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.

The techniques used in functional rhinoplasty are not very different from the cosmetic rhinoplasty; so, the risks and healing process are generally the same. Although it is not considered as a cosmetic surgery, the preservation of the aesthetic appearance and internal structure of the nose is also important in functional rhinoplasty.

Patients pursuing cosmetic rhinoplasty usually see an appearance problem they want corrected. Functional rhinoplasty, however, is preferable for patients who want to have surgery only to breathe better, not because of cosmetic concerns. The most common problem is a blocked nose, which can be an occasional or persistent problem. Since there may be other medical problems underlying this problem, we will examine you to find all kinds of causes (such as allergies or sinus problems) and structural defects. What most patients, and even health insurance companies, don’t realize is whether the patient wants better function or a better appearance; because the techniques used in these surgeries and the healing process are the same.

Our approach is to understand the patient’s problems, relate them to the examination, and then make a surgical plan to provide a balanced, aesthetic appearance that is suitable for patient’s face. Every patient is unique, and the surgery also should be unique for any patient.

What is the difference between septum cartilage surgery and cosmetic rhinoplasty?

Septum cartilage surgery is performed only to correct the defect of the cartilage. In rhinoplasty, external nasal structures (that is, the nose you see when you look in the mirror) are operated. The nasal septum is an inner wall in the middle that separates the right and left sides of the nose, and it consists of both bone and cartilage. Deviated septum surgery (septoplasty) is usually combined with nose cosmetic surgery (rhinoplasty) and is used to treat all structural problems (septorhinoplasty).


If I am happy with the appearance of my nose, will the appearance of my nose change after functional rhinoplasty?

All rhinoplasty surgeries can affect the appearance of the nose. Even if it is not desirable to change the shape of the nose, surgery can create a slight change. Before the surgery, we explain you what changes may occur and whether they are noticeable or slight changes. In more serious problems, the nose is likely to change after the surgery. But our goal is to achieve a natural looking nose, not a straight, upturned, or thin nose.


What should I expect at the first examination?

At your first examination, your medical history is reviewed, and head and neck tests are done, including nasal endoscopy. Some additional tests such as allergy tests, examination of your sinuses with computed tomography may be required. If you have certain cosmetic concerns, you should tell them as well. A follow-up appointment is scheduled to review the results of tests performed or responses to medical treatment.


What to expect in the recovery process after functional rhinoplasty?

After the surgery, the internal and external stabilizers remain in the nose for a week. Then they are removed in the clinic. Bruises and swelling usually subside within a few weeks after surgery. Most patients do not need to use tampons. Patients should be ready to be away from work or school for 7-10 days. The first 6 weeks you will complete the initial stages of recovery, but it takes at least 12 months for you to fully recover.


What to do if you have had a nose surgery before?

If you have had surgery (cosmetic or not) before, bring the documents with you for us to review all medical records relating to that surgery. A revision rhinoplasty is often more complicated, but this does not mean that you cannot have surgery. Revision rhinoplasty is not a rare condition, and it occurs in 10-20% of patients.


How old do I have to be to have functional rhinoplasty surgery?

Most surgeons agree that women should wait until the age of 17 and men until the age of 18, for nose to reach its adult size. There is no other age restriction. However, surgery can be risky for elderly patients depending on the medical conditions they can have.

Does health insurance cover cosmetic surgery?

Health insurance companies do not typically cover cosmetic procedures. However, operations performed to correct breathing function or major deformities may be partially or completely covered by your insurance.