What Is Nasal Airway Surgery
Nasal obstruction, or difficulty breathing through the nose, can be due to a variety of factors including sinus disease and allergies. Structural abnormalities such as a deviated septum, turbinate hypertrophy or nasal valve collapse can also play a major role in nasal obstruction. Even prior nasal surgery, both functional and cosmetic, can disrupt the structural integrity and support mechanisms of the nose, causing a restriction in nasal air flow.
Functional nasal surgery aims to correct any anatomic issues and improve a patient’s ability to breathe through the nose.
• septoplasty (straightening a deviated septum by removal or recontouring of septal cartilage and bone)
• turbinate reduction (removal of excess tissue and bone from the inferior turbinate to open the nasal passage)
• nasal valve repair (strengthening or widening the nasal valve with cartilage grafts)
Functional nasal surgery can be performed in combination with cosmetic rhinoplasty for those patients seeking cosmetic changes to the shape of their nose in addition to improvement in nasal breathing. Depending on coverage, insurance often covers the functional portion of the procedure and the patient is responsible for the cosmetic costs.
Nasal airway surgery can be performed with or without any external incisions depending on the underlying cause of obstruction. Septoplasty is most commonly performed though a small incision on the inside of your nose overlying your septum. The deviated portion of cartilage and bone is removed or recontoured through this incision, creating equal sized nasal passages on each side. Septoplasty does not change the shape of the nose and the incision leaves no visible scar once healed.
Turbinate reduction is also performed on the inside of the nose, without changing the shape of the nose or leaving any visible scarring. The excess turbinate bone and tissue that is causing the obstruction is removed to open the nasal airway further. No suturing or nasal packing is required.
With nasal valve repair, cartilage is harvested from the nasal septum, when available, or the ear to use as grafts. The harvested cartilage is sculpted and sutured in place, widening a collapsed airway or providing additional support to the underlying nasal framework. The incisions for this procedure is similar to those used for open rhinoplasty and are easily concealed.
These procedures are performed in an outpatient surgery center under general anesthesia. It is same day surgery and patients are able to go home afterwards. No nasal packing is used. Only the nasal valve repair requires an external splint for one week after the procedure.
Pain is often minimal and can be controlled with a Tylenol or a low dose pain medication. It is common to feel congested immediately after surgery but this quickly subsides as the swelling goes down and you notice an improvement in your nasal breathing.
You are asked to limit strenuous physical activity for two to three weeks after your procedure.
Real patients, real results
Yes, a rhinoplasty can be performed at the same setting as your functional nasal surgery. Patients often prefer to do both at the same time to cut down on recovery time and costs.
During your consultation, Dr. Hall will perform a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause of your nasal obstruction. Different treatment options will be discussed to treat the underlying anatomic or structural issues. All of your questions will be answered and a treatment plan will be formulated.
Depending on your benefits, a portion or all of your functional nasal surgery may be covered by insurance. Sometimes, pre-authorization is required depending on your plan. Any cosmetic changes to your nose are not covered by insurance.