The Differences Between Cosmetic and Functional Rhinoplasty

One of the leading misconceptions of rhinoplasty is that it is only performed to improve the aesthetics of the nose. While cosmetic rhinoplasty is very popular among those who want a more attractive nose, functional rhinoplasty — which addresses nasal form abnormalities to improve breathing — is also commonly requested.

Leading nose surgeon Dr. Charles S. Lee of Enhance® Medical Center explores the distinctions between cosmetic rhinoplasty and functional rhinoplasty in this post.

What is Cosmetic Rhinoplasty?

As mentioned, the focus of cosmetic rhinoplasty is to improve the attractiveness of the nose, so it looks more harmonious in relation to the rest of the face. Patients seeking cosmetic rhinoplasty usually ask for adjustments to the size, shape, angle or features of the nose.

For example, a cosmetic rhinoplasty candidate may complain his or her nose is too large in proportion to the rest of the face, or that it looks crooked. Other complaints mentioned by candidates include being embarrassed by a drooping or upturned nasal tip, asymmetrical nostrils or a bump on the bridge of the nose.

Well-regarded for his rhinoplasty experience, Dr. Lee is skilled at making tweaks to refine the appearance of the nose and improve its balance with the eyes, mouth and chin. He understands that everyone’s idea of what is attractive differs, and he customizes every procedure to match the unique needs of the patient.

What is Functional Rhinoplasty?

The aim of functional rhinoplasty is to correct structural abnormalities of the nose that can impair breathing. These abnormalities may be congenital or result from an injury or trauma.

A functional rhinoplasty candidate may have narrow nasal passages that constrict the flow of air, or a deviated septum (i.e., a crooked piece of cartilage separating the nasal passages). Other candidates have enlarged turbinates — structures that purify and humidify air passing through the nostrils — that interfere with nasal airflow.

During functional rhinoplasty, Dr. Lee removes or repositions bone and/or cartilage to maximize the nasal airways. Many functional rhinoplasty patients find that with improved breathing function after surgery, they can also sleep better and experience less congestion and sinus infections.

Some Overlap Exists

Despite their differences, cosmetic rhinoplasty and functional rhinoplasty are not completely black and white. Nasal form and function are closely connected, and often a problem on the inside of the nose causes a visible imperfection. One of the best examples of this is a visibly crooked nose caused by a deviated septum.

With his extensive rhinoplasty experience, Dr. Lee is the perfect person to develop your unique rhinoplasty treatment plan. Upon evaluation of your nasal anatomy and a discussion of your needs, Dr. Lee will recommend a procedure that satisfies your rhinoplasty goals. Whether that includes cosmetic and/or functional elements, you are assuredly in talented hands.

To request a rhinoplasty consultation with Dr. Lee, please call or email Enhance® Medical Center today.

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