Functional rhinoplasty (nose surgery) is a surgical procedure carried out on the nasal septum (the wall dividing the nasal cavity into halves), turbinates (bones, vessels and tissues in the nasal passageway) or mucosa (the thin skin that covers the inside of the nose and produces mucus to protect it) and its main objective is to correct nasal ventilation. The main function of the nose is to allow the passage of air into the lungs, conditioning the air to achieve a suitable degree of humidity and temperature. The nose also plays a part in the tone of our voice as it acts as a resonance cavity. A “nasal voice” is the characteristic tone of voice in patients with nasal obstruction.
Why choose rhinoplasty?
Patients in need of functional nose surgery will have problems breathing through the nose, a feeling of congestion or nasal inflammation, loss of smell and alterations in tone of voice. The cause of these disorders can be due to mechanical obstructions in which a deviation of the septum or a turbinate hypertrophy occurs, or there is an inflammation of the mucosa that, when thickened, causes obstruction. One of the most important causes of inflammation is environmental allergies. Patients with symptoms such as nasal respiratory insufficiency, excessive discharge or nasal voice should go to their ENT specialist to perform a thorough examination of the nose, nostrils and its function.
Septoplasty or turbinoplasty?
Functional rhinoplasty includes surgical interventions aimed at improving the passage of air through the nose. When they are carried out on the nasal septum the procedure is called septoplasty and when carried out on the turbinates, turbinoplasty. Nasal functional surgery is carried out through the nostrils or natural nasal openings so there is no scar left. Usually the shape of the nose is not affected in functional surgery.
Aesthetic rhinoplasty and septorhinoplasty
The nose is also important aesthetically because it is in the centre of the face and is a sign of identity that we recognise most in people. On more and more occasions patients seek an ENT specialist who will not only act on any problem with nasal function, but also tackle any aesthetic problem the patient may have. In these cases, the most common procedures are, ‘aesthetic rhinoplasty,’ or ‘septorhinoplasty.’
Nose surgery aftercare
After an intervention on the septum or turbinates, it is common to have dressing inside the nostrils which will be removed within 24-48 hours of the procedure. These dressings prevent bleeding and help the healing of the septum. A patient is usually discharged on the same day and does not need to spend a night in hospital.
After removal of the dressings it is important to establish good nasal hygiene. A serum of cleansing fluid should be instilled through the nostrils and any scabs that appear should be cleaned with swabs soaked in oxygenated water and then have antibiotic ointment applied. In cases where cosmetic surgery is performed, a splint or similar device will be used to prevent the nose from moving in the immediate postoperative period. This splint is usually removed a week after the surgery.