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Functional Rhinoplasty Table of Contents

What is functional rhinoplasty?

Functional rhinoplasty is a nose surgery that addresses nasal structural concerns with the nose. This surgical procedure repairs the functionality of the internal nasal passages to allow for easier breathing, improved sleep, and a range of other positive results and benefits. Functional rhinoplasty can be performed alone. However, at the same time as a functional rhinoplasty is performed, cosmetic alternations can also be made to enhance the appearance of the nose. Dr. Weber performs over 150 rhinoplasty procedures each year. Of those, about 50 patients present with breathing issues that are repaired as part of the cosmetic rhinoplasty. However, another 50 of those patients have functional nasal issues that they’re not aware of prior to surgery but Dr. Weber is able to address those concerns during the rhinoplasty procedure. Overall, about ⅔ of the rhinoplasty procedures performed by Dr. Weber each year involve some functional improvement including septoplasty, nasal valve repair, straightening of the nose or turbinate reduction.

What concerns can be addressed with functional rhinoplasty?

  • Sleep apnea - functional rhinoplasty can improve the effectiveness of CPAP devices
  • Whistling sounds when you breathe - septoplasty or septal perforation repair can “calm” the nasal airflow
  • Obstructed breathing
  • Continuous nasal or sinus infections - in some cases functional rhinoplasty can improve sinus drainage but in most cases a dedicated sinus surgery is also required
  • Nasal trauma from injuries or similar
Closeup of a woman's nose highlighting rhinoplasty in Denver

What are the benefits of functional rhinoplasty?

Functional rhinoplasty can, in many cases, provide the following benefits for patients with nasal concerns:

  • Better breathing through the nose
  • Reduced snoring
  • A straighter nose
  • Repaired nose trauma
  • Restored nasal structure
  • Improvement in some sinus issues (infections, pressure, pain)
  • Smoother, quieter nasal breathing
  • Can be combined with cosmetic techniques to improve the nasal shape and size

Who is a candidate for functional rhinoplasty?

Patients who have difficulty breathing due to irregular or damaged nasal structures are typically candidates for functional rhinoplasty. Ideal candidates for this surgery should meet the following requirements for surgery:

  • Are in good health
  • Do not have any serious medical issues
  • Are not taking or can safely stop taking blood-thinning medications or supplements
  • Do not smoke
  • Have realistic expectations about what functional rhinoplasty can achieve

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What happens during functional rhinoplasty surgery?

Functional rhinoplasty surgery is performed while you are under general anesthesia. In most cases, incisions will be made inside the nostril. If the surgical plan requires more significant work, a small incision will be made at the base of the nose to improve access to the internal structures. External incisions are made precisely and are carefully hidden so that the resulting scar is imperceptible once it heals.

Depending on which technique Dr. Weber uses, your surgical procedure will vary. Typically, portions of cartilage and bone are removed to allow easier breathing, while sufficient cartilage remains behind for adequate structural support.

In other cases, cartilage may need to be grafted to provide support where it is lacking. Grafts may be taken from the nasal cavity, the ear, or even the rib. However, in 99% of primary rhinoplasty procedures, adequate cartilage is obtained from the septum without any additional surgery on other parts of the body. If additional reshaping of nasal cartilage is required, this is achieved with sutures or other methods.

Once the surgical procedure is complete, the nose is splinted and a cast is applied.

Recovery after functional rhinoplasty

You will be able to return home with a family member or friend after your surgery is complete and you’re awake. You will need one to two weeks of downtime to recover. Expect discomfort, swelling, and bruising during this period of time. Get plenty of rest, and sleep with your head elevated. Use pain medication as directed by Dr. Weber, and apply cold compresses around your nose and eyes. Do not exert yourself or exercise for at least one week.

After about one week, your cast and splints will be removed. Many people feel comfortable returning to work in one week, but keep in mind that recovery time varies from person to person.

After the swelling decreases in the first couple of weeks, residual nasal swelling will slowly continue to reduce over several months.

Why choose Dr. Weber for functional rhinoplasty?

Dr. Weber is a world-renowned, double-board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon. Because his sole focus is facial surgery, he is a top surgeon of choice for patients who want to trust their nose to a true expert. Dr. Weber is known for excellence in results, patient satisfaction, and compassionate care. He understands how difficult it can be to experience difficulty with the function of your nose, and he can help. Please call today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Weber and learn more about functional rhinoplasty.

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