The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has rhinoplasty listed as the third most widely performed cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States. Rhinoplasty is often referred to colloquially as a “nose job.” The only procedures that are more common than rhinoplasty are liposuction and breast augmentation.
Rhinoplasty is a challenging procedure due to the difficulty of ensuring that the nose functions properly without affecting its appearance. Rhinoplasty may be performed to help with a person’s breathing or it may be done purely for cosmetic reasons, to improve their appearance. Problems that affect the way a person breathes include nasal obstruction.
The appearance and function of the nose are closely linked, so that any cosmetic changes can affect how well the nose does its job. Changing how a person’s nose looks can affect their breathing negatively. Similarly, a procedure to improve their breathing can affect the way that the nose looks. The area of rhinoplasty that is concerned with the how the nose works is called functional rhinoplasty.
About Nasal Obstruction
Causes of nasal obstruction include natural issues, issues due to trauma and issues resulting from having a previous rhinoplasty performed.
Symptoms of nasal obstruction include a reduction in a person’s sensitivity to smell, congestion and dry mouth. Some secondary symptoms include sleep disturbance, nosebleeds and sinus headaches. If the nasal obstruction is not treated, these symptoms may worsen and result in insomnia and hypertension. It is possible for untreated nasal obstruction to cause heart disease over time.
Types of Nasal Obstruction
- Deviated Septum – The septum is the sheet that separates the right and left sides of the nose. It consists of cartilage. The septum is not usually straight, which means that in most cases there will be some amount of bending from one side to the other. That bend should be corrected if it is significant enough to block the flow of air. Various surgical techniques may be used to straighten the septal partition which will open up blocked airways.
- Chronic Turbinate Enlargement – The turbinates serve as the nose’s humidifiers. The turbinates consist mostly of nasal mucosa and will swell under normal circumstances, such as if a person is suffering from severe allergies. They can become chronically enlarged and restrict an individual’s breathing ability. If the turbinate tissues have become overgrown, some will have to be removed surgically. Due to the important function of this tissue, the surgeon will usually avoid removing all of it.
- Collapse or Narrowing of the Middle Vault – The term “middle vault” refers to the sides of the nose. If the sides of the nose collapse inward when the person inhales deeply, this can restrict their breathing. It is referred to as middle vault collapse and may be corrected with rhinoplasty. This can be done by grafting cartilage from the ear in most cases, or from the ribs in extreme cases.
Because the nose is so crucial to both to breathing and to a person’s appearance, it is important to choose a plastic surgeon with experience in rhinoplasty – like Dr. John Bull. That way, they will know how to address the patient’s functional and aesthetic concerns. To schedule your appointment, contact The John Bull Center today or stop by our Naperville, IL office.