The Difference Between Cosmetic & Functional Rhinoplasty
August 23, 2019
Rhinoplasty, or nose reshaping surgery, is a complex procedure that can meet a lot of different goals for different patients. And even though the nose is a relatively small part of the body that we operate on—think about tummy tuck and other contouring procedures that can affect much larger areas of the body—there are so many intricate elements that make up nasal structure that we can actually achieve very distinct results depending on the operation.
Our rhinoplasty patients are often seeking changes to the size or shape of the bridge of the nose, the nostrils, the nose tip, the structure of the septum, or any possible combination of the above. But their reasons for wanting these changes can be quite different. Let’s talk about why.
What is cosmetic rhinoplasty?
If we want to break it down to a very simplified foundation, we could say that cosmetic rhinoplasty primarily deals with the external shape of the nose. In these cases, we’re really focusing on the nose’s cosmetic appearance.
One typical concern for a lot of cosmetic rhinoplasty patients is asymmetry, where the nose points or tilts to one noticeable side of the face, creating an imbalance to their overall facial symmetry. Some patients are unhappy with the appearance of their nose tip, which may be the result of a bulbous nose tip, or its opposite, a pinched tip. Other patients choose cosmetic rhinoplasty to address the size or position of their nostrils.
Another really common concern is a noticeable bump on the dorsum. The dorsum is basically the length of the nose that extends from the bridge to the tip, and when a bump is noticeably present, it can change the proportion and balance of the face, especially when viewed in profile. Those who have the opposite concern, a dorsal dip or depression, may be able to achieve their preferred look thanks to soft tissue fillers, also known as a non-surgical nose job.
There are a number of different small, cosmetic changes that we can make that will help bring the nose into better harmony with the forehead, the eyes, the mouth and the chin.
Ok, so what is functional rhinoplasty?
As the name suggests, this kind of operation aims to address the way your nose functions. The procedure is more likely to address the internal structures of the nose, but sometimes it can incorporate the way the nose looks, too.
Since the nose plays such a major role in the way we breathe, it’s no surprise that this is a common functional concern. We might be looking at cases where the nasal passages are too narrow, or where the septum, the structure that separates the two nostrils, is “deviated” or crooked in one direction, leading to obstructed airways.
Other internal structures called turbinates help to humidify air and warm it as you breathe it in through the nasal passages. Unfortunately, they can become enlarged as a result of sinus infections or ongoing causes like hormones or allergies. Sometimes turbinate reduction is required to help open up the airways to allow the patient to breathe more easily.
Nasal obstruction can interfere with day-to-day life, contributing to problems with sleep (like snoring, sleep apnea and general sleep disturbance) and exercise, where you may not be able to inhale as deeply as needed with a high intensity work out.
If you want to correct these functional problems while also making adjustments to the appearance of your nose, we can help with that, too. It means you’ll only need one operation and one recovery.
We love making life easier, whether that means helping you breathe better, or helping you feel super confident from the inside out.