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Rhinoplasty for Breathing Problems: Beyond Aesthetics

Prof. hc. Dr. Dr. Gernot Teichmann
5. March 2024
Apart from aesthetic surgery, there are a number of medical use cases that make rhinoplasty necessary. I will explain the most important ones below: What are the benefits of rhinoplasty for breathing problems, such as those caused by a deviated nasal septum? Can rhinoplasty also help with snoring?

Rhinoplasty is not always (only) performed for aesthetic reasons. There is often a health or medical reason for the procedure. This is the case, for example, when breathing problems, snoring or sleep apnoea restrict a person’s quality of life.

Rhinoplasty for perfect breathing

In the following article, I will explain the benefits of rhinoplasty for various breathing problems. As a facial and maxillofacial surgeon and plastic surgeon in Switzerland I have many years of experience in a wide range of rhinoplasty procedures, so I would like to share my most important findings with you here – and advise you so that you know what to expect.

First of all: rhinoplasty, also known as nose correction, is a surgical procedure that makes it possible to change the shape and structure of the nose from the inside and outside 

As a doctor, I have to apply a great deal of precision and technique. This is the only way I can achieve the desired result for my patients. But when is rhinoplasty really necessary for breathing problems?

Breathing problems that can be treated with rhinoplasty

Breathing problems related to the nose can be of various kinds: for example, difficult nasal breathing can be caused by a curved or narrowed nasal septum. The consequences are often snoring or headaches. Narrowed nasal passages can also lead to these problems. Polyps or excessively swollen nasal conchae are also common causes. Impaired nasal valve function, known as nasal valve stenosis, or even nasal valve insufficiency can also make rhinoplasty necessary. Other possible indications include a crooked nose or chronic sinusitis.

As a rule, however, otolaryngologists always recommend home remedies before recommending surgical treatment of the nose. However, if nasal correction is unavoidable due to anatomical nasal problems, rhinoplasty can improve breathing difficulties in the long term and make breathing easier. The procedure improves quality of life.

The good news is that a functional rhinoplasty can certainly be combined with an aesthetic rhinoplasty. I will be happy to provide you with comprehensive advice on my range of services and a possible procedure that meets your situation and expectations. Patients who come to me particularly frequently have a deviated septum or narrowed nostrils. For these two cases, I will therefore give you an example of how rhinoplasty can help to improve breathing problems.

Curved nasal septum

In a deviated septum, or deviated nasal septum, the nasal septum is deformed or shifted sideways. This is the case in around 80 percent of people. But how do you even know if you have a crooked or deviated nasal septum? The main symptom is a blocked nose, as the air we breathe cannot pass through the nose unhindered. In addition to restricted nasal breathing, the air supply to the paranasal sinuses is often insufficient. This can lead to symptoms such as snoring, headaches, nosebleeds or simply a reduced ability to cope with stress.

To correct these breathing problems, the nasal septum can be straightened surgically. I usually perform this correction, also known as septoplasty, on an outpatient basis under general or local anesthesia, depending on your preference: In the conventional procedure, I make a vertical incision at the inner nasal entrance and detach the mucous membrane. Excess cartilage and bone can then be removed.

The septoplasty usually takes no longer than an hour and ensures that the patient can breathe freely and the symptoms disappear. No incision is visible from the outside afterwards. 

Snoring and sleep apnea: Does rhinoplasty help?

By optimizing the structure of the nose and improving airflow, rhinoplasty can significantly improve symptoms such as night-time snoring and impaired sleep quality, and sometimes even eliminate them.

There are often many causes of snoring. Some of these can be found directly in the nose: polyps or deviated septum, for example. An examination by an otolaryngologist is therefore essential. They can also assess whether it is “just” normal snoring or even pathological sleep apnoea – if necessary in cooperation with a sleep laboratory.

With sleep apnoea, breathing stops during sleep, which can lead to secondary diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, vascular calcification or stroke. If you wake up several times a night, you may be suffering from sleep apnoea. If you are unsure whether rhinoplasty makes sense in your individual case, please contact us and let us advise you.

Combining functional and aesthetic rhinoplasty

If you need a rhinoplasty for medical reasons such as breathing problems, it is perfectly possible to combine this with an aesthetic correction: As a facial and maxillofacial surgeon and plastic surgeon with decades of experience, I have built up a high level of expertise in this field and can change the shape of your nose during the procedure.Aesthetic rhinoplasty can be used, for example, to correct nasal humps and correct crooked and hooked noses. It is also possible to refine the tip of the nose, reduce or enlarge the nostrils and narrow the nose.

Healing process and aftercare for rhinoplasty

Shortly after the operation, my patients usually experience slight swelling, sometimes bruising and other discomfort, but this disappears again. Sometimes the nose feels a little stuffy or congested after the operation. You will therefore need to be patient until you can breathe as normal again. Wound infections, recognizable by an inflamed nasal tip, are rather rare.

Depending on the extent of the procedure, the healing process is sometimes faster, sometimes slower: however, it usually takes several weeks to three months for complete healing. By then at the latest, the final result will be clearly noticeable. In any case, I will provide you with useful tips on pain relief, aftercare and care of the nose following the procedure.

Essential: Comprehensive consultation before rhinoplasty

With rhinoplasty, you can effectively address serious breathing problems through your individual nasal structure and improve free breathing, especially during sleep. Many of my patients report a significantly improved quality of life after the operation.

The surgical procedure naturally requires thorough consultation and planning beforehand, and as an experienced specialist in plastic surgery and facial and maxillofacial surgery, I will be happy to provide you with comprehensive support from my team. By realistically defining your expectations and exploring the treatment options, we can exploit all the benefits of rhinoplasty for your individual case and thus increase your well-being and self-confidence.

About Prof. hc. Dr. Dr. Gernot Teichmann

Gernot TeichmannGernot Teichmann

Prof. hc. Dr. Dr. Gernot Teichmann MD USA

Specialist for maxillofacial and plastic surgery

Prof. hc. Dr. Dr. Teichmann is one the world’s top rhinoplasty specialist. With more than 30 years experience and thousands of succesfully performed nose correction he the expert for nose operations. In addition to his specialization in plastic surgery, he is also a highly respected maxillofacial surgeon with clinical experience on all continents.

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