Rhinoplasty: Open or Closed?

Rhinoplasty: Open or Closed?

When researching your own rhinoplasty in San Diego, you’ve probably come across a wealth of unfamiliar terms and concepts. One common one my patients ask me about is the “open” vs. “closed” rhinoplasty.

While many people assume that “open” rhinoplasty is a more invasive form of the surgery and therefore 1 to be avoided, the truth is quite a bit more complex than that. And, like many things in plastic surgery, the correct surgical approach depends on the specific concerns you wish to treat, as well as your existing anatomy. So what are the key differences?

Open Rhinoplasty

Open rhinoplasty isn’t as invasive as its name would have you believe. In this approach, I make small incision on the exterior of the nose, typically on the underside of the nostrils. Although these incisions are made on the exterior of the nose, they’re still quite small. Thanks to their placement, they’re nearly unnoticeable after they’ve completely healed. You’ll know they’re there, but most people will not.
Open rhinoplasty is used for people who need more internal improvements to the nose, often in order to straighten the septum or otherwise reposition the deeper nasal structures. By “opening” the nose, I can get a better view of these areas, ensuring an accurate outcome and lasting results that address each of the patient’s areas of concern.

Closed Rhinoplasty

This approach makes use of incisions that are placed entirely inside the nose, specifically inside the nostrils to ensure no scars are visible after the surgery. The closed rhinoplasty procedure actually takes a bit less time to complete than open rhinoplasty surgery. Because closed rhinoplasty is a less invasive procedure, it also generates less post-surgical bruising and swelling, leading to a fairly comfortable and brief recuperation.

Although closed rhinoplasty can address many aesthetic elements of the nose, it’s not a good match for patients who need deeper or functional improvement. The closed approach generally only allows me to access the superficial structures of the nose. While it can create amazing results for qualified patients, it’s not for everyone.

Regardless of the surgical approach that’s best for you, it’s important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with demonstrated experience in rhinoplasty. The interior structures of the nose are extremely small and intricate, and the surgery is more complex than it may initially seem. Choosing the right plastic surgeon—one with a balance of professional credentials and an approachable, positive personality—is the best way to do your part to ensure the results you want.

Want to get an idea of what you can expect after your own rhinoplasty? Our gallery of before-and-after photos is a good place to start. It features both open and closed cases, so you can see what the scars look like for yourself. I’d also love to see you for a consultation—request your own by contacting my practice online.

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