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What Rhinoplasty Can (and Can't) Accomplish

What Rhinoplasty Can (and Can't) Accomplish

Rhinoplasty, often called a “nose job,” is a surgical procedure that changes the shape or structure of your nose, improves facial symmetry, repairs damaged tissues, or corrects structures that impair breathing. 

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 220,000 rhinoplasties are performed each year, making it the most common facial plastic surgery procedure.

At PNW Plastic Surgery, board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Leo Urbinelli provides both cosmetic (unhappy with appearance) and functional (difficulty breathing) rhinoplasty procedures for his patients in the Portland, Oregon area. He’s also a master of “difficult” surgeries, including rhinoplasty revision, cleft rhinoplasty, and traumatic nasal reconstruction, and he employs the most up-to-date technologies.

Rhinoplasties can accomplish remarkable transformations, but there are some things they can’t do. It’s important to understand both categories when you’re looking to adjust your features.

Cosmetic rhinoplasty

Some of the most common cosmetic reasons for rhinoplasty surgery include:

Many of the changes Dr. Urbinelli makes are measured in millimeters — even a small change can bring your nose in line with your expectations and aesthetic goals. Keep in mind, though, that everybody’s face is asymmetrical to some extent, so you may never achieve a “perfect” balance.

In addition to traditional rhinoplasty, Dr. Urbinelli offers some patients a “liquid” version. It’s a nonsurgical, cosmetic procedure that uses injectable dermal fillers to improve the nose’s shape and contours. This may be a good option if you want to temporarily correct small bumps, a droopy tip, or asymmetry to see how a more permanent change would look.

Non-cosmetic rhinoplasty

The functional, or medical, area is where rhinoplasty really shines. The most common non-cosmetic reasons for a rhinoplasty include:

Breathing problems

If you have any form of nasal obstruction that prevents you from breathing –– or breathing well –– through your nose, you can suffer medical complications ranging from difficulty exercising to obstructive sleep apnea. In these cases, a rhinoplasty can correct the problem.

Dr. Urbinelli tailors his work to the underlying cause. If you have polyps in the nasal passages, he removes them. If your septum –– the cartilage that splits the right and left nostrils –– is bent, he performs a septoplasty to straighten the tissue. He may also use strategically placed cartilage grafts if your condition is severe to alter the nose’s shape and improve breathing.

Cleft lip and cleft palate

Dr. Urbinelli is a reconstructive as well as cosmetic surgeon, and he has extensive experience using rhinoplasty to fix a cleft lip and palate. This common birth defect, where a split forms in the upper lip and soft palate, affects about 1 in 1,600 babies in the US. Dr. Urbinelli uses rhinoplasty as part of a larger procedure to reconstruct the child’s features, solving both functional and cosmetic problems.

Broken nose

Broken noses are common and present both cosmetic and medical issues. While a broken nose may look unappealing, it may also lead to chronic breathing problems and sinus infections, and cause a loss of your sense of smell. Rhinoplasty restores your nose’s normal position and shape while opening blocked airways.

What a rhinoplasty can’t accomplish

Rhinoplasty is an amazing procedure, but it has its limitations. Even if you’re looking for a specific size and shape, if your nose’s structure won’t support it, you’re not going to get the results you want. You’ll discuss your aesthetic goals with Dr. Urbinelli in your initial consultation; he’ll let you know if your expectations are realistic or not, and if not, what other treatment might suit you better.

Realistic expectations include understanding that rhinoplasty can’t alter the basic structure of your nose, nor will it override genetics. In addition, as with any other plastic surgery procedure, a rhinoplasty won’t cause others to accept or love you more readily just because you look different, nor will it resolve self-esteem issues.

If you’ve got a nose that doesn’t suit your face, or if you’re having difficulty breathing, a rhinoplasty may be what you’re looking for to look and feel better. To learn more, and to find out if you’re a good candidate, give PNW Plastic Surgery a call at 503-208-2348, or book an evaluation online with Dr. Urbinelli today.

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