Functional Rhinoplasty Improves Health

Author: Dr. Richard Chaffoo

I have observed that many if not most, patients who present for elective nasal surgery to improve their appearance also demonstrate significant anatomical deformities of the internal nose including deviation of the nasal septum and enlarged inferior turbinates. While many patients seek rhinoplasty at my San Diego area practice to improve the appearance of the nose, fewer are aware that they have breathing difficulties caused by anatomical obstructions. Many have simply gotten used to breathing poorly or marginally through one or both nostrils and often consider it the norm or relate it to underlying “allergies”.

Effects of Functional Rhinoplasty Were Studied

I am often asked by prospective rhinoplasty patients if their overall health will improve following surgery. An article in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery specifically looked at this medical issue. The authors of this paper examined and interviewed their patients who underwent functional septorhinoplasty to correct breathing issues of the nasal septum and nasal valve regions. The study involved 144 adult patients and concluded that those who completed nasal surgery noted significant improvements in their nasal airways and overall general health.

Rhinoplasty Benefits Are Often Life Changing

From my decades performing rhinoplasty, I have concluded that correcting both the internal deformities and obstructions lead to a better nasal airway after surgery and improved cosmetic result. At the initial consultation, I feel it is crucial to fully examine the interior of the nose usually with a headlight and surgical loupes. Deformities are pointed out to the patient and a surgical game plan is designed to correct both the internal airway deformities and address the aesthetic concerns. (I wrote an earlier blog post about the differences between functional and cosmetic rhinoplasty.)

After rhinoplasty, patients are often delighted with both the appearance of their nose and surprised by the improvement in their nasal airways. Many have simply never known what it is really like to breathe well through the nose and often report an improved energy level and stamina. Some patients also notice an improved ability to taste, as much of our sense of taste is related to smell.

The study published in Facial Plastic Surgery has provided some objective evidence for what plastic surgeons have suspected for many years: septorhinoplasty improves both the appearance and function of the nose as well as our patients’ overall confidence and nasal health.

For more information about the improvements rhinoplasty can make, along with photos of my actual patients, visit our Reasons for Rhinoplasty page. To see some of the cosmetic improvements I’ve made for my patients, look through our online rhinoplasty before & after photo gallery.

Watch health expert Dr. Richard Chaffoo on Fox 5 San Diego.


Dr. Chaffoo is a triple board-certified plastic surgeon with more than 30 years of experience. He remains on the forefront of his field, continually learning new techniques and refining his skills. If you have questions about rhinoplasty or would like to meet with him for a complimentary consultation, fill out our online form or call (858) 623-6333.

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