While rhinoplasty is most closely associated with cosmetic improvement of the nose, another major reason people undergo nasal surgery is to improve the functionality of their nose. Breathing problems caused by nasal obstruction are quite common, and sometimes the only way to fix them is through nasal surgery(technically known as a septoplasty when performed to correct a deviated septum). There are many causes of nasal obstruction and breathing problems, including genetics, illness, and trauma. Let’s take a look at some of the common functional issues that can be solved through nasal surgery.
Deviated septum is a very common nasal deformity. The septum is the wall between the nasal passages, providing structural support to the nose and airflow guidance. When the septum is crooked, it is known as a deviated septum, which can cause or influence a host of breathing problems, including snoring and sleep apnea. A deviated septum can occur for several reasons, including improper growth, genetics, or nasal trauma.
Septoplasty can help alleviate these problems by straightening the septum and allowing airflow to return to normal. Straightening the septum can also help a surgeon access other areas of the nose that may require attention as well.
The turbinates are structures within the nose that filter and humidify air as it enters the nose. When these passages are enlarged, it can result in chronic congestion, blocked airway, and nosebleeds. Rhinoplasty can be performed to reduce the turbinates, allowing for better breathing.
The internal nasal valve is the narrowest part of the nose, and when it is too narrow it can cause breathing problems. Valve collapse makes the front of the nose pinch together, obstructing breathing. Rhinoplasty for this problem involves adding support to the nose to open it up and allow for better breathing.
Sleep apnea refers to a breathing condition that causes the sufferer to breathe poorly or pause while breathing during sleep, sometimes more than once per minute. Because sleep apnea disrupts normal sleep, people who suffer from the condition are usually excessively tired during the day and tend to take frequent naps. People with sleep apnea may also be at a higher risk for heart attack. Doctors typically treat sleep apnea with a breathing machine, but rhinoplasty can sometimes help alleviate the condition by resolving obstruction and improving functionality of the nose.
Nasal polyps are growths inside the nose that can obstruct the airway. While these can be removed with nasal surgery, they are likely to return in the future. Polyps such as these are usually benign, but can cause breathing problems.
Aesthetics and Functionality
The appearance of the nose and breathing problems are often linked. For instance, a deviated septum often makes the nose appear crooked. Since rhinoplasty is the solution to both cosmetic and functional issues, only one surgery is required to make the nose both aesthetically appealing and allow the patient to breathe better. Unfortunately, some plastic surgeons do not understand both of these aspects as well as they should, so it is important to choose a surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty and knows how to address both issues.
Many patients who seek rhinoplasty to address breathing problems wonder about insurance coverage. If you are seeking functional rhinoplasty for a severe breathing problem, you may be able to get your insurance company to cover some of the costs. Unfortunately, this only includes correction of functional issues, so any cosmetic aspects, even when combined with functional rhinoplasty, will not be covered.
Before you speak to a plastic surgeon about surgical correction for a breathing problem, you should speak with a doctor about the cause of your breathing issues. This is true even if you would also like cosmetic corrections made to your nose. After your breathing problems have been diagnosed, you should set up your consultations with reputable plastic surgeons.
A Surgeon You Can Trust
For the best in nasal surgery, you will want to seek out a board certified facial plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Robert A. Mounsey of Revesse in Toronto. Dr. Mounsey specializes in rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty, and ethnic rhinoplasty, and has been serving the Toronto area for over 20 years. To learn more about how Dr. Mounsey could help you breathe better and achieve facial harmony, contact Revesse at 416.438.2499 to schedule a consultation.