“I have had breathing problems ever since I can remember. This keeps me from being active, specially working out. Could a procedure like Rhinoplasty surgery fix the problem?”
Yes, rhinoplasty with septum, or septorhinoplasty surgery can help improve your breathing ability by creating a less obstructed nasal passage. Certain breathing problems related to the internal nasal structures can be corrected at the same time as nose reshaping is performed.
What causes nasal obstruction?
- The most common causes are a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates, and middle vault narrowing. These factors can occur naturally, or as a consequence of trauma or prior rhinoplasty. They can occur alone or in combination, and can explain most nasal obstructive problems.
- Deviated septum. The septum is a cartilaginous sheet that separates the right and left sides of the nose. The septum is rarely perfectly straight for anyone. A “deviation” is a bend of the septum. When the septum bends significantly to one side or the other, it can block the air passage on one or both sides, making it difficult to breathe.
- The turbinates are the humidifiers of the nose. They are made mostly of nasal mucosa, so they periodically swell in response to the environment (i.e., allergies) or to position.
- Middle vault narrowing or collapse. “Collapse” refers to weakness of the middle vault (sidewalls) of the nose, causing them to fall inward with deep inhalation. You may be familiar with adhesive strips worn on the nose by athletes to hold the nasal passages open. These devices help prevent collapse of the nasal sidewalls with inhalation.
Rhinoplasty Surgery of the Internal Nasal Passages
In less complicated cases, functional nasal surgery involves surgical treatment of the internal nasal passages without alteration of the outer nose. Such surgeries include nasal septoplasty, turbinate reduction, and nasal polyp removal.
Rhinoplasty Surgery of the External Nasal Framework
While eliminating internal airway blockages is often adequate for some patients, more severe forms of nasal airway obstruction require surgical treatment of the external nasal framework. Noses that are twisted, deviated, collapsed, pinched, (or combinations therein) will not improve with internal airway surgery alone. In this patient population, rhinoplasty techniques are necessary to straighten, enlarge, and reinforce the obstructed external nasal passages in order to create an unobstructed air passage between the nostril and throat.