When most people think of rhinoplasty or a “nose job”, it’s often from a cosmetic perspective. Many people do choose to undergo this surgery for the aesthetics alone. However, rhinoplasty isn’t always about how the nose looks. In fact, it’s often more about the way the nose functions. For thousands of people with breathing problems, functional rhinoplasty has changed their lives for the better. Could it do the same for you?

What is Functional Rhinoplasty?

There are two major types of rhinoplasty: cosmetic and functional. Functional rhinoplasty is mostly concerned with nasal function, including normal breathing. It is a surgical procedure that addresses problems with nasal function and breathing caused by structural problems, obstruction, or past trauma. The appearance of the nose may improve as a result of the surgery, especially during reconstructive procedures. However, that is not the primary goal of the surgery. Patients who undergo functional rhinoplasty can expect permanent improvement in their breathing.
This, in turn, can lead to enhanced quality of life. Unlike cosmetic rhinoplasty, this procedure is sometimes covered under medical insurance policies, though this is not always the case. Almost no insurance policy will cover any cosmetic changes made during the surgery. These must be paid out of pocket.

Who Should Get Functional Rhinoplasty?

Functional rhinoplasty can help correct a number of issues that cause breathing problems. But not all breathing issues can be addressed with surgery. The most common problem that functional rhinoplasty patients have is obstruction due to a deviated septum. This occurs when the wall dividing the nasal passages is crooked, causing uneven airflow. Many people go through life with a slightly deviated septum and never notice it.  A  severe case, though, can affect normal breathing significantly.

Other problems that functional rhinoplasty can help with include narrowing or collapse of the nostrils, genetic obstructive nasal deformities, and nasal injury causing poor ability to breathe through the nose. The only way to find out if you are a good candidate for functional rhinoplasty is to have an exam with your doctor or consult with a plastic surgeon.

The Procedure and Recovery

During the functional rhinoplasty procedure, many different techniques may be used. The surgeon may need to break and reset the nasal bones, graft cartilage to change internal structures, or even change the size and shape of the nostrils. Though many patients are wary of surgery, the truth is that rhinoplasty has come a long way over the years. While it is still a fairly in-depth surgery, the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.  Patients can have the surgery under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation, then head home for the healing process. Even better, the recovery is easier than most patients expect.  Most people are back at work within 1-2 weeks, and the results should last a lifetime.

A New Lease on Life

After your rhinoplasty, you won’t be able to notice the difference immediately. That’s because you’ll be going through the initial recovery. However, after the first few weeks, you should be able to breathe much more easily and comfortably than you did before. Still, some swelling will persist for many months. Many patients are amazed at how much improvement occurs after surgery and are delighted with the ease of breathing through their nose. For many patients, functional rhinoplasty offers a new lease on life. They find that breathing is easier, they have more endurance during exercise, and some even stop snoring! For people who have lived with difficult breathing their entire lives, the results can be revolutionary.

Designing Your Procedure

All prospective rhinoplasty patients should research before choosing a surgeon to perform the procedure. Rhinoplasty is a very challenging surgery as it involves many different types of tissue and techniques. It is a procedure best left to an experienced, board certified facial plastic surgeon who has the skill and finesse to help you reach your goals.

Each rhinoplasty procedure is unique. You will need to work closely with your surgeon prior to the procedure to design your surgery. If you are interested only in the function of your nose, it will be easier to customize your surgery. However, many patients take the opportunity to make cosmetic changes as well.

If you need some expert advice in Austin, TX, call Buckingham Center to schedule a consultation with Dr. Edward Buckingham. Dr. Buckingham is a board certified plastic surgeon who focuses solely on facial procedures.He is known for the natural results he gives patients and his skill in rhinoplasty procedures. For more information, call 512.401.2500 today.

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