You probably already know that a nose job, known as rhinoplasty, can improve the shape and proportion of your nose, as well as your overall facial appearance. What you may not know, however, is that rhinoplasty is also commonly performed to enhance airflow in certain patients who have difficulty breathing through their noses. The inability to breathe through your nasal passages can be caused by structural malformations or from a previously broken nose – both of which can be addressed through surgery. This blog discusses how rhinoplasty can be used to correct breathing issues while also improving the appearance of a patient’s nose.
What Causes My Breathing Issues?
The most common cause of nasal breathing issues is a deviated septum. This structure divides the nasal cavity and, when deviated (whether through injury or inherited trait), causes blockage on one side of the nose. This can be corrected with a procedure called an endonasal septoplasty, which is purely functional and in most cases will not alter the appearance of the nose. However, it is also addressed during a cosmetic rhinoplasty surgery, which will not only re-contour the external structures of the nose but will also correct any internal deviation.
Other patients experience internal or external nasal valve collapse with nasal breathing that compresses the nostrils and limits air flow. Valve collapse pinches the nasal openings to a degree too small for air to successfully flow through. This becomes especially problematic during moments of physical exertion, such as routine exercise, when breathing naturally becomes heavier. Many choose rhinoplasty for alleviating nasal valvular collapse, which can re-open the passageway and facilitate free and easy breathing.
Facial trauma can also cause nasal issues. If you have broken your nose you may notice changes in your appearance, as well as an inability to breathe through one or both nostrils. When you undergo a reconstructive rhinoplasty to address these changes and restore the shape of your nose, you will also regain the ability to breathe freely.
A third issue with can be addressed during rhinoplasty is enlarged turbinates. Turbinates are bony structures covered with tissue that line the internal nasal sidewall. Their function is to warm, humidify, and clean the air that we breathe. The turbinates will naturally change size in response to certain environmental factors. Persistent enlargement of these structures can be caused by allergies, irritants, or chronic sinus inflammation, and can prevent the normal flow of air. The turbinates can safely, and effectively, be reduced during rhinoplasty to further improve nasal breathing.
What Will Happen During My Rhinoplasty?
All our surgical plans for rhinoplasty are fully customized to each patient by one of our highly-skilled surgeons. After examining your nose and discussing your concerns during your consultation, we can develop a treatment strategy. We want to thoroughly understand both your aesthetic concerns as well as the exact issue that is causing your breathing difficulty. Together we use these to develop a unique surgical plan to meet all of your specific needs.
You will be under general anesthesia during the procedure. Depending on your unique surgical plan, we will either make the incisions exclusively on the inside of the nose (endonasal rhinoplasty) or in conjunction with a small, external incision on the undersurface of the nose (open rhinoplasty). This provides access that will allow us to reshape the inner structures of the nose to improve both appearance and breathing function.
What is Recovery From Rhinoplasty Like?
After surgery, a splint will be placed to protect your nose as it heals. You can expect some bruising and swelling for the first week or so; the extent of these symptoms depends on the changes made during surgery. You will be given clear instructions on how to care for your nose as it heals; it is important to follow these to maximize healing and protect your overall aesthetic outcome. You may also be given a prescription for medication to enhance your comfort for the first few days after your procedure. Generally, patients are able to return to work and regular activities one to two weeks after their surgery.
If you are experiencing problems breathing through your nose, a rhinoplasty may be the recommended solution for you. Whether you have accompanying aesthetic concerns, call 860.676.2473 to schedule your consultation and find out if a rhinoplasty is right for you.