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The Differences Between a Septoplasty and a Rhinoplasty

septoplasty and rhinoplasty

Many people assume that a “nose job” and nasal surgery is purely a cosmetic decision, and while it is an effective way to change your appearance and give balance to the face, nasal surgery encompasses several different procedures that can treat a whole host of medical symptoms as well. Two of these procedures on septoplasty and rhinoplasty.

What is a Septoplasty?

Sometimes nasal surgery is necessary when there is a problem in the nose’s structure. A deviated septum is a structural abnormality of the wall between the nostrils. This can be caused by trauma but is not always. When the septum is displaced, it can cause blockages and make breathing difficult. Enlarged bony structures, or turbinates, might also block parts of the nose.

A septoplasty is one of the most common ear, nose, and throat procedures performed in the U.S. During a septoplasty, the cartilage and bone in the septum is straightened and reinforced. During the procedure, the cartilage and bone are reshaped, and sometimes portions are even removed. Sometimes a scaffolding will be placed in the septum if it has collapsed to reinforce the septum. If turbinates are causing the block, the surgeon might use radiofrequency to shrink them or remove a portion of them altogether. Sometimes a septoplasty is combined with a rhinoplasty.

What is a Rhinoplasty?

A rhinoplasty is what many people think of as a nose job. This is a surgery that changes the shape of the nose. While it can be done for cosmetic reasons, it can also improve breathing. Rhinoplasties can repair deformities and abnormalities to the nose that have been caused by trauma or simply a birth defect, and they can also improve self-confidence.

Like a septoplasty, rhinoplasty is done through a small incision inside the nose. Your doctor will adjust the bone and cartilage underneath the skin to minimize scarring. Depending on how your nose’s structure is going to be changed, your doctor can remove or add cartilage. For smaller changes, cartilage can be taken from deeper inside the nose or from the ear, but for larger changes, your doctor will need cartilage from another part of the body such as your rib or another part of your body. Once the changes are made, the incisions inside the nose are stitched back up.

If you suffer from difficulty breathing, frequent sinus infections, or snoring, talk to your doctor to find out if you might have a structural abnormality that is causing your symptoms. Both septoplasties and rhinoplasties are relatively safe surgeries, so after these procedures, your symptoms could be resolved in just a few weeks.