Nasal obstructions can make breathing difficult but a skilled surgeon can use a rhinoplasty procedure to make breathing much easier.
Besides cosmetic rhinoplasty, which is for appearances only, there is another type of procedure known as functional rhinoplasty. In this surgery, the surgeon seeks to improve the function of your airway without changing the contours of the nose.
Some patients would fall into both categories. Many people have noses that are misshapen, which can cause abnormalities in nasal function.
Some common symptoms of airway obstructions include:
- Mouth breathing (particularly at night)
- Nasal congestion
- Reduced sense of smell
- Dry mouth
Side effects of airway obstructions include sleep disturbance, dysfunction of the Eustachian tube, sinus headaches, recurring sinus infections and nosebleeds. If the obstruction is not treated, you may develop obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension or insomnia.
Surgical Correction of Blocked Nasal Passages
In cases that are not complicated, a surgeon can restore proper nasal function by treating the internal passages, while not altering the exterior of the nose.
Nasal Septoplasty Surgery
This procedure was developed to correct occasions where the dividing wall between your nostrils is twisted, bowed or bent. This results in blocking of one or both passages. Septoplasty utilizes surgical techniques that straighten the partition and open up blocked airways. This procedure does not take long – usually a half hour or less – and recovery is not difficult.
Treating the External Nasal Framework
Eliminating blockages in the interior of airways works for many patients. If you have a more severe form of airway obstruction, your surgeon may operate on the external framework of your nose. If your nose is pinched, collapsed or deviated, the problem will not be cured with internal surgery alone.
In cases like these, your surgeon will use techniques of rhinoplasty to enlarge, reinforce and straighten the external nasal passages that are obstructed. This will give you an air passage that is unobstructed.
Collapse of Nasal Valves
Many cases of obstruction of external nasal airways are caused by the collapse of nasal valves. This area is the narrowest part of the airway, and it filters incoming air. The nasal valve normally will collapse during deep breathing, such as breathing during exercise. Otherwise, it remains open.
In noses that have been altered by aging, surgery, disease or injury, the skeletal support for the nasal valve is not adequate and you may develop valve collapse. There are a number of sophisticated techniques used in these cases, but no one procedure works for everyone. Techniques should be chosen based on your variations in nasal contour, tissue strength and anatomy.
Even if you would prefer a slender nose, you may have to be willing to accept the best your surgeon can do, while still allowing enough space for the passage of air. Cosmetic surgeons are also trained in the prevention of nasal valve collapse.
Improving the Function and Appearance of the Nose
Every year, thousands of people have nasal surgery. Some have it for cosmetic reasons, but other surgeries are used to correct breathing issues by removing obstructions. If you have these issues, consult a physician who is schooled in the function of nasal airways, as well as in plastic surgery. It is vitally important that the highest priority is efficient breathing.
Is Surgery an Option for People with Chronically Stuffy Noses?
If you suffer from recurring stuffy nose issues, you may have breathing problems that will not respond properly to standard treatments. When the blockage is related to nasal structure abnormalities, surgery may be a viable option.
There are many nasal obstruction causes, states ENTnet.org. The septum may be bent or crooked, due to injury or abnormal growth. This may cause blockage in one or both passages. Surgery to correct these problems is considered functional, rather than cosmetic. Some people have both types of surgery at the same time.
If you have questions about treating nasal obstructions with rhinoplasty make an appointment to see our rhinoplasty specialist.