What is a Functional Rhinoplasty?

According to figures published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 243,000 rhinoplasty procedures were performed in 2012. In adolescents, aged 13 to 19, rhinoplasty is the most frequent surgery.

Functional rhinoplasty will combine reshaping techniques to remove nasal blockage and improve breathing.

Anesthetic, functional or mixed intervention

Due to its location on the face, the nose is a capital aesthetic structure. The majority of patients use this intervention in order to obtain a nose with a more attractive shape and in better harmony with their entire face. Many subjects can present a septal deviation without gene or functional consequences, but alas, it is not the same for everyone. Indeed, some candidates for rhinoplasty have the sole purpose of improving the respiratory function of the nose. Other candidates may also present a mixed gene: aesthetic and functional.

For the vast majority, breathing is a natural function, such as walking, talking, or chewing food, without any concern. For others, breathing can be a tedious task. Breathing difficulties can manifest during physical activities, requiring faster and more intense breathing, but also during sleep, with difficulty falling asleep, snoring, or sometimes morning headache.

A nasal deviation can sometimes be the cause of recurrent sinusitis due to the septoturbinal conflict (between the septum and the cones).

Significant effects, beyond simple aesthetics: breathing better

Rhinoplasty is a procedure that differs from other plastic surgery procedures because of the complex function of the nose, the aesthetic significance of the nose, and the technical challenges it poses for the surgeon.

The shape and function of the nose are, to some extent, related: a change in the anatomical structure of the nose can have adverse effects on breathing, and conversely, specific surgical techniques aimed at improving nasal breathing can affect the appearance of the nose.

Respiratory problems can be attributed to a deviation from the septum that can block the airways. The septum is cartilage that separates the right and left side of the nasal cavity. This cartilage is rarely perfectly straight for anyone. When the bends in the bulkhead nod significantly on either side, the passage of air on one or both sides can be blocked, resulting in difficult breathing. To correct a deviation from the septum, a small incision is made inside the nose. Excess bone and cartilage are removed to further open the airways.

Another possible cause of respiratory disorders is the existence of enlarged cones (bony membranes covered with mucous membranes located inside the nasal cavities and acting as a humidifier for the nose) whose chronic widening can obstruct the respiratory tract.

All of these factors can occur naturally or as a result of trauma.

The advancement of rhinoplasty techniques over the past few years has made it possible to obtain results that are most often satisfactory, and a surgeon accustomed to this type of intervention can usually correct the causes of respiratory disorders in a single intervention. Whether rhinoplasty is purely cosmetic or functional, it is important to choose a practitioner working with all aspects of the nose, either as a qualified cosmetic surgeon and registered with the council of the order of doctors, or as a specialist ENT doctor.