You may never have considered rhinoplasty (nose reshaping surgery) if you’re happy with how your nose looks, but unlike most plastic surgeries,rhinoplasty often involves functional improvements as well as aesthetic changes. There are many reasons that people seek rhinoplasty, but some of these are not as obvious as others. While breathing issues are often quite recognizable, some people have functional nasal issues that may not be apparent due to when they exhibit these symptoms: while sleeping. So what are some of these nighttime breathing problems, and how does rhinoplasty relate?

Sleep Disorders and Why They Occur

Sleep disorders and trouble breathing at night can be quite serious, causing sleep deprivation and a whole host of other health problems. Quality sleep is extremely important to overall health, and nasal obstruction can hinder the sleep cycle. Common problems contributing to chronic sleep issues include:

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that involves intermittent pauses in breathing throughout sleep. People with sleep apnea stop breathing on and off during the sleep cycle, which can be very serious depending on the patient. Heart problems and other health concerns can occur if the condition is not treated in time. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea, and is caused by the relaxation of muscles at the back of the throat. When the throat closes and breathing ceases in this way, the brain signals the body to wake up, in order to take in air again. This can happen as many times an hour for serious cases of sleep apnea, and is usually so short in each instance that the sufferer will not remember it. This is part of why it is easy for sleep apnea to go undiagnosed for long periods of time.

Treatment of sleep apnea generally starts with the patient using a special breathing device known as a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)machine. CPAP machines require the use of a facial mask to deliver air into the nose and aid nighttime breathing for better sleep. While these produce marked improvement for many patients, they are often inconvenient to use and maintain, with many people having trouble adjusting to sleeping with a mask on.


An extremely common problem that usually affects more than just the sufferer, snoring can cause sleepless nights for spouses and partners, and signals minor nasal obstruction in the snorer. Generally, snoring is not a terribly serious problem, but it can be annoying and detrimental if it is severe or affects light sleepers. It can also be a symptom of more serious problems, like sleep apnea.

Deviated Septum

While deviated septum does not cause a sleep disorder per se, it can certainly contribute to poor sleep quality by obstructing breathing during the night. A deviated septum occurs when the septum (wall dividing the nasal passages) is crooked, causing the nasal passages to be of different sizes. Many people have deviation to a mild degree, but more severe cases can cause serious breathing issues.

Rhinoplasty for Relief

For many people struggling with sleep problems, solutions can be difficult, frustrating, and inconvenient. If you think you have sleep apnea or your partner is complaining about severe snoring, it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor about your breathing issues.

Once you’ve determined the cause of your breathing problems, you might consider rhinoplasty as a solution. While the surgery does require some recovery time, the results are permanent and can provide varying levels of relief for common nasal obstruction problems. Rhinoplasty has only recently been shown to be a good option for some people with sleep apnea.

Treatment with rhinoplasty involves changes to the nasal structure to remove obstructions and promote better breathing. Deviated septum correction is a common request in rhinoplasty surgery. The rhinoplasty procedure can involve only functional concerns, or it can be combined with cosmetic rhinoplasty, an added benefit that many patients take advantage of. The only drawback to a combined procedure is that the cosmetic changes are never covered by insurance, while in some cases, functional correction will be covered. In these cases, patients are required to pay for the cosmetic portion of the procedure out of pocket.

Learn More

If you are interested in undergoing nasal surgery to help with sleep apnea, snoring, or another sleep-related disorder, then you will need to seek help from a facial plastic surgeon who is well-versed in the form and function of the nose. Only a board certified surgeon is qualified to perform the procedure, and few surgeons have the combination of skills needed to produce improvement in breathing while maintaining or improving the beauty of the nose. Because of this, it is important to take your time in choosing your surgeon, and do careful research.

When you are ready to meet with surgeons, consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Edward Buckingham, of Buckingham Center in Austin, Texas. Dr. Buckingham is a board certified, highly experienced, and skilled facial plastic surgeon who is standing by to help you plan your procedure. Call today to schedule your consultation.

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