the valve collapses due to injury, illness, aging, or simply naturally thin noses, this can be reversed using individualized surgical techniques that conform to the anatomy, contour, and tissue strength of the patient’s nose. With this particular procedure, it isn’t always possible to maintain a cosmetically desirable nose, so it’s important for cosmetic rhinoplasty surgeons to be aware of the potential for airway obstructions when performing cosmetic procedures.
Additional Benefits of Functional Rhinoplasty
- These procedures can often be performed at the same time as cosmetic rhinoplasty procedures, which increases the likelihood of a successful surgery and patient satisfaction with the result
- The procedures described above are typically very simple and have a short recovery time
- Health insurance can be used to finance functional rhinoplasty procedures, which is usually not an option for purely cosmetic procedures
Schedule a Consultation With Us Today!
Ran Y. Rubinstein, MD of Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC has been practicing as a facial plastic surgeon of Hudson Valley, New York, for a decade and a half. The doctor effectively applies his expertise in medicine and aesthetics to treat patients’ function and form. The doctor is dual board-certified through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. When he is not operating on patients, Dr. Rubinstein is an Assistant Professor at New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
Visit the doctor’s Hudson Valley location for a thorough consultation, including imaging the Canfield VECTRA 3D system. The program allows patients a multifaceted view of their potential results. The system is equally useful during postoperative appointments where the results can be recoded with an unmatched level of precision. Call Dr. Rubinstein’s office today at (845) 863-1772 to set up your initial appointment, or fill out a Patient Consultation Request Form.