Functional rhinoplasty: what is it, who needs it and recovery

Written by: Mr Gaurav Kumar
Edited by: Kalum Alleyne

Rhinoplasty procedures are often performed for purely aesthetic reasons, however, they are sometimes required to improve the functionality of the nose. When performed with this purpose, the procedure is referred to as a functional rhinoplasty. Mr Gaurav Kumar, a top consultant ENT surgeon in London, shares his expertise on this procedure.


A statue without a nose


What is functional rhinoplasty surgery?

The main function of the nose is to breathe through it comfortably. Nose surgery that is mainly focused on the function of the nose and improving its appearance is known as functional rhinoplasty. Functional rhinoplasty is also sometimes referred to as septorhinoplasty or nasal valve surgery.


Who is an ideal candidate for functional rhinoplasty?

The ideal candidates for a functional procedure are those who have issues with the external or internal nasal valve area. In some cases, the bony dorsum's (bridge’s) external deformity is pulling your septum (the cartilage which divides the nose into right and left) to one side. The most important things to keep in mind are having realistic expectations, being a non-smoker, stopping smoking during the preoperative time, and being in good health to have general anaesthesia.


What happens during functional rhinoplasty surgery?

During functional rhinoplasty, the surgeon will address all the narrow points in your nose. In most cases, the narrowest point contributing to nasal airflow is the internal nasal valve area. During the procedure, deviations of the septum are corrected by septoplasty, nasal turbinates are reduced in size, and the valve area is supported using a cartilage graft.


How long will my nose be swollen and bruised after functional rhinoplasty?

Typically, most of the swelling subsides within two weeks. It also depends on how much work has been done, i.e., nasal tip work and bony framework.


How long does it take to recover fully after functional rhinoplasty?

The functional rhinoplasty procedure is typically done under general anaesthesia. Most patients are able to go home the same day with a splint on their nose, which is removed after one week. The nose may feel blocked for the first week, and you will be advised to take medications to clear the nose. It is recommended to sleep propped up to help reduce the swelling quickly. Avoid blowing your nose for the first few weeks to help minimise the risk of nose bleed.


When can I return to work after functional rhinoplasty?

You must not partake in vigorous exercise for at least eight weeks after the procedure, however you can begin light exercise after four weeks. If working from home via a computer is an option for you, you will be able to return to work after four or five days.


If you think you may require functional rhinoplasty, or you'd like general consultation from an ENT specialist, visit Mr Gaurav Kumar's Top Doctors profile and request an appointment with him.

By Mr Gaurav Kumar
Otolaryngology / ENT

Mr Gaurav Kumar is a top consultant ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon based in Brentwood and Ilford. He has an extensive wealth of experience in treating all adult and paediatric ear, nose and throat conditions. His areas of expertise lie in rhinoplasty, dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), voice disorders and endoscopic ear and sinus surgery for both children and adults.

He is passionate about providing high-level care to all his patients with complex ear, nose and throat problems. To date, he has performed over 500 cases of LASER in-ear surgery to treat cholesteatoma and more than 1,000 other types of ear surgery procedures. This includes eardrum perforation repair with no facial palsy complications.

He initially trained in ENT centres and centres of excellence in India before undergoing further training in the UK. Here, he was awarded his fellowship from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons. He also underwent advanced training in voice disorders from University College London.

He has a subspecialist interest in managing patients with voice and swallowing disorders and offers rhinoplasty procedures for both functional and nasal valve problems. Other procedures he specialises in include stapes surgery for patients with otosclerosis.

Mr Kumar pioneered the use of narrow band imaging in cholesteatoma surgery, which is an imaging technique for endoscopic diagnostic medical tests. He also publishes widely in peer-reviewed journals and frequently presents his research work at international conferences.

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