What is a Rhinoplasty?

Medical terms used for nasal surgery can be confusing. For instance, a “rhinoplasty” is the same as a “nose job” or “nasal reshaping surgery”. Patients often think they had a septoplasty when they actually had a rhinoplasty. The following list is an attempt to clarify some of these terms.

what is a rhinoplasty

Nasal reshaping from a rhinoplasty

How are Rhinoplasty and Septoplasty different?

Rhinoplasty is surgery to change the structure of the nose. Rhinoplasty can improve the appearance of the nose, improve breathing, or both. Septoplasty involves straightening the nasal septum (cartilage and bone that divide the inside of the nose) to improve breathing.

deviated septum surgery catscan

Cat scan of deviated septum needed to be straightened through a septoplasty procedure

Septorhinoplasty is a procedure to both change the structure of the nose and straighten the nasal septum. Inferior Turbinoplasty involves reducing the size of the  turbinates (lateral, tissue-covered bony structures on both sides of the nasal cavity) to improve breathing.

What is the difference between a closed and open rhinoplasty?

With a Closed Rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes incisions inside the nostrils to provide access to the internal structures of the nose. With an Open Rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes incisions across the underside of the nose and inside the nostrils to provide access to the same internal nasal structures.

What is the difference between a primary rhinoplasty and a revision rhinoplasty?

A Primary Rhinoplasty is the patient’s first surgery to change the structure of the nose. When there has been no previous surgery inside the nose and structures are intact, there is a better chance for a successful outcome. A Revision Rhinoplasty is any additional surgery to change the structure of the nose, whether for breathing or appearance.

What is the difference between a cosmetic rhinoplasty and a functional rhinoplasty?

A Cosmetic Rhinoplasty is performed for the purpose of improving the appearance of the nose. A Functional Rhinoplasty is performed to improve breathing.

cosmetic rhinoplasty before and after

Cosmetic rhinoplasty before & after

There are many additional terms that have been coined for rhinoplasty, but the main objective of any nose surgery is to have a nose that you find attractive, with breathing functioning as well as or better than before surgery. Doctors with Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) training have specialized knowledge of both the function and appearance of the nose. About ten percent of rhinoplasties will eventually require a revision. The best chance for patient satisfaction with both breathing and appearance is during the primary rhinoplasty.

What are the risk of rhinoplasty?

The mains risks of rhinoplasty are: bleeding, reaction to the anthesia, persistent nasal obstruction, not be pleased with the cosmetic result, infection, pain and bruising.  It is impossible to include all possible outcomes but you can click on the following to learn more about what rare risks include.  Following your doctors instructions and asking questions should reduce your likelihood of experiencing these post operative risks. Having a full understanding of rhinoplasty recovery timeline will aid in the healing process also.

What is the history of Rhinoplasty?

The origins of rhinoplasty are fascinating. Rhinoplasty techniques appear early on in recorded medical history, and nearly every part of the world has contributed to its development. Centuries of evolution account for why rhinoplasty is heralded as one of the most safe and effective surgeries today. (More)

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