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How Rhinoplasty Can Help With Common Breathing ProblemsWhen most people think of a “nose job” the first thing that comes to mind is a purely cosmetic procedure used to improve the appearance of the nose. However, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping surgery) is an extremely versatile procedure that can make many positive changes in the appearance and/or function of the nose. Functional rhinoplasty is a popular and useful procedure that is used to resolve or at least improve common breathing problems and improve overall quality of life. But what kinds of defects and breathing problems can rhinoplasty solve, and is it a good option for you?

Common Breathing Problems

While there are many reasons people can have breathing problems, some causes are more common than others. Here are some of the more common problems that can occur, along with the ways they can be improved or even solved with functional rhinoplasty surgery.

Deviated Septum

An extremely prevalent nasal deformity, a deviated septum can range from very mild and nearly imperceptible to severe and significantly affecting nasal function. Nearly everyone has at least a slight deviation, or crookedness in the wall separating the nostrils (the septum), but it can greatly impact quality of life when the crookedness is severe. Rhinoplasty can be used to straighten out the septum for better breathing. In extreme cases of deviated septum, improving the problem can also improve nasal aesthetics.

Enlarged Turbinates

The turbinates are bony structures within the nose that protect the nose and filter and heat incoming air to make it more comfortable for the body to use. Sometimes, swelling in the turbinates is caused by allergies or other irritants, but enlarged turbinates can also be a chronic problem, which is often related to a deviated septum. Rhinoplasty can help normalize the size of the turbinates for more comfortable breathing.

Nasal Deformities

Nasal deformities can be present from birth, or they can be caused by traumatic injury or disease. Regardless of the cause, these deformities can cause breathing problems. The procedure will vary from patient to patient because this type of problem is so individual, and may require reconstructive techniques. Only a highly skilled and experienced surgeon has the flexibility and knowledge to take on this sort of case.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes the sufferer to stop breathing at intervals during sleep. These intervals determine the severity of the problem in the individual patient, and severe sleep apnea can greatly affect the quality of life of these patients. Sleep apnea interrupts the sleep cycle every time respiration ceases, which can lead to sleep deprivation and a whole host of issues that go with it. The problem is usually controlled with a breathing machine, but rhinoplasty can help some patients breathe better and reduce the severity of the issue. It is best to seek out a surgeon with expertise in both plastic surgery and ear, nose, and throat issues to perform this type of operation.

How It Works

Rhinoplasty today is typically performed using the “open” technique these days, which involves a small incision that runs across the small strip of skin separating the nostrils. This scar fades to be nearly invisible after recovery from the procedure is complete. The surgeon will remove and rearrange bone, cartilage, and skin to preserve the nasal structure and address any breathing problems. The surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia and sedation, but general anesthesia is available at the patient's request.


Recovery from rhinoplasty is much easier these days than it once was. Typically, nasal packing is no longer necessary, and only a splint must be worn for about a week. Patients are able to be social within about 2-3 weeks, with residual swelling fading over the year following rhinoplasty. Strenuous activity must be suspended for 3-6 weeks after surgery to prevent complications, including increased swelling and bruising.

Combining Benefits

When many people choose to move forward with functional rhinoplasty, they also elect to have cosmetic work done on the nose. This is a great opportunity for patients who have long had issues with their nasal aesthetics, as both problems can be addressed at once. This results in lower costs for patients and only one recovery period. However, patients seeking insurance reimbursement for functional rhinoplasty should be aware that cosmetic changes to the nose will not be covered, even when performed at the same time as functional rhinoplasty.

Choosing a Surgeon

When it comes to rhinoplasty, you should leave nothing to chance. Rhinoplasty is one of the most difficult procedures to perform, and only an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon will have the skills to give you the results you seek. If you would like to speak with an expert about your procedure, come to Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery and meet with our rhinoplasty expert, Dr. Haitham Masri. Dr. Masri is uniquely qualified for rhinoplasty, with over two decades of experience and triple board certification in plastic surgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), and sleep medicine.  To schedule your free consultation with Dr. Masri, call 866-487-3223 today to make an appointment at our Dearborn or Birmingham, MI locations.

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