Rhinoplasty can be either a functional (to improve breathing) procedure, a cosmetic procedure, or both. When the procedure is purely functional the septum is straightened (septoplasty), the sides of the nose are often reinforced with cartilage, and the nasal passages are widened. If you have nasal obstruction, this is often covered by insurance. In a cosmetic rhinoplasty the external appearance of the nose is refined. Some of the most frequent requests include making the nose smaller, thinner, more symmetric, or removing a hump on the bridge of a nose. With his dual training in both functional and cosmetic surgery Dr. Rolfes ensures that even cosmetic patients end up with an improved airway. Our goal is always to create a natural appearing nose that leaves you looking and breathing great.
Am I a candidate for functional rhinoplasty?
If you suffer from nasal congestion that negatively affects your daily life – limits your ability to exercise, sleep, or tolerate your CPAP machine – you may be a candidate for functional rhinoplasty. There are several causes of nasal congestion. A deviated septum means that the cartilage that divides your two nostrils inside your nose is bent to one side or the other. There are several pillow-like structures inside your nose called turbinates that help to warm and moisten the air your breath in that can become inflamed with allergy or other irritation and block you nose. Finally, some people have weakened nasal sidewalls that collapse with brisk inspiration. There are medications available, like steroid nasal sprays, that reduce nasal inflammation and can help improve improve breathing and allow some patients to avoid surgery. If this medical therapy is not effective then you would likely be a candidate for functional rhinoplasty, which is typically covered by medical insurance. The procedure would involve straightening your septum if there is any deviation, reducing the size of your turbinates, and strengthening the sides of your nose if they have a tendency to collapse.
Am I a candidate for cosmetic rhinoplasty?
The nose is the centerpiece of your face, and it affects relative appearance of all of your surrounding features. The perfect nose is proportionate, blends in naturally, and helps to frame your eyes and mouth. If your nose has a large bump, a bulbous or hanging tip, is too large or too small, or for any other reason does not fit the rest of your face your may be a candidate for a cosmetic rhinoplasty. Dr. Rolfes can demonstrate what types of changes are possible and allow you to “try on” different noses with image modification software and help you decide exactly what type of procedure is right for you. No matter which features you decide to change, Dr. Rolfes will create a natural result that leaves you looking and breathing great.
What is rhinoplasty recovery like?
Nasal surgery has seen many advances in the recent years. A generation ago patients would often have their noses tightly packed with yards of fabric that was very painful to remove. Cosmetic surgeries often resulted in permanently impaired breathing or an “overdone” appearance to the nose. Modern nasal surgery is very different. Packing is never used and typically the only thing left in your nose is a couple of dissolving stitches. This results in a much more comfortable experience. Most patients only take pain medication for a few days. You will have a small (but obvious) cast on the outside of your nose for a week. Some patients will get bruising under their eyes that can take a week or two to resolve. While patients with severe congestion may report that they breathe better from day one, most patients have some nasal congestion for at least a week.