Differences Between a Rhinoplasty & Septoplasty and How Surgery Can Help with Snoring

Posted in Facial Procedures, Plastic Surgery, Rhinoplasty, Septoplasty

septoplasty patient

You may not have considered rhinoplasty if you’re happy with the appearance of your nose, but aesthetic enhancement is not the only reason to seek out the procedure. Rhinoplasty often involves functional improvements as well as cosmetic changes to address multiple patient concerns simultaneously. The surgery may be pursued by men and women with structural issues that impair their breathing and disrupt their sleep — as well as the sleep of anyone who shares a room with their persistent snoring.

Quality sleep is essential to overall health. Difficulty breathing at night can disturb the natural sleep cycle, causing sleep deprivation and a host of other health problems. At Advanced Aesthetics Plastic Surgery Center, we offer cosmetic rhinoplasties as well as procedures designed to address nasal breathing difficulties like snoring. If you’re struggling with sleep problems or severe snoring, it may be time to talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon about your breathing issues.

What Causes Snoring?

Nearly everyone snores occasionally, but for some people it is a chronic problem and may indicate a serious health condition. Snoring can occur as a result of temporary states, such as alcohol consumption, certain medications and sleep position; but it can also be caused by things out of your control, such as aging, heredity and certain anatomical conditions of the nose and throat. The first step to finding an appropriate treatment for your snoring is determining its cause. If, after evaluation during a consultation with a physician, a deviated septum is found to be the source of your snoring problem, surgical intervention with nose surgery may offer relief.

What is a Deviated Septum?

The septum is the “wall” of bone and cartilage that divides the nasal cavity in half, creating two nostrils. A deviated septum is a condition in which the septum is off-center or crooked, leading to partial blockage of the nasal passages that makes breathing difficult. A deviated septum can be a congenital abnormality or may occur later in life as a result of injury to the nose. Deviated septums are extremely common and, for many, do not cause any noticeable problems. For some patients who experience unpleasant symptoms from a deviated septum, medications are an adequate remedy. But for others, surgery may be necessary to straighten a crooked septum and improve breathing.

How Can Rhinoplasty Help?

Rhinoplasty is most commonly thought of as a cosmetic surgery, but it may be performed for medical reasons as well. Deviated septum correction is a common request in rhinoplasty procedures. Surgical treatment for a deviated septum is called septoplasty, and involves changing the nasal structure to remove obstructions. Septoplasty is frequently performed as part of a rhinoplasty. If combined, the surgery may be called septorhinoplasty and both the aesthetic appearance and the functional capabilities of the nose are improved.

What Happens During the Procedure?

Surgery to repair a deviated septum is usually performed in an outpatient setting under local or general anesthesia. During a septoplasty, the septum is straightened and positioned to the center of the nose. This may require your surgeon to shave or remove parts of the septum in order to place them into the correct position and clear the obstruction. The surgeon works through incisions made inside the nose, leaving no visible scarring behind. Additional benefits include less pain, less postoperative bruising and swelling and a shorter recovery period.

If combining septoplasty and rhinoplasty, your surgeon will take additional steps to enhance your nose in accordance with goals defined during your consultation. Rhinoplasty is a highly personal procedure tailored to each patient’s facial anatomy and aesthetic preferences. In addition to correcting impaired breathing caused by structural defects, rhinoplasty can improve nasal asymmetry, nose size in relation to facial balance, humps or depressions on the nasal bridge, size or position of the nostrils and size or shape of the nasal tip. Rhinoplasty may be performed as a closed procedure, in which incisions are hidden inside the nose, or an open procedure, in which an incision is made across the columella, the narrow bridge of tissue that separates the nostrils.

What Can I Expect During Recovery?

After surgery is complete, splints or packing may temporarily be used to support the nose as it begins to heal. A septoplasty performed on its own should result in relatively minimal bruising, swelling and discomfort. Rhinoplasty and septoplasty performed together require a longer recovery period. Swelling and bruising are normal following the procedure, and should fade over the next one to two weeks. Some residual swelling can persist for a few months as your results develop. Your surgeon will outline best practices to minimize these side effects and promote a healthy recovery prior to your procedure.

What Risks are Involved?

Although risks are minimized in the hands of a skilled surgeon, patients should be aware of any potential complications associated with their procedure. Some risks associated with septoplasty and rhinoplasty include: bleeding or infection, decreased sense of smell, temporary numbness in the teeth or nose, the need for a corrective or follow-up procedure and persistence of previous symptoms, such as snoring, despite surgery. These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your surgery.

What Results and Benefits Can I Look Forward To?

Following septoplasty or rhinoplasty, your incisions should heal quickly and you may notice improvements to your breathing shortly after the procedure. Most swelling will diminish within a few weeks and you’ll feel comfortable with your appearance in public. The complete healing process, however, will be slow. Cartilage and other nasal tissues can take three to six months to settle into their new shape. It’s possible for changes to occur up to a year after surgery. Patients report experiencing a variety of benefits include less difficulty breathing, better sleep and reduction of snoring, as well as improved appearance of the nose, better balance with other facial features and greater confidence.

Who Should Consider Rhinoplasty with Septoplasty For Snoring?

You may be a good candidate for this procedure if:

  • You have a deviated septum that causes difficulty breathing
  • You snore excessively
  • You are generally healthy
  • You are a nonsmoker
  • You wish to improve both the appearance and function of your nose
  • Your facial growth is complete
  • You have realistic expectations

If your doctor is able to diagnose you with a deviated septum that is causing snoring or difficulty breathing, you may be eligible for partial insurance coverage for a combined septoplasty and rhinoplasty. In these cases, a septoplasty may be considered a medically necessary surgery and would be covered by many insurance plans, and you can choose to add cosmetic rhinoplasty to the procedure. A cosmetic rhinoplasty alone does not qualify for coverage.

Stop Sleepless Nights with Advanced Aesthetics Plastic Surgery Center

Our team of highly qualified, board-certified plastic surgeons have years of experience performing rhinoplasty surgeries to improve the appearance and function of your nose, and can recommend a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals. If you are interested in learning more about rhinoplasty as a solution for snoring in the Atlanta, Georgia area, contact Advanced Aesthetics Plastic Surgery Center at 770-461-4000 to schedule a complimentary consultation at one of our four convenient locations.

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