A Closer Look at Rhinoplasty: Cosmetic vs. Functional

When it comes to plastic surgery, one of the most commonly sought after and performed procedures here at Front Range Plastic & Surgery — and around the country — is rhinoplasty, or as you’ve likely heard it referred to, a nose job.

A review of all plastic surgeries performed in 2018 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, rhinoplasty was the third-most performed cosmetic surgery (213,780 procedures) of the year out of more than 1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures performed over 2018. Despite common misconception about nose surgery, not all rhinoplasty is done for cosmetic gain, however. Many people require nose surgery in order to correct issues that affect their overall health or quality of life.

In fact, nose surgery can actually refer to many different things with the end goal of harmonizing the proportion and shape of the nose with the entire face, whether that be for cosmetic purposes or medical resolutions. In today’s post, we’d like to take a closer look at rhinoplasty and specifically, the two types of nose surgery — functional and cosmetic.

Types of Rhinoplasty

Let’s first begin with an explanation of what exactly rhinoplasty refers to as a refresher for some or possibly new information to others joining us for the first time. Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, is a procedure to reshape the nose, bringing it into balance with the rest of the face. A plastic surgeon may reduce the size of the nose or refine specific areas for a more appealing look depending on the patient’s preference and goals. Nose surgery could involve altering the nostrils, bridge, tip or any other nasal structures. As we mentioned earlier, not all rhinoplasty is for cosmetic purposes.

Functional Rhinoplasty

For patients who experience health or medical issues resulting from issues with the nose, rhinoplasty is a great solution to resolving nasal complications. Functional rhinoplasty can correct complications such as nasal passages that are too narrow or a deviated line of cartilage knowns as the septum. This could be from natural misalignment or because it was pushed out of place by some sort of trauma. Issues stemming from allergies, hormones or sinus infections may also be treated through functional rhinoplasty. Consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon is always recommended to see if nose surgery is an answer for medically-needed nose surgery.

  • Treats medical issues in the nose structure
  • Can be a great answer for correcting natural misalignment or trauma-related complications
  • Issues stemming from allergies, hormones or sinus infections may also be treated with functional rhinoplasty
  • Always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to see if rhinoplasty is right for you

Cosmetic Rhinoplasty

Many patients simply wish to enhance or correct the physical appearance of their nose to align more with their cosmetic goals or to strengthen their self-confidence. Patients seeking cosmetic rhinoplasty often cite asymmetry, size or shape as reasons they’re seeking cosmetic surgery. Oftentimes, correcting areas of the nose can help the entire nose fit better with the rest of the face such as the eyes, mouth and forehead. However, it’s important to remember that nose surgery doesn’t guarantee your looks match your ideal appearance or the way other people treat you. Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to set appropriate expectations and ensure rhinoplasty is best for you.

  • Treats the physical appearance of the nose
  • Can reduce the size, correct asymmetry or pronounced bump or dip in the dorsum
  • Helps the nose better fit with the overall face such as eyes, mouth and forehead
  • Cosmetic surgery can increase a patient’s self-confidence
  • Patients should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon beforehand to ensure nose surgery is right for them

Why Choose Rhinoplasty?

Both types of rhinoplasty can be tremendous solutions for patients who are strong fits for nose surgery as the form and function of your nose are connected. A visible asymmetry may cause somebody to want it corrected through cosmetic surgery for appearance, but it could also indicate misaligned structures within the nose. Those irregularities may disrupt or even impede the flow of air and make breathing more complicated. In many cases, functional correction of the nose creates a more physically-appealing look as well.

Is Rhinoplasty Right for You?

The best candidates for rhinoplasty are seeking improvement, but not perfection. Ensuring physical health and strong mental stability can go a long way in overall self-confidence. There’s no question nose surgery can be a life-changing procedure, which is why it continues to rank so highly year after year in the most common plastic surgeries.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today!

Dr. Warren Shutte is a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience helping the people of Loveland, Fort Collins and Northern Colorado (as well as Wyoming and Nebraska) meet their cosmetic and surgical needs. His goal is always to ensure you’re informed, comfortable and private, so contact us today and schedule your free consultation!

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