Many patients seen in consultation are concerned about not only the appearance of their nose but also difficulties with breathing. This is where a functional rhinoplasty comes in.
A functional rhinoplasty corrects the anatomical anomalies that caused impaired breathing. Many of these anomalies are congenital in nature. In these cases, patients cannot remember an inciting event or trauma. They also recall always having difficulties with breathing through their nose. However a large number are trauma related or postsurgical.
The following are a few of the most common causes of breathing obstruction that can be corrected during a cosmetic rhinoplasty
- Septal Deviation: the midline osseocartilaginous wall that separates the nostrils can be deviated and cause a mechanical obstruction of the airway
- Internal valve incompetence: a narrowing in the airway in the area of the midvault, resulting in a dynamic obstruction with inspiration.
- External valve incompetence: weakness of the tip cartilages of the nose resulting in collapse with inspiration
- Bony obstruction: usually a traumatic or postoperative finding, where the nasal bones are infractured and cause a mechanical obstruction.
- Turbinate hypertrophy: enlarged middle turbinates resulting in reduced airflow.
The first step in evaluating obstruction is a thorough history and exam. The evaluation will also address cosmetic concerns, including the existence of a dorsal hump, droopy or bulbous tip, or wide ala or bridge.
Once the cause of the obstruction is identified, a plan can be made to correct the obstruction as well as the cosmetic concerns
A functional rhinoplasty takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. Following you will have splints inside and on the nose to help avoid swelling and lead to a quicker recovery. You will need to give yourself 1 week to recover. During this week you will rest with your head elevated, and refrain from any strenous activity. You will have these splints in place for 1 week. After this week the splints are removed and you will notice immediately the improved shape and breathing of the nose. As swelling further decreases in the ensuing weeks, these should only improve.
Cost for a functional rhinoplasty that includes both cosmetic and functional issues can sometimes be defrayed partially with insurance coverage.
Visit us at Thomassen Plastic Surgery to see how a functional rhinplasty can improve your breathing and nose aesthetics.
You can see multiple before and after photos in our gallery.
Share this Post