When thinking about nasal surgery, people can sometimes be confused by the terminology of certain procedures. In general, nasal reconstruction and rhinoplasty refer to two different procedures, with different goals, but there is some grey area between the terms.
What is Nasal Reconstruction
Nasal reconstruction is the term given to a surgery on the nose that is performed to help correct a functional problem. There are several problems that can sometimes be improved with nasal reconstruction. Perhaps the most common is nasal obstruction, or the partial or complete inability to breathe through the nose. Nasal obstruction can be static, occurring all the time, or it can be dynamic, occurring only during physical activity.
Another similar issue is snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, and these issues are essentially nasal obstruction that occurs during sleep. The common theme in these disorders is a deviation or crookedness of the internal or external structures of the nose that interferes with proper airflow. Sometimes people are born with a crooked nose, and other times the crookedness occurs after trauma to the nose. Regardless of the cause, the goal of nasal reconstruction is to straighten the deviated cartilage and bone in order to restore proper nasal airflow and improve nasal breathing.
What is a Rhinoplasty
Rhinoplasty is the term given to a surgery on the nose that is performed to improve the appearance of the nose. There are many nasal deformities that prompt people to undergo rhinoplasty. These include a prominent dorsal hump, ptotic or droopy tip, bulbous tip, crooked nose, nostril flaring, polybeak deformity, and inverted-v deformity, among others.
Many of these deformities are congenital, or genetically inherited, and become more apparent with aging as the nasal tissues lose strength and begin to sag with gravity. However, some of them may occur after nasal trauma or be the unfortunate result of previous rhinoplasty. Regardless of the cause, the goal of rhinoplasty is to straighten the deviated cartilage and bone in order to achieve a better-looking nose.
Sometimes people are concerned with both their nasal breathing and nasal appearance. In such cases, a surgery performed to improve both nasal breathing and appearance could be termed a reconstructive rhinoplasty. In this surgery, the experienced surgeon would combine techniques from both types of nasal procedures to achieve both goals.
Surgical techniques can be similar or different between nasal reconstruction and rhinoplasty depending on the patient’s anatomy. Either procedure may necessitate septoplasty, either to improve the nasal airway or to obtain material for cartilage grafting. Osteotomy, or reshaping the nasal bones, may be needed in either procedure. Cartilage grafts may be needed in either procedure, and these grafts may be taken from the nose, ear, or rib. In some cases, rhinoplasty may focus more on reshaping the nasal tip cartilages, which can be a significant difference from nasal reconstruction.
The patient experience tends to be similar between nasal reconstruction and rhinoplasty. Both procedures are relatively short and performed on an outpatient basis. The healing process is very similar as well, with expected mild pain and bruising for less than 1 week. Ultimately, the majority of people who undergo either nasal reconstruction or rhinoplasty do very well and are happy with the positive impact of surgery on their life.
Contact a Rhinoplasty Surgeon in Albany, NY
If you wish to learn more about nasal reconstruction or rhinoplasty schedule a consultation with one of our Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeons today!
*Patient Results May Vary
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