Rhinoplasty has historically been slow to adopt changes in surgical techniques. This is not surprising, as it is a tried-and-true method for reshaping the nose that has been used for thousands of years. Tools continue to evolve, but surgical tactics have remained much the same. Though the “closed” method of rhinoplasty is considered the traditional means of performing the procedure, the newer method of “open” rhinoplasty (pioneered around 1921) is preferred by most surgeons today. However, there is still some confusion among patients on whether or not an open rhinoplasty is a good idea. Let’s take a look at some common attitudes, myths and facts about the open technique to help clear up the confusion. But first, what do the two methods involve?
The Difference Between Open Rhinoplasty and Closed Rhinoplasty
The more popular method up until around the 1970s, the closed approach involves no incisions on the outside of the nose, and the nose is operated on with limited visibility through the nostrils. There is no risk for visible scarring, but it can be more difficult for the surgeon to maneuver, tweak, and see the features of the nose. The open method involves a small incision between the nostrils, but the surgeon is able to get underneath the skin and see all features of the internal structure.
Myths and Concerns About Open Rhinoplasty
The biggest fear prospective open rhinoplasty patients have? The potential for noticeable scarring. This is largely a myth. The truth is that only a tiny incision is made on the outside of the nose (on the columella, the strip of skin between the nostrils), and this scar typically becomes almost unnoticeable over time. Though many people think the two techniques are very different, the only major difference between the two methods is the incision site and visibility.
Facts About Open Rhinoplasty
An open approach offers the surgeon greater control over the surgical process and allows for more changes to be made. The open approach also makes grafting easier, since the surgeon can see everything that is going on within the nose and can position the graft more precisely and easily.
Which Method is Right for You?
Only a plastic surgeon can give specific advice on how your surgery should be performed. If you have a number of problems that require correction, open rhinoplasty might be the best choice. However, in some circumstances, the closed method is still preferable. Your consultations with prospective surgeons will be extremely helpful for learning more about how the surgery will be performed and how your needs affect the procedure. Always ask lots of questions!
More Important Than the Method Itself: Your Surgeon
While technique is extremely important, a skilled and qualified surgeon will be adept at both methods and can evaluate your case and decide which approach is most likely to give you good results. The most important decision you can make, therefore, is selecting your surgeon. Speak with board-certified rhinoplasty specialists before you make a choice and explain your goals and concerns. Consultations will help you make an informed decision about your surgery plan. When you’re ready to start consulting with surgeons, call Revesse in Toronto at 416.438.2499 to set up a meeting with rhinoplasty expert Dr. Robert Mounsey. Dr. Mounsey focuses on beautiful, custom results and has a great deal of experience in all types of rhinoplasty.