Functional Rhinoplasty in Newport Beach, CA
When people hear the term ‘rhinoplasty,’ they assume cosmetic surgery. The term simply means to change the shape of the nose. It can be for both aesthetic and functional reasons. I am a big believer that form follows function so if you make the nose function appropriately, the appearance will also improve.
If you look at the external anatomy of the nose, it is divided roughly into two parts. The upper portion is composed of the nasal bones, and the lower portion (which is softer) is the septum and nasal cartilage structure. The nasal bones are what people concentrate on when they have an injury to the nose, but in reality, the cartilage portion composes the majority of breathing issues. It is straightforward to improve broken nasal bones. When the cartilage structure becomes bent or broken, surgical repair is much more difficult. This is where I perform a significant amount of revision surgery because many surgeons do not adequately address this area.
There are two main areas of blockage in the nose. The first is the septum and the second is the support on the side. (Please see ‘septoplasty’ (hyperlink) for further information on the septum.) The side supports are called the upper lateral cartilages and make up the middle vault of the nose. These are the pieces of cartilage that support the side of the nose just below the nasal bones. This is an area that is targeted by breathe right nasal strips. The goal of the strips is to hold the sides open as you take a breath in. There is generally a dynamic collapse of the side of the nose on normal deep inspiration, but in some instances that collapse leads to obstructive feelings. When this area is too narrow, it can be surgically corrected by placing thin pieces of cartilage to open it up. These are called spreader grafts. They are placed inside the nose to open the middle vault. They do cause the width to increase by a few millimeters but generally this improves the cosmetic appearance.
There are many other maneuvers and grafting techniques that can be utilized in a functional rhinoplasty. Each of these would be discussed at a personalized consultation.