When most people think of a rhinoplasty surgery, they often think exclusively about cosmetic changes. Although rhinoplasty is indeed as an operation that alters the shape of the nose, it may, at least in part, be performed due to functional reasons. A functional rhinoplasty is done to improve nasal breathing where less conservative surgeries such as a septoplasty with or without a turbinate reduction is deemed incomplete for various reasons. As a dual board-certified facial plastic surgeon with extensive training in head and neck surgery as well, Dr. Walker has the skills and experience to help you achieve the nasal changes you desire to improve your nasal breathing. Dr. Walker’s office is 19 minutes from Downtown Atlanta and 16 minutes from Buckhead.
What is Functional Rhinoplasty?
Patients who cannot breathe well through the nose may have subsequent functional problems such as poor sleep, snoring, diminished exercise tolerance, amongst others, and may benefit from a functional rhinoplasty, especially if there is a structural issue that leads to a nasal blockage that cannot be corrected by other means. Some patients may have had previous nasal trauma leading to these problems or were born with them and never had a chance to address them previously. When a patient undergoes a rhinoplasty with a history of breathing problems, it is considered a functional rhinoplasty. Functional rhinoplasty is therefore performed for the main reason to improve the nasal airflow although, by definition, the nasal shape will be altered as well. While the look of your nose may improve as a result of your functional rhinoplasty, cosmetic improvement is not the main goal of the surgery.
A functional rhinoplasty may also be able to improve the following:
- Dry mouth.
- Sleep apnea.
- Exercise tolerance.
- A reduced sense of smell.
Who is a Good Candidate for Functional Rhinoplasty?
Individuals who suffer from nasal breathing problems secondary to structural nasal problems may benefit from a functional rhinoplasty. These structural problems can be multifactorial including a severely deviated nasal septum, nasal valve collapse, a narrow nose, or a crooked nose, just to name a few. All these problems can lead to uneven airflow through the nostrils, which can negatively impact your breathing and overall quality of life. Other reasons why an individual may benefit from a functional rhinoplasty include a nasal injury, genetic obstructive nasal deformities, or a collapse of the nostrils. The best way to determine candidacy is through a consultation appointment with Dr. Walker.
How is the Functional Rhinoplasty Procedure Done?
Functional Rhinoplasty is done under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. The techniques used during this procedure are dependent on the corrections that need to be made. Dr. Walker may need to change the size or shape of the nostrils, reset the nasal bones, or graft cartilage to change nasal structures internally. Most commonly, the open rhinoplasty approach is utilized to accomplish these goals. During an open rhinoplasty, a tiny external incision will be made at the bottom of your nose between the nostrils that will become essentially invisible. Dr. Walker will then reshape the nose structure as needed to improve your nasal airflow. He utilizes various cartilage grafting techniques to correct your nasal structural problems for the desired functional improvements.
Functional Rhinoplasty Recovery
Following your outpatient functional rhinoplasty procedure, you will be released to return home with a responsible friend or family member to recover. There is an initial 1- to 2-week period during which the bruising (if present) subsides and the nasal external and internal swelling improves for improved airflow. The nasal cast and sutures will be removed one week after your procedure, at which point in time you can let the water run over your nose again when washing your hair and return to work. Most patients experience some discomfort for the first couple of days that most patients can control with Tylenol although a small amount of prescription pain medication is prescribed to you in case you do experience some discomfort. You are encouraged to rest during the first week and to adhere to Dr. Walker’s thorough post-operative instructions including a low-sodium diet, avoidance of strenuous activities, no nose-blowing, no straining with bowel movements, and avoidance of coughing if possible. You can go back to school after the first week has passed. Continued changes will occur over the course of the next few weeks to months with most of the swelling having resolved by the three-month mark. The nasal breathing should have reached its final result 4-6 weeks after the surgery. You will be able to enjoy full final cosmetic results of your functional rhinoplasty after about one year with essentially invisible incisions.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you are tired of struggling to breathe through your nose, a functional rhinoplasty may be an excellent choice for you. Contact our Atlanta office today to schedule your consultation appointment with Dr. Walker, during which he will examine your nose and speak with you regarding your breathing issues to help determine the best course of action.