Not all rhinoplasty procedures are cosmetic in nature. Although many people choose to undergo a rhinoplasty to alter and improve the appearance of their nose, there are times when function outweighs cosmetic concern. For example, rhinoplasty is often recommended when a patient is suffering from breathing difficulties due to problems with the shape or positioning of their nose. In these instances, the procedure is most often known as functional nasal surgery. Functional nasal surgery is a type of reconstructive procedure and is extremely popular and effective at helping patients who suffer from airway obstruction.
With functional nasal surgery, the primary goal is to alter the anatomy of the nose so that any nasal obstruction is relieved. However, this may result in some very subtle differences in the appearance of your nose.
We are delighted to be able to offer our patients the benefit of functional nasal surgery performed here at our modern, comfortable facility in San Antonio, TX.
The following are the most common causes of airway obstruction and can be treated through functional nasal surgery.
The septum is the narrow wall of cartilage and bone that separates the nasal cavity into two different pathways. In most cases, the septum starts out fairly straight, but as we get older, its position can change. It is fairly normal for the septum to be a little bent or crooked, but if the issue is severe, it can have an effect on the patient’s nasal function. This is because it can make one side of the nasal cavity much narrower than the other, making it tricky to get optimal and balanced airflow.
The surgery that is recommended to resolve this issue is now as a septoplasty and is a form of functional nasal surgery. The septum is altered to create more equal spacing on both sides of the nasal cavity, enabling the patient to receive equal amounts of air through each nostril.
Nasal valve collapse is a fairly overlooked cause of nasal obstruction and most often occurs when a patient has had previous rhinoplasty surgery that has caused a weakness within the structure of the nose. This collapse can be addressed by rebuilding the framework of the nose using a graft of the patient’s own cartilage taken from another part of their body.
The turbinates are shelves of bone that are covered with mucous membranes that can be found inside the nose. Their purpose is to humidify and filter the air that we breathe. Sometimes, these turbinates can become enlarged, and this is particularly common amongst patients with nasal allergies. In most cases, the enlarged turbinates naturally shrink back down, but if they don’t, it can interfere with the patient’s ability to breathe. A turbinate reduction can be performed to help counteract this problem and improve airflow to the patient.
If you are suffering from breathing problems that you believe may be related to the physiology of your nose, functional nasal surgery may be able to help. Speak to our team today to arrange a consultation to see if you could benefit from a functional rhinoplasty procedure.