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Dr. Paul E. Chasan, a board-certified San Diego rhinoplasty surgeon, covers common questions that his patients often ask before having a rhinoplasty.

What to Consider when Planning Cosmetic or Functional Rhinoplasty in San Diego

Achieving mastery of a rhinoplasty procedure involves an intimate understanding of the numerous structures and maneuvers among different skin, bone, and cartilage characteristics while also learning to understand and achieve the goals of each individual patient. Having the skill set to consistently produce great patient outcomes is rare, and when you are looking for your rhinoplasty surgeon, you want to make sure you found one who has the commitment and experience to get your rhinoplasty right the first time.

If you are looking into rhinoplasty in San Diego, make sure you get it done right the first time. Dr. Chasan has seen many revision rhinoplasty cases where the outcome was completely avoidable – some patients come in with unfinished work or not enough structure, which is the mark of a surgeon who doesn’t have the confidence to go all the way to give you the outcome you are looking for. That’s why working with a master surgeon is essential for both peace of mind and assurance of your best potential outcome.

Dr. Chasan has performed over a thousand rhinoplasties – he sees his work as a lifelong commitment to the art. He brings an unusual level of experience to the table, placing his quality of work at the top of the list. As a result, Dr. Chasan receives many patients for both new rhinoplasties and revision rhinoplasties alike.

Below, learn more about the rhinoplasty procedure itself.

Dr. Balikian smiling, shaking patients hand

What is a Rhinoplasty?

Before we take a deep dive into the finer points of rhinoplasty, let’s start with some basics: Rhinoplasty is essentially nose reshaping.  A Rhinoplasty may involve modification of the external or internal nasal structures to achieve an improved aesthetic or function of the nose. This is a relatively common procedure that has been performed for over a century.

Rhinoplasty has been around since the sixth century.  The first modern procedure was in 1887, and in 2017, 44,676 people in the United States reported having a rhinoplasty while 877,254 people worldwide had rhinoplasties performed, according to a statistical report published in the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

There are three main structures in the nose that might be modified during a rhinoplasty operation:

  1. Alar—cartilage from the tip of the nose
  2. Bony Dorsum
  3. Septum—cartilage that separates the nostrils and forms the bridge of the nose, it supports the alar cartilages

Rhinoplasty diagramRhinoplasty usually refers to the modification of the external nose and may involve adjustments to all three structures. When talking about nose operations you might also hear the term “septoplasty” or “turbinoplasty.” This refers to the modification of internal structures of the nose that is often adjusted in conjunction with external structures.

What does Rhinoplasty Surgery Involve?

Rhinoplasty operations are very goal-oriented.  An experienced plastic surgeon will take the time to look at your face, talk to you about what you are hoping to get from a rhinoplasty operation, and plan out your expected outcome from the procedure.

People can seek a rhinoplasty for functional reasons (breathing difficulties) or aesthetic reasons (easily corrected defects like a dorsal hump, bulbous tip, drooping tip, prominent nostril, or hanging columella). Most patients will find they experience a combination of functional and cosmetic effects from Rhinoplasty surgery.

Cosmetic rhinoplasties usually include modification of both the nasal septum and the nasal tip. Your surgeon will likely have to detach the tip of the nose to change the shape of the bridge (dorsal hump). And if a surgeon only wanted to improve airflow, they must adjust the tip of the nose to accommodate more room through the nostrils.

When it comes to rhinoplasty, the bottom line is you need an experienced surgeon—one who sees the nose as a comprehensive system of intimately connected parts and understands how the structures interrelate. Dr. Chasan has this understanding, and it is exactly this kind of experience that can make your outcome more predictable, as well as save you from having a secondary procedure.

What is the Difference Between Cosmetic or Functional Rhinoplasty

A “cosmetic rhinoplasty” is an operation to achieve aesthetic outcomes, while “functional rhinoplasty” is an operation for restoring nasal airflow.

The truth is, the structures that shape the nose also affect breathing. Because of this, it’s not always easy to differentiate between the two operations. A patient who is having a broken nose repaired for breathing reasons can also have a secondary aesthetic benefit.

About 70% of people who seek revision rhinoplasty do so because of breathing difficulties.

What are the Risks of a Rhinoplasty?

It’s very important to weigh risks and benefits before undergoing any surgical procedure, and even more so for cosmetic or elective procedures. Your surgeon will likely put a lot of time into explaining your procedure to you, and clearly state the possible risks so that you can make an informed decision. It is always okay to think about the decision before committing, consult more than one surgeon before selecting, and bring a friend with you to help you remember what you wanted to ask.

If you ever want a second opinion, we are happy to help. Dr. Paul E. Chasan is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has helped over a thousand patients in the Del Mar area to have successful rhinoplasty procedures. All surgical procedures have risks, so before discussing the risks, know that experienced surgeons like Dr. Chasan expect great patient outcomes and have higher success rates than less experienced surgeons. 

With that being said, all surgeries have the risk of scar formation, infection, and body fluids collecting at the operative site. Risks more specific to rhinoplasty include reoperation and blocked airflow. 

It is always a good idea to ask about risks in a surgical consultation and a good surgeon will take these questions seriously and respond with informative answers. Whether you ultimately decide to proceed with a rhinoplasty operation or not, it’s important to remember that everyone is allowed to make decisions about their own body, and rhinoplasty surgery is a deeply personal decision. We’re here to support you through the journey!

If you have any questions in consideration for your rhinoplasty, we invite you to request a consultation to learn more about your options.

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