Can a Rhinoplasty Fix My Sinus Problems?
Edison, NJ – Do you constantly suffer from breathing problems related to your sinuses? Instead of running to your general practitioner for another prescription, have you considered consulting with a plastic surgeon?
When you think of plastic surgery, you may only think of procedures to turn back the hands of time or make you appear more attractive. But a rhinoplasty can do much more than just improve your appearance, it may just help you breathe better. Patients everywhere turn to surgeons for functional rhinoplasty to improve their airway function.
“Functional rhinoplasty can improve nasal function without altering a patient’s existing contour, while a purely cosmetic rhinoplasty will alter the nose shape without affecting its functionality,” says Dr. Andrew Miller, arguably the best plastic surgeons in NJ. “But one of the best solutions is to marry the two procedures to provide optimal function while at the same time perfecting the shape of the nose, as well.”
If you often suffer from nasal congestion, dry mouth, or have a reduced sense of smell or breathe through your mouth, you might be suffering from airway obstruction. Additional side effects are nosebleeds, frequent sinus infections, sinus pressure headaches, or sleep disturbance. If not properly treated, these symptoms can lead to more serious issues, such as insomnia, hypertension, sleep apnea and heart disease.
The good news is, there are surgical options available to help patients. Some offer treatment of the internal passages of the nose without affecting the outside appearance, while others will also give patients a more attractive looking nose.
How many times have you heard someone, a celebrity or a friend, say they had a nose job to correct a deviated septum? Have you thought Cameron Diaz was lying all these years? A nasal septoplasty will straighten a deviated septum, thereby clearing the airways. In some cases, the septal partition, which is the wall dividing the nasal passages, can become bent, bowed or twisted. During a septoplasty, the partition will be straightened to open up the blocked passages. An uncomplicated procedure only takes about 30 minutes, and there is little recovery time.
Another common cause of nasal obstruction is known as turbinate hypertrophy. Turbinates are the mucous membrane covered pieces of bone that run the length of the nasal cavity. There are three in each nasal passage – the middle and inferior turbinates are most commonly the cause of airway obstructions. When these tissues become overgrown, they cause airway disturbances. The procedure is also very straightforward and recovery is quick and painless. Bleeding may happen for several weeks until the membranes have healed fully.
More severe forms of nasal airway obstruction can require treatment of the external nasal framework. If your nose is pinched, collapsed, twisted or deviated, internal airway surgery will not improve the condition on its own. Rhinoplasty techniques are used to correct the obstructed external passages to create an unobstructed passage between the nostril and throat. This is what the term functional rhinoplasty refers to.
Nasal valve collapse is the most common cause of external airway obstruction. The nasal valve is the narrowest part of the nasal airway and in a normal nose, it remains open during nasal breathing. In noses that are thin or that have been injured or altered because of disease, surgery or aging, the valve can collapse.
“To treat nasal valve collapse, it’s important that each patient receive individualized treatment,” says Dr. Miller. “No surgery should be one size fits all because each patient will vary in their anatomy, strength of tissue and nasal contour. It also will take an experienced surgeon to be able to properly balance proper airflow with creating a more attractive nose for the patient. Many surgeons don’t take the time to know and fully understand how to treat and prevent nasal valve collapse in their patients, but it should be an important part of cosmetic rhinoplasties.”
It is typically best to combine cosmetic and functional surgeries into one so that a patient doesn’t have to undergo two procedures. Since the form and function of the nose are so closely interrelated, this can ensure a more successful outcome. Dr. Miller specializes in surgery of both the inside and outside of the nose, and patients regularly seek him out to perform the procedure.
While health insurance will not cover a procedure that is deemed purely cosmetic, such as a facelift, surgery to correct a functional problem of the nose is typically covered by most insurance plans. However, it is important to note that while insurance will cover the procedure performed on the inside of the nose to improve the function, the patient will be responsible for the cosmetic piece of the surgery.
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