How Can Surgery Improve My Nasal Breathing?

Nasal SurgeryEach year, thousands of people undergo nasal surgery (over 200,000 people according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons). Some patients have cosmetic concerns, others have functional concerns, while many have a combination of both they would like to address. In all these cases, the best outcome will occur when your cosmetic surgeon takes into consideration the functional aspects of your nasal surgery.

The main cause of breathing obstruction in someone who has not had significant nasal trauma or prior nasal surgery is often a deviated septum or enlargement of the filtering structures on the inside of your nose called turbinates. Septal deviation is extremely common, but does not always require surgical intervention. Those who have significant deviation of the septum, however, may benefit from undergoing surgical repair and straightening.

Turbinate hypertrophy, or enlargement, is a relatively common condition that can be addressed in many safe and effective ways by reducing the amount of tissue that has caused the swelling in the first place. This can be done without actually removing the structures themselves. Insurance companies may often require, if you have this finding on physical examination, that you undergo a short-term trial of nasal steroid medications to see if medical treatment will improve symptoms without surgery.

In some patients, and commonly in those who have undergone some type of nasal surgery or trauma in the past, we often find that certain areas important for breathing have been narrowed in an attempt to make the appearance of the nose more appealing. Narrowing certain aspects of the cartilage or bone within the nose can often have a benefit in terms of appearance, but can sometimes have a long-term effect on breathing. In these cases, we must attempt to use remaining cartilage in the nose or possibly even cartilage from other sources, to rebuild support to these areas. Undergoing this type of reconstructive surgery can be intimidating for the patient, but for those of us who perform this surgery regularly, we see that it can be very rewarding in its outcomes.

The most challenging part of modern nasal surgery is not only understanding the intricate and complicated anatomy of the nose, but being able to achieve balance between the form and function to achieve the ultimate result. We have learned a great deal from nasal surgery that was performed over the last several decades. In the past, in order to achieve a smaller and more complimentary nose, copious amounts of cartilage were often removed. This ultimately risked nasal breathing and led to unwanted long-term changes to the nasal tissues. Modern nasal surgery emphasizes that each nose and each face is different, and that certain structures must remain in order to have a long-lasting, and functional result.

As with every surgery, it is important to understand that there may be risks. Discuss openly with your surgeon the risks that may be involved, how they can be minimized and what level of experience he/she has. The Emory Aesthetic Center offers experienced cosmetic surgeons that will help guide your nasal surgery decision process in order to achieve the best result for you. Most likely, you will love the look of the final result and be able to breath well from it for years to come.

About Dr. Sethna

Anita Sethna, MDAnita Sethna, MD, understands that facial plastic and reconstructive surgery demand a marriage of science and artistry, and she enjoys using precision, skill, and vision to make her patients’ dreams reality. Dr. Sethna’s meticulous attention to detail and her passion for maintaining a natural look ensure optimum results for her patients. A dedicated teacher, Dr. Sethna is devoted to assisting residents in facial trauma or reconstructive cases at Grady Hospital. She relishes the opportunity to educate residents and medical students in all aspects of patient care. Dr. Sethna has a strong interest in several areas of facial plastic surgery research and has presented at national meetings on the importance of resident and fellow education in rhinoplasty techniques and adjunctive measures to decrease discomfort during cosmetic procedures.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,