Nose Surgery: Not Just for Looks

January 16, 2014


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By Kahlil Andrews MD – Follow me on +

Screen-Shot-2014-11-18-at-12.00.53-PMNose surgery, also known as rhinoplasty, is primarily known for its ability to change the outward appearance of the nose. Functional rhinoplasty is a procedure that focuses on the function of the nose rather than its looks. Functional rhinoplasty can remove breathing obstruction or correct a structural defect. In some cases, functional rhinoplasty is combined with cosmetic rhinoplasty, to create a fully functioning nose with a new appearance as well.

Reasons for Functional Rhinoplasty
There are a number of specific reasons why functional rhinoplasty might be recommended, including:

Obstructed Breathing
Patients that suffer from obstructed breathing due to nasal abnormalities may have symptoms like dry mouth, reduced sense of smell or nasal congestion. These patients may also experience frequent sinus infections, nosebleeds or sinus headaches. Obstructed breathing can be treated with functional rhinoplasty if the obstruction is due to structural blockages inside the nose.

Internal Nasal Passage Treatment
Functional rhinoplasty may be recommended if there are structural problems with the internal nasal passages. Examples might include a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates or nasal polyps. The specific procedure will vary based on the type of concern that will be addressed.

External Nasal Passage Treatment
Noses that have external, as well as internal, defects may require more extensive surgery to correct those external concerns. Nasal valve collapse, affecting the narrowest portion of the nasal passageway, is the most common example of a defect requiring this type of treatment.

Benefits of Combined Procedures
In some cases, patients may be dissatisfied with the appearance of the nose as well as the impaired function. These patients may want to combine functional and cosmetic rhinoplasty into a single surgical procedure. There are advantages to “killing two birds with one stone” in this case, including:

• Patients only require one surgery and one round of anesthesia
• Patients only have to recover from surgery once
• Results of the surgery work together for harmonious appearance and function

In addition, combining functional rhinoplasty with a cosmetic procedure may qualify you for insurance coverage for at least part of your surgery. Most insurance companies will cover rhinoplasty performed for functional purposes, but will not cover procedures done for strictly cosmetic reasons. You may need to pay for the portion of the surgery that is considered cosmetic, but it could be significantly less than paying for the entire procedure outright.

If you are experiencing breathing difficulties and suspect your nose is the culprit, call Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa, Plastic Surgery today. Our staff can provide you with a full assessment of your breathing concerns and recommend the best course of treatment for both functional and cosmetic results.

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