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I can't breathe! Will rhinoplasty give me some relief?

By: Dr. Christopher Khorsandi



No two noses are alike in shape or size. Given their status as the most prominent feature on the face, it’s no surprise that some people dislike the appearance of their nose. Those who fall into this category may opt for rhinoplasty to correct the projection of their nose, resize their nostrils, remove unwanted bumps or address other concerns. Also called nose reshaping, rhinoplasty is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2018 more than 213,000 people in the U.S. had this transformative surgery.

Did you know that rhinoplasty also can be effective for improving the function of the nose? When used to improve breathing issues, fix deformities, or repair damage that results from injuries, the procedure can be a real game changer for Las Vegas patients by restoring proper nasal function and providing relief. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Khorsandi is the Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIP Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas, NV and an expert when it comes to rhinoplasty. He details the various conditions that can be successfully treated with rhinoplasty.

Breathing difficulties

Chronic breathing problems plague millions of people. In some cases, these issues do not respond as well to certain treatments as patients would hope. Blockages often result due to structural abnormalities in the nose, including enlarged turbinates, middle vault narrowing, or a deviated septum. These problems, which can occur on their own or in combination with one another, may result from injury or abnormal growth and can be corrected with rhinoplasty.

Broken nose

Following a traumatic injury, if bruises are present around the eyes and the nose appears to be slightly crooked, it likely has been broken. Immediate medical attention is necessary if the bones of the nose are pushed over to one side. In any case, when a fracture is suspected, it is important to consult with a plastic surgeon as soon as possible. Surgery can be performed once the swelling subsides, which may take up to two weeks. If the displaced bones make it difficult to breathe, it may be necessary to undergo a procedure called septorhinoplasty. This surgery involves the bones and cartilage that provide shape and structure to the nose in order to straighten the septum.

Deviated septum

The nasal septum separates the nose’s left and right airways. It is considered deviated when they bone and cartilage that divides the nasal cavity is crooked or off centered. When this condition causes one of the nasal passages to close partially or completely, breathing can be a challenge. During septorhinoplasty, this issue can be corrected, and cosmetic changes also can be made.

Birth defects

It is possible to be born with congenital malformations of the nose. These can include bony obstructions, nasal masses, cysts, and tumors. Rhinoplasty can address these conditions and also may benefit infants who are born without a nasal septum.

Enlarged turbinates

The tissues that line the interior of the nasal passages are called turbinates. These moist membranes serve as a sort of humidifier for the nose. It is not uncommon for these tissues to swell from time to time, usually in response to the body’s position or environmental allergies. However, if the turbinates become chronically enlarged, one or both of the nasal passages can become obstructed and breathing problems may ensue. Surgery, which may include removing part of the turbinates, may be required in order to provide Las Vegas patients the relief they seek.

Sleep apnea

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea. This dangerous condition can result when the nasal cavities suffer from structural irregularities. Patients may stop breathing intermittently as they sleep, and excessive snoring may result due to abnormal airflow. The inner nasal passageway may be reshaped with functional rhinoplasty. When this procedure is expertly performed by Dr. Christopher Khorsandi, breathing may be improved so that patients (and their partners) can sleep more peacefully.

Aging of the face

As part of the natural effects of aging, it is common for the face to undergo changes. The eyelids may take on a hooded appearance as the cheeks sag downward and skin below the chin loosens. But did you know that cartilage in the nose as well as its tip also weaken with age? Gravity may cause them to droop. It also is possible for the sides of the nose to collapse inward, which may cause airflow blockages. As a result, noisy, restricted breathing or mouth breathing may be experienced. With rhinoplasty, the tip of the nose may be lifted so that patients can breathe easier.

Middle vault narrowing

Breathing difficulty may result when the nose’s middle vault (or sidewalls) become weakened, causing them to collapse when a patient inhales. During rhinoplasty, this condition can be corrected to improve breathing.

Nasal Polyps

These benign, painless growths can form inside the nasal passages. They typically result from chronic inflammation caused by allergies, repeated infections, asthma, and other respiratory issues. Although it is unusual for a couple of polyps to impact breathing, large or multiple polyps are known to cause obstructions. These may be removed by Dr. Christopher Khorsandi during a rhinoplasty procedure.

Chronic sinus infections

Breathing difficulties and discomfort are not the only side effects of a deviated septum and other nasal deformities. As a result of colds and allergies, the nose may be prevented from draining properly due to nasal blockages and swelling. This may result in an ongoing series of sinus infections, which can be extremely painful. These occur as a result of mucus buildup inside of swollen nasal tissues, which serve as an ideal breeding environment for bacteria. Patients with chronic sinusitis usually can experience the elimination of their symptoms following rhinoplasty.

Is a nose job in your future?

Although excellent cosmetic results can be achieved with rhinoplasty, the procedure also may prove beneficial for patients who struggle with breathing difficulties. A variety of structural deformities and chronic nasal conditions can be corrected or eliminated with a nose job. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Christopher Khorsandi, board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIP Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas, NV, so that you may learn more about the versatility of rhinoplasty and start breathing a little easier.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.