Many patients out there suffer from chronic conditions that they aren’t sure how to treat. For some, issues such as nasal congestion, mouth breathing, dry mouth, and a reduced sense of smell have a sizable impact on their quality of life. Thankfully, there are surgical interventions that can alleviate such conditions. 

Better known as a ‘nose job,’ Rhinoplasty is one of the most widely performed surgical procedures in the United States. While cosmetic rhinoplasty procedures are able to improve the look of a patient’s nose, functional rhinoplasty focuses primarily on improving the patient’s ability to breathe.

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What is functional rhinoplasty?

While functional rhinoplasty can also have an impact on the nose’s aesthetic, it is primarily designed to remove any obstructions from the nasal passageways, allowing the patient to breathe and sleep better than they ever have before. The procedure can treat a multitude of unfortunate conditions, such as deviated septums, excessively large turbinates, nasal valve issues, and polyps. If desired, certain cosmetic concerns can also be addressed during a functional rhinoplasty procedure.

What are the benefits of functional rhinoplasty?

  • Straightens out a deviated septum
  • Removes obstructions from the nasal cavities
  • Increases the patient’s sense of smell 
  • Addresses chronic sleep apnea 
  • Reverses nasal valve collapse
  • Corrects injuries or any other abnormalities that may be present in the nose

Beyond these benefits, a functional rhinoplasty in Chicago can also address nasal congestion, dry mouth, mouth breathing, chronic sinus infections, and sinus headaches.

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Who is an ideal candidate for functional rhinoplasty?

The ideal candidates for a functional rhinoplasty are those who are struggling with structural issues that make it difficult for them to breathe properly. Some of the common underlying issues that make one need this procedure are:

  • Deviated septums
  • Overly large turbinates
  • Nasal polyps
  • Trauma to the nose
  • Deformities
  • Overly narrow noses
  • Nasal trauma from chronic infections 

Beyond this criteria, ideal candidates for functional rhinoplasty are of sound body and mind and have realistic expectations regarding the outcome of the procedure. 

Preparing for functional rhinoplasty surgery

In most cases, patients are given a specific list of instructions that they must follow leading up to their procedure. Some of these steps may include:

  • Refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol for a week prior to the procedure
  • Refrain from taking aspirin or any other blood thinners
  • Stay out of the sun both before and after the procedure
  • Cease the use of all medications that the doctor has deemed harmful to the procedure
  • Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure ahead of time (ideally, this person will stay the night and help out as well)
  • Make sure the home is prepared for the recovery process
  • Prepare some meals and do extensive grocery shopping

What does the procedure entail?

Functional rhinoplasty can involve various types of anesthesia depending on the preference of the patient and their physician. The options include local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Incisions are also involved, granting the surgeon access to the underlying cartilage and bones. There are multiple methods for making these incisions. The most popular one, known as a 'closed' procedure, involves hiding the incisions entirely within the nostrils. Another method, known as an ‘open’ procedure, requires that a small incision be made at the base of the nose to give increased access.

The first step in the procedure is to administer the anesthesia (either by traditional means or intravenously). The necessary incisions will then be made to grant access to blockages within the nose. The surgeon will then manipulate the inner workings of the nose, extracting excess cartilage and making adjustments to the skin to increase aesthetic appeal. For some patients, cartilage may need to be added to achieve the desired improvements. If the issue is a deviated septum, it will be addressed properly. Once all the necessary changes have been made, the incision will be closed.

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What is the recovery process like?

Recovering from a functional rhinoplasty can take a good amount of time. Rhinoplasty patients typically need to wear a splint for about a week following their procedure. This will help keep the nasal tissues in place to ensure a healthy, speedy recovery. 

Bruising and swelling are both normal and to be expected. These effects are temporary and should dissipate by the two-week mark. Once the nose has returned to its normal color and all signs of swelling have diminished, the results can be seen more clearly. It is important for patients to keep in mind that the nose may take several months to fully heal. Patients will receive a more detailed timeline of their recovery when they come in for their consultation.

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Are there any risks associated with functional rhinoplasty?

As with any surgical procedure, there are some potential risks associated with a functional rhinoplasty. Some of these include:

  • Complications related to anesthesia
  • Excessive nosebleeding 
  • Septal perforation (a hole that forms in the internal wall of the nose)
  • Less than ideal appearance
  • The need for revision surgery down the line
  • Infections
  • A worsening in breathing 
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Why choose Dr. Few?

With board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership with the Chicago Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Julius Few is well-known for his attention to detail and impressive skill in the realm of cosmetology. He values communication above all else, establishing a strong rapport with his clients early on to ensure that they feel comfortable voicing any and all concerns regarding their treatment. Most importantly, he is dedicated to excellence and works tirelessly to ensure that every patient looks and feels their best. 

Reach out to us today to set up a private consultation in our Chicago plastic surgery offices.

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